Guest Post: How to Approach Hubs and Potential Clients Cold

 A few months ago, Tova Payne reached out to me to see if she could write a guest post.

I say ‘no’ to most of these. I get a lot of requests.

But, the way she reached out and the subject piqued my interest. Only today, did I dig into what she sent and I am incredibly impressed. As someone who is a hub in a number of arena’s I can attest strongly to the importance of what Tova is articulating here. It’s very aligned with a post Ari Galper wrote years ago. I wish everyone reached out to me in the way she is suggesting.

I don’t recommend the cold approach as a core tactic in your marketing, but, sometimes, it’s what you have to do. And there are ways to do the cold approach that feel classy and other ways that feel slimy, awkward, confusing and uncomfortable.

If you are thinking of reaching out to potential hubs or clients via email, please read this first.

This approach, tailored for your own voice, is pressure free and will help to build trust and position you as a generosity based business. This is a beautiful slow marketing approach.

This type of approach highlights the importance of creating a ‘free gift’ that you can offer people. Mostly, you’ll use it as thanks for people signing up to your email list but you could also use it as a gift in an approach like this. And, once you’ve made contact in this way, you’re ready to open up a conversation about working together.

And her post inspired me to share a bunch more examples that are aligned with her approach. 


Guest Post: Slimy vs. Classy Marketing & Sales

by Tova Payne

Have you ever experienced slimy marketing? 

I have. It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it. Someone I had interacted with in an online networking group took a jab at me with a sleazy sales tactic. I thought: this is pretty lame and showcases a clear example of what NOT to do when it comes to marketing and sales. 

I’m turning my experience into today’s lesson:

We’ll take a look at the difference between slimy vs. classy marketing, and showcase how class and integrity go a long way in building a successful business.

Here’s what happened:

I got an e-mail out of the blue (which is what cold-calling is internet-style), that basically said: “Looks like your programs are fantastic. But until you fix you’re website I can’t refer anybody to you eventhough I want to. Luckily my course will help fix you right up. Join my course, you need it.”

Let’s break down why this kind of marketing is so bad (if you aren’t already laughing in disbelief). 

First of all, she never opened up a dialogue with me. 

Since business is about relationships—you first need to meet the person. 

If you are going to write somebody out of the blue—somebody who has never been a past client, or somebody who has never reached out to you for help, you need to start off saying hi. Introduce yourself first. And then, ask them if they want to hear more about your topic. 

Basically—say hi and find out if they even want to know what you have to offer. Don’t force-feed your opinions on others. 

Don’t be manipulative. Telling someone their work is great, but that you can’t refer people because of image is bullshit (or extremely shallow). When you believe someone’s work is great, and if you really want to refer others—you will. So please—don’t ever buy into this line. It is total B.S

Don’t put someone down just to show off how you can be the saviour. That stinks. Seriously, this is where the negative connotations and images of marketing come from. 

Basically, don’t try to bully someone into thinking they need you. Don’t ever put somebody down to sell your product. That is what Slimy Marketing 101 is about. It doesn’t work. And if you get someone who falls for it, it won’t last for long-term business building (and p.s—please don’t fall for this). 

Look—if you’re in business you need to participate in marketing and sales, especially if you’re a start-up. However there is a classy and kind way to do it.

Here’s the thing: marketing is another way of saying: sharing and sales is another word for saying caring.

Seriously—if you have something you think is fantastic—you will tell everyone about it (marketing) and if you really care about helping someone you will do your best to make sure they recieve what they need (sales).

This is why it’s important to create a positive mindset around marketing and sales. If you see it from the eyes of sharing and caring—of course you’d wake up everyday excited to get your message, product, and service out there.

But it’s important that you market and sell from a place of humanity and kindness. 

Mean marketing stinks of desperation. Don’t do it. You’re better than that. Instead be kind. You can share what you have with the world in a kind and classy way.

So it’s all about how you do it.

Let me spell it out

Marketing + Sales = Sharing + Caring

This means: 

Yes, tell people about what you have to offer. This is what newsletters, blogs, webinars, videos, and sales pages are for.

Yes, contact people who you think may be a good fit for what you have to offer and people who have reached out to you asking for help.

Yes, you can “cold call” or “cold write” someobody. But do it from a place of caring and focus on building a relationship first. Remember, if you met someone in real-life—how would you start the conversation? Treat people like humans. They are real and they have feelings. Be kind.

If you cold-call/cold-write—come from a place of curiosity. Ask the prospect if they are interested in hearing more about your subject matter. This is a good lead into building the relationship and seeing if they are even interested in the product or service you have.

Yes, share some free advice to show people that you know what you’re talking about.

Yes, be kind and loving when you tell people what you have to offer.

Here is what NOT to do:

Do not put someone down to try to make them feel bad and vulnerable so that their confidence takes a hit and they feel they need your product or service to get better.

Do not tell someone that they are doing something wrong if they haven’t asked.

Do not give unsolicited advice in a private e-mail if the prospect never reached out to you.

If you sincerely feel you can help somebody introduce yourself. You can let someone know about what you do and what you’re passionate about. There is no need to put a prospect down in order to share what you have to offer. 

If you truly believe somebody is doing something that can hurt them, share with them some free information that can truly help them.

So let’s put this all into perspective. Had that e-mail I recieved gone something like this, it would have been classy:

E-mail 1:

Hi. I think your work is fantastic. Let me know if you’re interested in some free tips that I think you may find helpful.

Aha! That would have piqued my curiosity and probably would have recieved a reply.

Email 2:(remember this is what relationship building is)

Oh awesome, Im so excited to share this with you. Ok here are 3 things that I think you might find helpful: {list 3 helpful things} … Please let me know what you think. I hope that helps!

That’s what it means to be helpful and show off your expertise. Dont tell someone you’re amazing, SHOW them.

Then, I’d definitely reply to such a helpful e-mail. When somebody is helpful, they are memorable and seen in a positive light. In my mind, I would have seen this person as generous, smart, and may have even gone on to hire them or refer them!

And finally, Email 3:

Oh Great. I’m so happy that helped. If you want more tips or strategies I have a course you may be interested in—here is the link. Let me know if you want to talk about it and we can set up a time to chat. Otherwise, I wish you the best.

Aha. You know what? Whether I purchased or not, in my mind I’d see this person as kind, helpful, be a possible future customer or defintley help support and refer her. 

Do you see the difference now between slimy marketing versus classy marketing?

What I received was a sample of slimy marketing—there’s no need to put someone down in order to go for the sale.

What would have worked? The example I just gave you—build rapport, be helpful, and then move towards discovery: find out if the person is interested in what you have.

Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it takes more effort. Yes, it takes generosity, and seeing the other person as a human and not just a pocket-book.

Remember—slimy marketing oozes of desperation. It may work on some people, but it won’t take you far. And it could earn you a bad reputation.

Be kind first. Open the dialogue. Give first. If you are truly helpful—people will remember you, buy from you or atleast support and tell others about you (which is worth way more than a quick sale).

Now go on—get out there. Market and sell with kindness and class. There are people who need you. 

tovaTova Payne Bio:

Tova’s an Author and Business Coach to Soulful Entrepreneurs. She helps her clients turn business dreams to reality by giving the practical strategies and soulful practices that help you go from idea to finished product. For your free guide on 5 Keys to Starting and Finishing your Dream Project and weekly tips to grow your business sign up with Tova at

Come hang out with Tova on Facebook:

And say on Twitter:



Personally, I would reword Email #1 in this way:

Hi. I think you’re work is fantastic. I came across it (tell them how you did and how long ago). I really love (tell them specifically what you love). I was wondering if you were wanting to/struggling with (name the problem you think you might be able to help them solve or the result you think you could help them achieve)? I was looking at your website/ebook etc. and had some thoughts I thought might be useful. Regardless, thank you so much for all of your good work.

The key thing here is that we don’t make the assumption that we can absolutely help them. We don’t assume they are even having the problem we can solve or want the result we offer. We’re genuinely asking just to see if it’s a fit. When we come from this place and, instead of trying to force everything into a single email, it becomes a conversation not a pitch.

This is the identical approach that I have used myself for years and years when approaching hubs. 

Start with a very brief, non-assumptive email to see if there’s a baseline fit and let it flow from there. Hubs are busy. Potential clients (even if not as busy as hubs) have no idea who the hell you are.

Like Tova, I’ve been approached in ways that instantly turned me off. And, I’ve saved a number of them because I knew that, one day, I would write a post like this. I’ve changed or removed the names.

Some people think I email them too many things from colleagues. But they have no idea how much I filter out. 

Let the horrors begin…


Eleven Examples of How Not to Approach a Hub:

Example #1: MLM Company


Don’t worry this is not a spam message, I am the Webmaster of _________, just inquiring on selected high quality blogs like yours if you are open for guest posting opportunities. I have read your blog and thought that it is related to my site and therefore I am asking if I can share some insights or an article on your blog.

With this venture, we can help you in sharing your blog through our social networks and get some links for your site plus I can also get some exposure for my company.

I’ve actually prepared a proposed topic for your blog:

*Online Marketing: Money in Every Click
*Earn Money the Fast Way with Internet
*Market Online, Earn Big Time
*Building A Career Through Multi-level Networking
*MLM is The Ladder to Success
*MLM: The Secret of Rising Companies

Just choose a topic that you like but if you want me to write a different topic, I will be glad doing that also. For reference of my writing style, kindly visit my personal blog: (

Thank you for your time and consideration. Just e-mail me back for your response.

__________ Webmaster

My take: This reads like a form email. But only, to be fair, because it is a form email. I’m a selected ‘high quality blog’? How wonderful. I’m so flattered by the generic compliment. So meaningful. He asks if I’m open to guest posting opportunities. He could have just sent that as an email and he would have gotten a response. ‘Hey there, are you open to guest posts?’. Short and sweet. It’s not the best option but it likely would have gotten a reply like, ‘Sometimes. Can you tell me more?’ And then we’re in a conversation.

He tells me he’d share my blog through his social networks but I have no idea if they’re a fit or how large his networks are. And then, he shares to topics. They’re all MLM focused. None of them resonate with me in particular. 

This isn’t the worst email but it would have worked better with a shorter first email.

Example #2: Promote My Book, Please?

Greetings Tad, I am Jane Doe I am a book author and writer aged 20. My Book is called __________. the book is an inspirational book aimed at anyone who has a dream to achieve. The reason I am contacting you is that I need a hand with marketing, can you email your fans and bloggers and inform them about my book?God Bless!

This email is very sweet and sincere. But I’m not going to email my entire list about a book I’ve never read from a stranger. I love that she had the gumption to ask and a slower, relationship building approach might have yielded more fruit. 

Example #3:  Share My Page, Please?

Hey, i’m just getting my page going and was wondering if you could please help me out with a share? Thanks a ton

Is it too much to ask for some foreplay?

I’ve never met this person. I have no idea who they are. Why would I share their page? What’s in it for me? The spirit of this kind of email misses, so deeply, the nature of being a hub. When you’re a hub, you are very careful about what you endorse or send out. 

Example #4: Share My Blog, Please?

Would you be interested in networking?
It would be awesome if you could write a blog post about my business with a couple anchored keywords.
In exchange I would give your Facebook page a bunch of shares on
or on
or on
or a combination of them, whatever helps you the most.
Let me know if you’re interested? Thanks!

“It would be awesome if you could write a blog post about my business”… something about that didn’t feel great. Very assumptive. Like, “You know what would be awesome. You dating me. It would be awesome if you could do that.”

If, instead, they’d said something like the following, they’d have gotten a response.

“Hey there, I am a big fan of your blog and I have a few businesses that I thought might be a fit to be featured on it but I wasn’t sure and wasn’t even sure if you do that sort of thing. So, I thought I’d touch base. Thanks for all that you do.”

Example  #4: Share My Completely Irrelevant Blog, Please?

Hi there,

How are you? This is NAME from USA. I have a keen interest in studying metal treatment and I love to share my knowledge with people. I have my personalized Blog specially dealing with Metal Rust.
Basically, I wanted to touch base with you to check if you accept posts from other writers to publish on your blog? I would too like to contribute my uniquely written creative posts about Metal Treatment on your site. We all know that metals have become a part of our daily life, especially Stainless Steel. I would like to share a few points about how they can be maintained. That will offer a real value to your readers as well.

The following link will lead you to a recent Guest Post that I have written.

Please let me know your thoughts. Looking forward to hear from you soon!

No response was given.

Example #5: Want to Share a Totally Off Topic Blog, Please?


I have noticed you’ve had a number of guest blogs on before, including this post on eco-friendly advertising:

Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Advertising: Good for Business, Good for the Planet

I just wondered if you would be interested in publishing a blog on “Seven appliances you didn’t know were costing you money”?

I’ve attached the blog for your consideration.

If you have any questions or feedback then please get in touch. Alternatively, if you’re interested in any other type of guest blog, please let me know also.


Ahhh! He started so strong! He mentioned my website name! He even named a particular blog he liked! And then …. what? How did he think that topic would fit a blog about marketing. It makes no sense. And why would I contact him for another type of blog post? Who are you appliance man? Who arrrre youuuuu?

Example #6: May I Totally Confuse You, Please?

Hi Tad,

Hope all is well.

I recently attended an event with Kenny and his wife who are wonderful heart-centered people. I made them aware of a Consciousness Party that I Am hosting in Calgary that I would love to drop into a deeper conversation with you around.

If this is something that feels right for you can reach me at  .

Take good care.

in Heartfelt Appreciation,
P.S. You can also text me at __________

What? I have no idea what she’s asked about. At all. What is the Consciousness Party? Why should I care? What kind of conversation does she want to have with me and why? Whaaaa?

So, in confusion, I replied.

hey there,

sorry for the delay. can you give me a nutshell of what it is you’d like to talk with me about around this?

– t

To which she replied.

Hello Tad,

Hope all is well in your world.

I appreciate You taking the time to get back to my request.

I Am at an Amazing part in my life and fully embracing that the challenges I’ve experienced are now my gift. I Am honouring my true authentic power and my desire to align myself with those that embody the same essence.

Kenny had mentioned that You would be a powerful connection for the Consciousness Party that I Am creating in Calgary the evening of DATE. I Am flying up a woman who has been doing training for Google to share some of her expertise with those that attend.

I would love the opportunity to share more about this experience with You and if it feels right intention for You then You may choose to share it with your community.

Take good care.


Pro Tip: Never ever, ever confuse a hub. They will write you off so fast. For a hub, the most valuable commodity is their time. Do not waste it. 

Her follow up email confused me even more. Why is there a woman doing a training for Google at a party? Why do I care? And what’s up with all of the strange capitalization?

Example #7: Can We Book a Time to Talk, Please?

This one isn’t bad! I’d make it shorter first see if I’m even open to exploring join ventures but this email is okay.

Hello Tad,

My name is ______ and I’m the Joint Venture Manager for _________, founder of Coaching Business Name. We found your website and your work seems to be aligned with us and what we love to promote! I’d like to connect with you to see how we can best support each other in 2013! I’d like to learn what you’re planning for this year and share a few things from our promotional calendar.

To schedule an appointment, could you fill out some brief information by clicking on the link below. This will help us see what may be a best match and how to best serve your organization.

Our goal is to build synergistic relationships that are profitable and fun on all levels using the spiritual principles we teach and practice. We have an experienced JV Team in place capable of handling every aspect of any type of campaign or promotion.

Hope to speak to you or someone in your organization soon!

So, this one isn’t terrible but it’s a bit assumptive. I don’t know why it feels like a fit for them. There’s an assumption in the email that there is a fit here and we just need to figure it out. And, for me, whenever a stranger emails me saying ‘How can I help you?’ I read that as ‘I actually want you to help me but I figure that I’ve got a better chance of getting that if it seems like I want to help you.’ 

Example #8: Can You Promote My Unrelated Program, Please?

Okay. This one is longer so I’ll pull it apart piece by piece.

Aug. 30, 2012

Hello Ted Hargrave,

You misspelled my name. And used my full name (this makes you seem like spam or my angry mother and neither of associations those help you).

My name is ______; I’m a high school principal with an area of expertise that I believe many on your list of contacts would welcome hearing about: Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

What? How do you see the connection between Emotional Intelligence and marketing? I don’t get it. What problem does this solve for my clients?

I’ve created a School for Emotional Intelligence with a 6 week program entitled _____________. It’s a telecourse so people living anywhere can access it. I deliver it live weekly, repeat it regularly, and I provide e-mail support and enrichment after every lesson.

Why do I care about the details when I don’t see the relevance of the offer? I don’t.

My program sells for $197 and the affiliate commission for each referral is $100. Would you like to partner with me as an affiliate in a joint venture by informing your contacts my course exists?

This fellow is making the false assumption that the only reason I would spread the word about something is to make some money. I’m not against making money but, talking commission comes in Email #2 at the earliest. Likely not til Email #3. The most important thing is, ‘Is there even a fit?’. 

If so, I’d be honored to work with you.

Naturally, before you’ll consider promoting my program, you’ll want to know these 3 things:

You’re already telling me what I want? Old Man Ted Hargrave is cranky.

1 – That having high Emotional Intelligence is a great asset which will interest a significant percentage of those whom you contact. (Many people already realize that Emotional Intelligence is strongly correlated with performance and productivity – at work, at home, and at school – so they will understand its value either for themselves, or their children, or both.)

How is this relevant to my people???? I don’t care how abstractly valuable this is. I care if this is useful to my clientele.

2 – That I have the knowledge and skill to teach my program at a high level. (My websites include my qualifications and testimonials.)

I don’t care unless this is relevant. But I’m sure that will be your next point.

3 – That you’ll be assured of receiving your commissions. You can collect the tuitions yourself if you prefer, and send me my share when the course is over. Or I can do that using a company with affiliate tracking software to identify all your referrals and credit them to you (they’d register via your affiliate link).

I don’t care. Strike three.

If you wish, I’d be happy to help you promote my program to your contacts. How?

I’m sure you would. 

1 – I could conduct a free preview teleseminar so they could easily judge for themselves if my program is a good fit for them or their children. If they then want to register for it, they would, of course use your unique affiliate link to ensure you are properly credited.

2 – I can provide a sales e-mail for you to copy, and then forward to your contacts. (Modify it any way you wish.)

I don’t care. 

You can view the details of my program – and its benefits – on either of my websites. One is for adults who desire to enhance their own Emotional Intelligence; the other is for their teenage children.

Ah. I see. To see how this might be relevant I need to go to your website. So, you’re making me work for something in which I currently see no value at all. Right. (specifically for youth) (for adults)

Thank you for whatever consideration you grant this proposal. If you are interested, please contact me. And if you have no interest, I’d really appreciate an e-mail just to say, “No thanks,” so I’ll know not to bother you with any follow-up to this.

Say what? You’re now pushing me to respond? You’re putting that subtle obligation on me after totally wasting my time in reading this? No sir.

I can’t offer a cross promotion of what you offer (I’m on your list) since I lack any list of my own. That’s why I’m reaching out to you as a potential affiliate. I believe we can both benefit.



contact info

P.S. If you promote my program, it will prove to be a win-win-win:

1 – Those completing the course – teens or adults – will enhance their EQ (and EQ correlates with happiness more than IQ).
2 – You’ll be providing value to your contacts, and you’ll also receive $100 for all who take the course.
3 – I’ll earn a portion of each tuition, plus the opportunity to share my expertise with a new audience.

You have not shown me how this will be a win to my list. I do not see the fit at all.

Thanks again for considering this. I look forward to your response – either way. And should you choose not to become involved, I wish you every success in what you are already doing.

I like this last line. That’s very kind of him.

I have no doubt he is a very good man who is offering something very good to the world. But, the email he sent is a pitch, not an opening of a conversation. It’s so long. And he doesn’t clarify why he thinks it’s relevant to my people. When a hub gets the feeling that, ‘this email could be going to anyone… this is a template…’ the chances are extremely high that you will lose their attention.

Example #9: Can You Promote My TeleSummit, Please?

Hi Tad,

I hope you are doing well. I would like to invite you to collaborate with us at “” and speak in one of our upcoming virtual events, possibly in January.

My name is John Doe, I have developed BusinessName to provide valuable and relevant marketing and personal development information and resources to coaches, consultants, and other service professionals and connect them with the best experts in the industry.

I was on one of your calls and would love to collaborate and share your thoughts with others. Also, I would like to invite you to our January Virtual Event that is about developing a 6 figure business.

I would like to discuss these opportunities with you as soon as possible, when would be a good time to connect with you?


This one isn’t too bad. But, when someone says, ‘We’d like to invite you to speak at an event’ how I hear that (as someone who is approached all the time) is ‘We’d like you to promote our event with at least one solo email to your list and we figure getting you, who has a sizable following, to do that is to have you as a guest speaker.’  This actually seems like it could be relevant to my people. But, again, if it had started with some brief and specific appreciation and an opening question like, ‘Do you speak in telesummits these days?’ or ‘I’ve been working on something that I think could be of some use to the life coach and service provider types on your list in helping them with _______ problem’ or something, it might have grabbed me more. This seems relevant but generic. And, the whole six figure thing feels a bit burned out these days for me.

Example #10: I’m Famous So Promote Me, Please?

Again, I’m going to insert comments throughout this one because it’s a bit longer.

Hi Tad:

You spelled my name right! You’re doing much better than that last fellow…

You were recommended! Some points:

Wait… recommended by whom? For what?

¨ We live in Brentwood Bay, BC – just a few seconds away from Butchart Gardens


¨ We have run an international company for 20 years


¨ We are known for our Life and Business Coach Training

Are you?…

¨ I am famous in India as NAME but not well known outside of India

Okay… That sounds feasible but also kind of bragging. And… I think India is full of a lot of famous people.

¨ I am a Canadian best-selling author of many books including my latest release Book Name

Hrmm. It’s not hard to become a best seller by getting #1 on Amazon for two minutes. But that’s different than being a best seller for a few weeks. 

¨ I am the developer of multi-award winning coaching and leadership methodologies

You seem to be working very hard to impress me and I still have no idea why you’re writing me. 

¨ I am the developer of human potential products that would blow your mind. They are very powerful. For example, Product Name.

Aaaand you’re really starting to lose me. Arrogance is incredibly unattractive.

¨ We would like to work with an ethical company who is willing to make several million dollars from our human potential products.

This sounds like someone on the edge of delusion and who takes themselves very seriously. Danger Will Robinson. Danger.

¨ I have many of these human potential products wishing to come out of my head as soon as we launch the current ones! (My husband and Co-President John tells me to stop creating and start marketing!)

Your husband is a wise man. And I know the feeling about having so many products in your head. Totally. I’m feeling connected to you here.

¨ We would like this ethical marketing company to work on the basis of “you develop the strategies and implement them to make the millions and you then share in the financial glory”.

Ahhh. Translation, ‘You work for free for a long time and maybe make some money. If it fails it will be 100% because of your terrible marketing. Definitely not because of us. Because we’re amazing. As I think we might have mentioned (amazing!)’

¨ Please don’t look at our main website and think “Oh my God, these people need work.” We know we need work and are working on it.

Thank you for being human! I feel connected to you again.

¨ Your job would not be to help us fix our main website which is mainly about our services. Your job is to help us market our incredible products – not our services.

Ah! I am finally getting clear about what you want! And I totally don’t offer that service. If she had just emailed me saying, “I was wondering if you help other people market their products for them. Is that something you do?” she would have gotten her answer so much faster.  

If you are interested in this fab opportunity to work with some very cool, spiritual and values-based folks, let’s set up an interview .

I think I’d think you were cooler and more spiritual if you didn’t keep telling me you were. 

We require that you be honest, loving and compassionate. Only marketing tactics with integrity are tolerated.

Oh! Requirements on me already? I’m already being asked to jump through hoops to prove myself so you can bring me on to work for free?

PS Are you raw vegan? Just noticed a mention on your site. I have been vegan for years and love the raw vegan movement. Very cool.

Not anymore. 

With God’s Love from another Hippie!

I like that ending.

So I replied to make sure I was clear.

hey there,

thanks for reaching out. just home from a big trip to the uk. just to clarify, you’re wanting to get some marketing support and guidance and are considering me and your thought is for the payment to be in commissions in some way?

– t

She wrote back…

Hi Tad: 

Happy Friday to you!

When we work with apps builders, we give them 50% of the revenue because of the enormous amount of work they put into the creation of the end product.

It’s a sound partnership because everyone has the same amount of influence in the success of the product.

For the rest of our products, where possible, we see a similar relationship. It’s a partnership. We have developed these extraordinary products. You, if the shoe fits, would develop the strategy to take them to the world in multiple languages and implement the strategy.

For the shoe to fit, you must be honest, ethical, passionate about our products and be noble in your marketing efforts. Nothing less would be accepted.

The company who wears the shoe would have the opportunity to put these products into the hands of all ages, in every country. From that opportunity they would see huge transformation happening in hearts and minds of corporate and government folks as well as Moms, Dads and children.

This, more than the revenue which would be substantial, is the real reason for joining hands with us. J


Again. The demands on me don’t feel great. I feel like I’m already being scolded. And her level of belief in the power of her products to change the world… is a bit disconcerting. I don’t feel a lot of humility and humanity here. I didn’t pursue this further.

Example #11: Promote My Women’s Group, Please?

The following email came from a woman who I didn’t know very well. Just out of the blue.


“Namaste Tad, I’m starting a free women’s group in CityName, including one hour meditation, sharing info, workshop, and just listening and receiving, we would love it if you could send me the first five female leaders that come to your mind, via Facebook, thanks, have a super fabulous day in the sunshine.”

What this has going for it is that it’s short and to the point. I’m very clear what she’s doing and what she’s asking of me. But this felt a little bit too assumptive and she posted it on my new profile picture rather than in a message. That felt strange. If you want to ask a favour, ask me personally and in private Why would I connect her with my key women’s leaders in her city (and I know many) if I don’t know her? This is an example of asking for too much too soon.


Four Examples of How to Reach Out To Hubs Well

Example #1: Can I Speak at Your Venue?

My dear colleague and client Russell Scott of is looking to book a lot of talks for his wonderful work. Below are the emails we came up with together that he would use when reaching out to new age bookstores, yoga studios etc. This approach is deeply inspired by the work of Ari Galper on Cold Calling which you can learn more about at His end of the whole conversation is basically mapped out. He can tweak these to suit their response, but their responses are going to be fairly predictable. 

Having this all mapped out makes the process of reaching out to hubs better for them and so much easier for you. We do a similar things when reaching out to guest experts for 

E-mail 1

I was wondering if you can help me out?

I was wondering if you ever bring in guest speakers or facilitators to present talks or workshops and who would I ask about this? (I am an author and an international seminar/retreat leader.)

I wasn’t sure if you book speakers or who to talk about this?

E-mail 1 (a) if they don’t get back 

I was just following up on my e-mail a few days ago.

No pressure but I was wondering if you ever bring in guest speakers or facilitators to present talks or workshops and who would I ask about this? (I am an author and an international seminar/retreat leader.)

I wasn’t sure if you book speakers or who to talk about this?

E-mail 2

Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me.  I am sure you are very busy.

Here’s the nutshell: I am the author of the book “Awakening the Guru in You” and I have a new talk (related to my book) that is getting a great response and that I thought might be of interest to your community. There’s more info at this link:

I am not sure if it is a fit for your community but I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

I also give talks on other topics:

The Fulfillment Factor – the one thing that affects everything else in life

Beyond Belief – how to get unstuck and get moving in your life

Deep Calling – finding meaning and purpose in life

And, if these aren’t a fit, I’d be grateful for your guidance on good places to explore. Any support is warmly appreciated. 

Email 3

Here’s what has worked in the past for people like yourself in a similar business:

Let me know how long you want the talk. I can craft the talk to fit an hour or 2 hour time slot.

We set a date and time for the workshop preferably 6 to 8 weeks from now. 

You charge what you want for the talk and keep the proceeds or give a percentage to me according to what you usually do.  It would be good to have a discount for people that sign-up before the event. I can set-up a notice on Eventbrite for you if you like.

I’ll promote the talk to my network and provide you with a link to my website and promotional material: a poster, timed e-mails you can send to your list, pre-written facebook and twitter notices and even a blog-post if you want.

You promote the talk to your network of contacts and any other way you choose to let your community of people know about the event. This way the more people you get, the better it is for you.

At the beginning of the talk you can take a few minutes to tell the attendees about your business and then introduce me. I’ll provide you with a short bio.

At the end of the talk I’ll pass out a feedback form and let people know that they can sign-up for a complimentary mentorship session with me or request more information about what I do. I will not be doing any enrolling of people into any of my offerings at the workshop.

I’ll make my book available for purchase at the end of the talk.

How does this all sound to you? Do you have any questions?


Example #2: Can You Help Promote My Workshop Tour, Please?

When I was doing a tour of the Kootenays with my workshops I was faced with the reality that I knew almost no one. So, one thing I did was find a local New Age Magazine and start emailing people who had ads in it. A 100% cold approach. I normally wouldn’t recommend this but my options were slim.

hey jennifer,

i was wondering if you could help me.

i saw your profile in the holistic section of In The Koots and i thought you might have some ideas.

there’s a day long, pay what you can, marketing workshop i’m leading for holistic practitioners in Nelson this Friday (last minute – tied into a roadtrip and thought ‘why not?’) and it’s my first time doing anything in nelson. and i thought you might have some ideas on good places to spread the word about it. any guidance is so warmly appreciated. and nooo pressure. im sure you’re busy.

i hope your summer is going well :-)

Notice the lack of assumption in that email. And notice that I’m not even asking her for her help directly. I’m just asking for advice. My friend Julian Faid once shared some advice his father had given him, ‘If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice.’ This is so true. If you ask someone for money, they’ll often say, “You know how you get money…” and give you ideas. If you ask for their advice on how to get it, it takes all the pressure off and, if they see that it’s a fit for the kind of thing they might want to fund, they’ll say, “I could fund this…”.

I’ve found that starting with asking humbly for advice opens up conversations in a much warmer way (and results in you getting some amazing leads and ideas you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise). 

When someone gave me a name of someone to reach out to for the tour, I’d send some version of the following:

hey there ali,

aga suggested i drop you a line.

there’s a day long, pay what you can, marketing workshop i’m leading for holistic practitioners in Nelson this Friday (last minute – tied into a roadtrip and thought ‘why not?’) and it’s my first time doing anything in nelson. and aga thought you might have some ideas on good places to spread the word about it. any guidance is so warmly appreciated. and nooo pressure. im sure you’re busy.

i hope your summer is going well :-)

– tad

And, of course, The Kootenays are full of holistic healing schools which are a huge hub for me. So I’d send them some version of this email.

hey there,

i was wondering if you could help me.

there’s a workshop in Nelson this Friday that i thought might be of interest to some of your students and alumni – but i wasn’t sure who to talk to at your academy.

i hope your summer is going well.

– tad

And then there were the holistic centers, spas and massage studios. They got this kind of email:

hey there,

i was wondering if you could help me.

there’s a workshop in Nelson this Friday that i thought might be of interest to some of your staff and associates – but i wasn’t sure who to talk to at your center about it all.

i hope your summer is going well.

– tad

I got a very positive and helpful response to all of these emails and responses from most of the people. 


Example #3: Would You Help Me Promote My Workshop, Please?

When I was leading a workshop in Toronto that wasn’t filling as fast as I would have liked, I sent out some emails like this to local hubs. Please note: these are all friends and colleagues with whom there’s already some existing trust. And these were sent as individual emails, not a big group email. Though, in a pinch, you can get away with a group email to hubs who know and love you. 

hey there,

I’m going to be running another weekend workshop for holistic practitioners (and also invited eco-permaculture practitioner types too). It’s happening Nov 25-27th.

I think it’s going to be swell.

I could totally use a hand spreading the word about it. I was wondering if you would have five minutes to help? I’ve got something prewritten you can send out. I find it works best when people just email like 3-5 folks personally who they think might benefit and enjoy. and i figured you might know some folks in the scene.

Would you be down?


The typical response?

Dear Tad:
Of course. Just send it on!
Hope you’re doing well.

My response to that (already pre-written) was…

thank you!

so, this is the generic thing – feel free to tweak it as needed. putting it on facebook helps but i still find that the very most useful thing is when people take a minute or two to really consider particular folks who might be a fit for this and then send a personal email (edited template) to them telling them about it. it only takes five minutes but seems to have so much more impact. i’m super grateful.

‘Hey there,

A colleague of mine, Tad Hargrave, is holding a marketing workshop designed just for holistic practitioners and permaculture practitioner types and I thought you might be interested in attending yourself. It’s happening next weekend.

for more info or to register you can go to:

let me know if you decide to go?

Again, instead of putting it all into one big pitch-based email, break it up into a few emails. Let is breathe a bit. 


Example #4: How Tova Approached Me to Write this Guest Blog Post

This blog post would certainly not be complete without showing how gracefully and graciously Tova landed this guest blog post (which I have, appallingly, hijacked).

Here was the first email she sent me on April 20th.

Hi Tad
My name is Tova, a fellow-Canadian out here in Vancouver :)
I love what you’re about, and especially love that you focus on marketing without sacrificing our integrity.
I wrote a post about this, which has not yet been published anywhere. I thought of you & your audience first, and wanted to see if you were interested in giving it a view. 
The subject is: Slimy VS Classy Marketing & Sales.
Please let me know if you would like me to send it over for your review.
And I wish you a wonderful weekend. Thanks for your consideration!
This whole email is perfect. She introduces herself warmly and makes the fellow Canadian connection. She moves to a specific appreciation that lets me know this is not a form email. And then she tells me about a post she’s already written. Honestly, when I saw that this was about a guest post, my heart sank a bit. I get so many of these requests. But then I saw the title. ‘That’s perfect for my audience!’ I thought. She then asked if I’d like to see it and ended with warm wishes and a humbled ‘thanks for your consideration!’. What’s not to love?
I replied.

tova,i’d love to explore that. can you send it to me in early june? i’m about to go into a busy season and don’t want to lose it.- t

She agreed and on June 3rd sent me the blog post. Which it then took me two weeks to read. And was brilliant. I’m so glad she didn’t offer it to anyone else and that I get to share it with you here.


Eight Key Points to Take from All of This:

  • A Short First Email: Make the goal of the first email to cut straight to the chase to see if there’s any possibility of a fit. If they’re even open to what you’re offering at all.
  • A Non Assumptive Approach: Don’t assume it’s a fit. Don’t assume they want what you’re offering.
  • Make it a Conversation: Instead of sending them a pitch, send them an invitation to open a conversation. And then let the conversation flow naturally. Take your time with hubs. They may need to get to know you first. It’s worth the investment. Take your time. Don’t propose marriage in the first email.
  • Be Okay With No: I might not want to say yes to this but there might be something i could say yes to down the road. If you’re gracious about my refusal, I am way more likely to be open to you in the future.  
  • Be Humble: Do not position it as an honour to work with you. That makes you seem arrogant. What impresses people isn’t over-confidence, it’s meeting someone who is composed and comfortable in their own skin.
  • Be Clear: Don’t confuse your hubs. 
  • Be Patient: Hubs are busy. It will take a long time to get a reply. Let it wait. Don’t push it. It’s okay to check in but don’t guilt trip them.
  • Ask for Advice: Consider asking for advice before asking for support from them. It gives them time to get to know you. If you ask for my advice and show me how well you used it, this will win me over big time. 


Guest Post: How I Got 11,000 Likes on My Facebook Page in Six Months

One World Likes

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”   ~ E. B. White

tim emersonWhat do Trinidad and Tobago, Namibia, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Uganda, Singapore, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sudan, Vanuatu, Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have in common?  

I’ll give you a few moments to ponder. 

A month ago I wrote a guest blog post for Tad, “How I added 8,000 Facebook fans in 5 months,” outlining how I went from a static 623 fans at the beginning of February to 8,921 in July.  

In that piece, I explained how I got clear about my page’s purpose and message, paid attention to what got positive response and adjusted, worked out a simple system for keeping the page active while spending very little time on it, and resisted selling, except for limited free offers.  To this last part, as it seems counterintuitive, I added how Facebook generates 1/3 of my email list subscribers and fills my free teleseminars, from which I enroll new clients, particularly in my higher end offerings. 

By the way, I could add to that list Zimbabwe, Tuvalu, Tanzania, Swaziland, South Sudan, Somaliland, South Africa, Samoa, Rwanda, Palau, Nauru, Malta, Kiribati, Kenya, India, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.  Found the connection yet?   Be patient – it took me a while too. 

I also added to that piece that while I’m not a fan of Facebook advertising overall, I have found that a small, quirky ad, with an eye-catching image, in keeping with your point of view and strategic purpose and with a severely limited budget, just a few bucks a day, would generate around 40-60 new fans daily, combining click-throughs with new organic likes from shares.  

One nice thing about Facebook advertising is the ability to carefully target ad audiences.  So when my 50 new fans each day started to trickle down to barely 20 a day, I took a look at these targets, to see if maybe I could freshen things up a bit.  

At first, nothing much.  I had hit every related interest I could think of, and I didn’t want to expand my age demographics, as that would probably be counter-productive.  But then I looked at countries. 

Originally, I listed all the English speaking countries I could think of quickly.   You know—the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand…that’s it, right?  Well, Belize I guess, but it’s so small, what’s the point. 

But I’ve been working a lot with intuition for the past few months, and something flashed into my head about Belize.   Maybe not so fast.  So I Googled “English speaking countries” on a hunch, and found…88 of them.  88!  That’s 82 new audiences, all ready to experience for the very first time!  

So I added Mauritius, the Marshall Islands, Malawi, Liberia, Lesotho, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Ghana, Gambia, Eritrea, Dominica, Cameroon, Botswana, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda – Facebook limits you to 25 countries at a time.  But my likes spiked THAT DAY from 20 to 200.   And just like that, I’m at 11,250 fans.   Sure, it’s starting to slow…down to 150 a day now, though, still three times what I was seeing before, and with the same budget.

What does that mean, the same budget?  Two things:  (1) I’m getting a LOT of new organic likes from the sharing from the new traffic, and (2) my cost-per-click has dropped by more than 50%.  Seems a lot of people don’t market to countries like Fiji—so my competition is apparently quite small.   I haven’t been doing Google Ads for a while, but now I’m curious what affect targeting these markets would have on click rates there.  Next time, I’ll try it. 

What happens when my 150 daily likes finally slows again to 20?  I’ll remove the markets already exposed and substitute new ones, and I’ll be able to do that at least three more times.   This will give me a much larger market when promoting my next teleseminar—I already have clients in six countries (the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan, and Saint Martens).   

Don’t overlook non-sovereign places either, like Anguilla, American Samoa, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guam, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Montserrat, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Puerto Rico, Saint Helena–Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Sint Maarten, San Andrés y Providencia–Colombia, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Kwan Yin Healing helps the spiritually-conscious who are struggling with life path or health and are ready to move forward and find peace.  The Four Pillars of healing and transformation are Clarity (life is supposed to be abundant, and now, when we get out of our own way), Connection (we are part of a continuum from earth to the divine), Coherence (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and awareness energies need to vibrate harmoniously), and Change (if you want something you don’t have, you’ll need to do things you’ve never done).   I love the beautiful illustration this example gives – the instant results from connecting to what already exists in a coherent way with one simple change.  We live on one globe, one people, one human energy—and we can easily forget that imaginary borders are only in our nationalist mindsets. 

I’m already delighted to be helping people jump start their paths and thus accelerate how they help still more people through their work throughout the US and Canada, as well as a bit in the Caribbean, the UK, and Australia.   If you’re ready to find what’s holding you back from living your dreams fully, visit, look around, and sign-on for the free starting package.   I’m happy to start you along your path.  

And if you happen to be from Spain, Malayasia, Germany, Israel, the US Virgin Islands, Switzerland, Honduras, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, British Indian Ocean Territory, Ethiopia, Russia, East Timor, or any of the many other places where first-language English speakers live, or if you are one of the many people who speak English as a second or third or fourth or fifth language, I’ll be happy to make your acquaintance.   It’s all one world, one people, on one road to peace, harmony, unity, health and happiness. 

Love and Joy,

Tim Emerson
Kwan Yin Healing

kyle mcneil talks facebook and blogs

I met Kyle McNeil a few years back through various entrepreneurship circles.

He invited me to connect a few times but I was so busy and didn’t know him well enough to prioritize things. And then we ended up attending a weekend workshop together and had a three hour drive of bro time back to Edmonton. I felt really refreshed by Kyle’s genuine openness and curiousity. He spoke about how much he was loving blogging and getting into it.

And the more I got to know him the more I was curious about his approach to blogging and facebook. So I asked him if I could do a blog interview. He agreed and the interview follows.

what do you see as the three biggest mistakes people make on facebook?

a) throwing up quotes and ideas from other people. As good as they are, we can all find the Napolean Hill quotes from Think and Grow Rich on our book shelf. In an authentic age, un-original content is the equivalent of spam. My hope is these people will get real and share their “real” with others.

b) thinking being “authentic” includes being completely irrational and potentially rude. For example swearing and complaining as a regular dose of content to share with others is not cool! I’m not suggesting to sugarcoating life if it’s tough. But instead of swearing and complaining, to be respectful and authentic in writing something like “today I’m disappointed and angry, because … ” and take some responsibility for the situation or circumstance. There’s enough static out there, facebook is an opportunity to lift others up with our words.

c) being the pushy sales guy or woman, but on facebook. It’s scary to me when the only thing people post are discounts and sales for their business, completely by-passing the fact that facebook is a place for personal interaction.

what do you see as the three biggest mistakes people make on their blogs?

a) they don’t write often enough! Ironically enough I’m personally guilty of this, but also contributing to a second blog (Beneath The Cover), gives me some fudge room right? The dream of “I’ll blog when I get more time” just isn’t good enough, because that day will never come. Good reminder for me too!

b) it’s either WAY to long, or WAY to short.

To long — means they’re not getting to the point, often getting lost in the details, and pushing readers away. A good rule of thumb is 500 words or less.

To short — in my opinion this means bloggers are trying to cast their fishing line, but they’re provided no bait for their audience to clamp on to. Just because Seth Godin writes in 70 words or less, doesn’t mean it will work for you. People want something with substance. It’s hard to do this in 2 sentences. A good rule of thumb is at least 300 words.

where are the top three places or ways in which you have found facebook most useful?

a) having people keep up with me. Lately people that I haven’t talked to in months have a context from where I’m at in my life, and entrepreneurial pursuits because they follow me on facebook. I think that’s just amazing, and accelerates the depth and quality of our actual conversations.

b) the feature for setting up events and inviting people to them on facebook is really smooth! Especially events that are more focused around socializing. It’s so easy to invite people, handle rsvp’s answer questions on the group wall, etc.

c) creating a personal connection, or deepening the connection with new friends, clients, and/or prospective clients. It’s amazing to log onto facebook and learn how Maria is holding up in the New York snow storms, even though we haven’t talked in weeks, or how Leslie (a new client from Hawaii) is finding results through her blog and proactive nature, and being able to celebrate with her by pointing it out on my wall.

where are the top three places or ways in which you have found blogging most useful?

a) creating an ongoing reference point (housed in a static url) where people can go to uncover something of value to them. For example my friend John was feeling blocked in his blogging/writing process, and found my blog post “Blogging for Introverts & Why to Start” and left this comment …

Kyle, thanks for this post. It really helped me get unstuck last week as I was working on a new blog. The accuracy was uncanny — it’s like you somehow knew a lot about me… anyway, I’m still waiting on the increase in hot dates and coffee requests. That comes soon, right? ;)

It’s amazing that we can add value to someone without even being there!!

b) Relationship building on auto-pilot – people can build relationship with us while we sit on a hill, spend time with friends or sleep. 24/7 people can learn about you and connect to your business, dreams and life! And they can do so at their pace and on their time.

c) sharing my authentic voice and message with those who want to read, with a simple click of the “publish blog post” button. That’s the biggest one. There’s a direct correlation between when I started blogging 22 months ago, and 1) the size of my network now and 2) how much my network “knows me”, which is huge, because I believe business and life is all about relationship(s).

d) another HUGE one, is building an audience. Blogging is a magically leveraged, personable, and interactive way to grow, and deepen the relationship we have with our audience. I know you only wanted the top 3 Tad, but this one HAD TO make the list :)

give me a list of all the different ‘types’ of blogging formats you can imagine. sometimes people get stuck on ‘what kinds of things should i post?’ and they all become essays and people stress over what to write?

Here are a few:

* video blog post
* Q&A style blog post (like Tad is doing right now)
* sharing a story or experience (my favourite type to write)
* proposing an idea and asking for feedback
* providing an update about your life or business
* posts between 300-500 words
* posts for different personality types – this is big more high level, but good to know about, because it ramps the blogging process up.
* “how to” blog
* gratitude or appreciation blog directed towards other people.
* the “get real and authentic post”, like this one I wrote about my dad and I …

One of the biggest things, is ONE idea per post, otherwise it confuses people. We’re all loaded with content and info, so give people one thing!


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Fifty Two Kick Ass Blogs to Inspire Your Blogging

Sometimes people ask me ‘what’s a blog?’ or they feel stuck and uninspired in thinking a blog has to done in only ONE way.

Well, here are fifty blogs I’ve collected from friends.

I asked them all: “What is the most kick ass blog you know of. Not one that’s ‘okay’ or ‘cool’. One you read all the time. One you often forward to your friends. One that inspires the hell out of you.” And these are the fifty I got (with some of my own additions) divided by category. The comments next to them are from the people who sent them in.

Blogs are a powerful social media tool, powerful in positioning you as an expert and helping you become a hub and building trust.

Who knows – you might just find your new favourite blog in here!


Nine Recommended Business & Career Type Blogs:

  2. – my absolute favorite is Seth’s Blog – mostly because it is always short, sweet and to the point – his comments always totally relate to topics I’m interested in, he’s very quotable,and his site is beautifully laid out for referring back to older posts – I like everything about it and refer people to it all the time. Thought provoking blogs that give new perspectives on crowd psychology, being an individual, and “different” marketing. And the guy can get more thoughts in a paragraph than most people put in a book.
  5. always inspire me to actually get off my ass and do cool/important shit.
  6. – Copyblogger. It’s lucid, informative, focused, and often funny.
  8. Mark Silver
  9. Suzanne Falter-Barns

21 Recommended Personal Blogs:

  1. my friend Ted has a lovely blog about his dances with life and truth. I love his candor, and he always makes me feel less alone with my struggles.
  3. . Brilliant, simple, funny, thoughtful and all about thankfulness.
  4. Being a mom, I’m biased about my preference. I love sassy mom blogs like this. I understand that there are a lot of amazing people out there doing amazing things but I think I prefer to read about them in full scale articles. For my daily dose of something to accompany my coffee I greatly prefer those who can eloquently write about the things I wouldn’t dare say out loud, or those who can lend nobility to making mistakes, being human, and learning from it along the way.
  5. – is socially relevant
  6. – The parenting this woman does blows my mind, PLUS she is awesome. I love this blog.
  7. – awesome sexuality resources for poly and kink, really interesting person. wish she updated more.
  8. – best astrology ever. thorough, accessible, relevant.
  10. – Leo’s got inspiration and living a beautiful life down to a regular 200-500 word blog post. 1. My heart sang when I first saw his minimalist lay out and clean design. 2. His excellent writing about letting go of stuff, and simple living speaks to my soul. 3. And he walks his talk — he has a policy of “copy free” for everything he writes, meaning “go ahead and use it however you want” (he believes in the art of giving and receiving). And, finally when he sends his newsletter out his links don’t include any tracking – a minor point, but sort of floored me and reminded me that you can let go of the “rules” that no longer suit you and pare down to what really matters for you.
  11. it’s a crafting blog but it has ongoing amazing ideas, projects and links to tutorials and more for kids and adults.
  12. – New, off-the-beaten-track music every single day, and wacky little stories.
  13. I spent hours reading it and watching all the videos yesterday- ridiculous, but awesome.
  17. Personal Development for Smart People. He is brilliant and talk about things people would rather sweep under the carpet. He has over 2 million subscribers to his blog and he did it by just being straightforward, no SEO gimmicks or anything.

Five Funny Blogs:

  1. – Eccentric, hilarious commentaries about pretty much anything. Some of it could be a bit notsuitableforwork.
  2. – Web comic
  3. Fantastically unique and humorously tragic:
  5. makes me land others laugh every day

Five Food, Local Food and Farming Related Blogs:

  4. and – They’ve both changed my cooking life. Not even kidding.
  5. – she’s a fab writer and insightful as hell and I love that she started off with something completely different – the universe took her to such a cool place “I named this blog “Hitchhiking to Heaven” because what I meant to write about was the quirky, unexpected stuff we encounter along the road to a thoughtful, satisfying life. Then — surprise! — what I encountered was a lot of jam and jelly”

Ten Political Blogs:

  2. – David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary – he is a very experinced journlaist and political activist who takes you behind the scences of power making in this province, very smart, witty and always very relevant for those who seek to understand the context of politics in alberta.
  3. is probably the single best, fair and balanced look at Alberta politics on the interwebs. Wherever you fond yourself on the political spectrum, that blog will provide you with some great information on what is happening in your province and how your tax dollars are being used or misused.
  4. dispatches from the youth climate movement
  8. detroitblog has some of the best stories anywhere of what it’s like living in a dying city:
  9. – It’s not fancy or incredibly well designed but it has my absolute favorite content:


So, what’s YOUR favourite kickass blog?

(please share the URL and why you think it’s so amazing below)


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soul filled cafe – very cool business building blogging strategy

Here’s a strategy that can take your blog from Deadsville to being a bustle of activity, connect you with key hubs and influencers in your scene, build your credibility and trust with your people – and ultimately get you more of the kinds of perfect clients you’re wanting.

You’ve likely already heard of my dear friend Alex Baisley and his work around helping people create a wonderful, eclectic and sustainable lifestyle. He’s brilliant. So, when he started raving about a woman named Heather Gray . . . I paid attention.

And then, as strange things in life occur, I found myself in Brooklyn (close to where she lives)  a few months later, sitting next to her at a beautiful little vegan and amazing food restaurant/cafe. And she told me a bit about her work in helping people to slow down, get really clear about what they want and then craft a lifestyle out of that.

And one of the marketing and community building ideas she had, had to do with her blog. It’s one of the most practical and innovative ideas I’ve heard in a while. So I thought I’d interview her for you and let her explain it herself.


What is the Soul Filled Cafe?

The Soul-filled Cafe is a guest blog event series hosted at my website

I launched the guest blog events as a way to feature other coaches and cool people I know to share their expertise with like-minded others. By inviting them to be available to answer questions through out the day, there expertise really shines and the post gains depth.

I also quickly realized that these blog events made a great way for other coaches to interact with each other.  So I see the “cafe” as a virtual place where “experts gather, share and connect. “    It’s a departure from the “Dear Abby” type of expert posts, where the expert knows everything and you are invited to come with your issues and ask questions anonymously. This is a “virtual cafe” where you have a conversation and get to know the expert and share yourself as well.    Building a coaching business (or any solo-venture) can involve a lot of time alone, talking with a mentor or working with clients, so a great benefit is that this creates a nice virtual hang out to meet other experts and get great information.

What’s the structure? How does it work?

I post an article or video from a guest expert at my blog in the morning and for an entire day people are invited to “stop by” and ask questions, share comments and interact with the guest and each other (all via the blog comment section).

Where did you come up with the idea?

In January 2010, Sarah Robinson of Escaping Mediocrity ( hosted a month long blog series with a different guest every day.  There was tons of interaction at her blog, and each guest would pour out great information through the questions from the blog  which helped to bring the article they had shared to life.  I loved it!

Borrowing her idea, I hosted my first “guest blog event” with Cherry Norris (The Hollywood Dating Director, in February 2010, which was perfect for Valentine’s Day.   She was great about “experimenting” with me.  I use google analytics to track the stats at my website, and there was a nice spike of traffic on the day of Cherry’s guest blog.

I know a lot of cool people, so through out 2010 I continued to host a new expert once a month, and they were called “Guest Blog Events”  (very exciting name).

In November, I hosted Alex Baisley, from the  Big Dream Program and he has a magical way with words.  During the blog conversation that day, he commented that he was excited to be hanging out at the “Soul-filled Cafe”  The name stuck!

In 2011 I have been playing around with more regular spots.  In February I hosted a week long event called “Rejuvenate Love” with back to back days of experts.  And starting this month (April) I am hosting weekly guest events.

The whole thing has become very streamlined, so it’s gotten easier to implement.  And it’s become a great place to invite cool people I meet to be spotlighted.

What’s the response to it been?

It’s been great!  As I mentioned I get spikes of traffic to the blog on the day of these events  (200-500 visits on that one day).  So there are lots of people who “stop by.”

However, only a fraction of the people that “stop by” actually submit a question or comment.  I think there is a “getting comfortable factor” with communicating or sharing yourself through a blog.    I hope I am helping to break down people’s barriers and that they will go on and share themselves at other blogs.  I know for myself, the more I comment at blogs, the more fun it is.

To help with this I’ve been starting to “educate” a bit when people sign up for the Soul-filled Cafe updates.  I share how to use “disqus” (the comment system) and recommend that they register, with their name and photo so we “see” them and encourage them to share about themselves and interact with the other commenters.  Just like you were at a real “cafe” hanging out with cool people. :)

The response from the experts has been really nice too.  Without exception, everyone has said that the experience has been both fun and informative.  I’m always floored by how generous they are with sharing amazing information via the blog conversation and I love seeing them in their zone of expertise helping others.  Such a gift.

This seems like a brilliant idea on how to use a blog. What are the three biggest mistakes you see most people make with their blogging?

#1 Not blogging. I have some clients and peers who are “shy” about getting a blog going.  And they are wonderful writers with wonderful ideas — so it’s not that —  but it’s a fear of being “seen.”  (Funny thing is once you get into it, then you switch to, “how can I get more people to see this?!”)

#2 Blogging ONLY because someone told you it’s good marketing. Great recipe for a boring blog.  I’ve seen blogs that feel more like a string of articles or uninspired posts.  Maybe google likes them, but if people are not “hanging out” and really reading it, it feels yucky to me.

#3  Not being creative with blogging. Some people don’t like to “write” and they think, well I won’t blog.  But your blog could be video posts, or if you enjoy taking photos you could do a “photo” a day post, or you can highlight other people and stuff you like.  So many ways to create fun, regular content.  Get creative!   And make sure it’s something you love doing (because you’ll want to do it regularly.)

What are your three biggest things you’ve learned about blogging?

#1  It is good marketing (just don’t have that be the only motivation.)  Without a blog, my website would be dead in the water.  I can’t imagine not having one now.

#2  Just get started! When I look back over the content I’ve created, mostly over the last 3 years, I see how it has helped me to articulate my core message.  So just get started!  There will be gold even in those first posts.

#3  Don’t be a lone wolf. Add the energy of others into your blog.  Either invite people to post on your blog, interview someone, or post at other people’s blog.   1+1 = 10 when it comes to blogging.  I’ve definitely experienced that.

What has been the impact of the SFC on your business and income?

The only way I can answer that is with the goolge analytics.  It has created 10x’s the traffic to which has led to at least doubling my list size, which has led to new clients.   It’s also led to some fun JV projects and some new income streams that way.

How does the SFC fit into your bigger marketing picture?

It’s become a big part of my free content piece.  It also brings new communities to via the experts. And then there is the “who knows who” factor: people respond to you because someone they like is at your blog.

If someone else wanted to start using this model – what would be your three most important pieces of advice?

1) Start by reaching out to the people you know will say yes. People you know well and people who just like you already.

2)  Don’t have the guest post be about “selling anything” My intention is always to create a great experience for people out of the day and learning opportunity.  I see the events as a “touch” point for the guest.  I know that new people will discover them and want more  (and people from their community find out about my business too.  A win/ win)   It also makes the guest event fun and spontaneous too.  Wonderful conversations have happened out of my blog, simply by coming from a place of “giving.”  And as a result more people know and trust me and the guest.

3) Don’t  aim for just the “Big Names” There are so many people doing cool things that have expertise to share.  I find that those who may have a smaller followings can be some of the best guests, because of the enthusiasm they bring to the event.

What’s the next level of this going to be for you?

Right now the Soulfilled Cafe lives at a page and a string of posts.

What I am working on is  creating some branding and a separate website for it (though linked to  My vision is to have  some sponsorships and a “cafe” shop where I could feature products from the experts. I recently registered “” –actually it was funny, the day I went to register it, my hosting service informed me it was “free” — I still have no idea why, but I thought it was a cool sign.


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how do YOU use blogging and social media to create the Know, Like and Trust Factor?

Today I’m being interviewed by my colleague Bill Baren about how I use social media and blogging to build the Know, Like and Trust Factor in my business.

And it had me wondering – what do YOU do?

  1. What kinds of things do you post in your blog or on facebook?
  2. Have you come up with any super cool strategies that have worked to help you grow your business?
  3. What things have you posted that have had the biggest response?

Leave any brilliant ideas below and let’s see what we can all learn from each other.

I promise to compile all of these ideas and put them together in a blog soon. Just check back or subscribe to my blog on the top right of this page and you’ll see it soon.


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Love Letter Marketing Lessons

A few months back I met a lady named Chris Kay Fraser. She was working on a project that I thought was pretty amazing and I blogged about it (click here to read it). Once it was done, I asked her some questions about the contest from the business and marketing side.

What she did is a brilliant example of word of mouth marketing (she created something remarkable and ‘talkable’. And it’s a great example of the beginnings of ‘becoming a hub‘. Seriously – watch out for this project in the future. Big things coming. And it’s just a great example of an inspiring business.

Here’s what she had to say.

Thanks for inviting me back to your blog to answer some more questions about the “Love Letters Aren’t Just For Lovers” campaign. It’s nice to be back!

For those who didn’t read my original post, there’s background on my website here, but in a nutshell, I recently got really inspired by the idea of love letters.

I decided to launch a Love Letters Aren’t Just For Lovers campaign, as an extension of my business Firefly Creative Writing. I ran a series of free love letter writing workshops, hosted a large love letter contest,  and created a love letter reading event for some of the participants, and then, last week, I launched the final stage – a love letter e-class. It’s been a beautiful whirlwind of love!

Here’s a little about what I learned…

1) What was the response to the contest?

Oh my goodness Tad, it was unbelievable!

I received a constant stream of letters through the fall, from all over Canada, as well as India, New Zealand and the UK. I received letters to babies and grandparents, sisters and mentors, tennis partners, old friends. One woman write to her childhood horse. One wrote to the colony of raccoons that had lived outside her window when she was a girl, who made her feel less alone. One wrote to her breasts, the morning that she was going in for breast-reduction surgery.

The volume, and the depth, of the words of love that rolled into my mailbox was astounding.

Mainly, word traveled through word-of-mouth and facebook posts. I also bought some facebook ad’s and some google ad’s to carry the message further.

2) I noticed you added a jury prize vs. just the top three – why was that?

Well, this was interesting… On the night that the jury met, we had no idea how we’d judge the letters. To be honest, we all felt it was incredibly counter-intuitive to choose favorites. The jury members are all veterans of my writing workshops, were writing is never judged, but rather deeply appreciated, so these jurors had all built their abilities to deeply hear and love writing, rather than approaching it with a sense of competition or critique. Suddenly we had to pick favorites, and we were all a little thrown.

I could feel the nervousness rising in my living room as they settled in. After a little warming up and some red wine, I had them each write down their favourite three letters, and then they took turns telling (and often passionately defending) what was on their list.

Two things became immediately clear. First, they all had different tastes. Many letters were discussed. Second, there were three letters which rose quickly to the top as unanimous favorites.

The top three – Letter To Baby, Dear J and To My First Love – were on almost every list. Statistically, there was no question – these were the jury’s choices.

However, no one would have walked home satisfied with only three letters to honor. So, I had each of the juror’s choose their own special favorite.

In the end, it was a beautiful and very natural process. We hated to leave anyone out, but I was mostly pleased with the decisions that were made.

Also, I was able to honor more of the letters in the public reading I hosted on February 13th here in Toronto, and more still in the letters I bought the rights to use as examples in the Love Letters Aren’t Just For Lovers e-class.

3) how, if at all, do you think this contest will help you make more money and grow your business?

It’s funny, Tad, I feel a real resistance to answering this question! Hunh! I think it’s because the project was born out of a moment of innocence and inspiration; I kinda hate to cast it in the light of gain and capital. But, capital is the currency we live within, and this is a marketing website, so let me see…

1. Fundamentally, the campaign carved out safe space for me to connect to people’s tenderness. This is what my work is based on – connecting to tenderness. Of course, people tend to feel a lot of resistance to that! I hear from people all the time that the reason they didn’t sign up sooner for a workshop or correspondence class with me was fear. And yet, they almost always wish they’d conquered that fear earlier.

Through the one-off workshops and the contest, and even the reading, I allowed people to step past their fear, into that tender space, in small, not-too-threatening ways. Although I didn’t plan it, I’d imagine that the “foot in the door” phenomenon was happening – I made tiny, positive connections with people who might later take the next step, and sign up for a workshop or correspondence class, or one-on-one coaching.

2. It also gave me a hip, grippy way of explaining what I do. Take you, for example. I met you in October at one of your networking events. You asked what I do, and I, typically shy to talk about myself, mumbled, “I teach creative writing” Hello: boring! You glanced over my shoulder to where appetizers were being passes out. I almost lost you. Somehow, though, the conversation wound around to the love letters, and your eyes lit up. “I am running a love letter contest”… That’s worth listening to. You were back.

3. Finally, I did turn this into a product. I distilled all of what I learned through the fall into my first purely on-line class, a seven week self-guided journey in writing love letters, available through my website. In the e-class I’m aiming to translate some of the warmth and safety I created in the love letter workshops to an on-line environment. The contest,  workshops and reading were all free-of-cost, but the e-class is $40. I’m proud and excited to share it.

4) favourite part of the process for you?

To answer this question I need to get personal.

I’m a dweller of the deeps. I feel things in passionate and sometimes-devastating ways. I have a hard time, often, living in a world of small talk. I’m always trying to get under the surface.

This contest gave me the opportunity to feel deeply,  every day,  and to connect to others from that place. From the empathy and sadness I felt when I first read “Letter to Baby”, which tells the story of the author’s journey into first-tine conception and miscarriage, to the joyful nostalgia of first love that bubbled up in “Dear J” and “To The One Who Got Away” (all of these are available to read here) – I was swimming in a deep sea of joy, angst and truth-telling. I love it down there.

5) biggest lessons?

Ah, just this:

Do what you love.

Do what you love.

Do what you love.

This project was an incredible amount of work, mental, financial, emotional. I spent hours replying to letters, answering questions, figuring out new html code, acquiring contest prizes, organizing the jury… Oh, the list is endless. And yet here I am, on the other side of it, and I wouldn’t trade one minute.

It may not have been practical in a purely financial field (yet… The e-class is available to anyone in the English-speaking world with an internet connection…) but it let me be myself, no compromises, doing what I do best. This, to me, is the epitome of self-employment.

Thanks again, Tad! Your interest and enthusiasm was one of the strong winds that helped move this project forward, into the right hands and hearts. You are an amazing weaver of community and I’m grateful for it.

Ever warmly,



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7 marketing lessons from the egyptian uprising

You might have heard – Egypt is having an uprising.

And rumour has is that it’s all because of this one video recorded by Asmaa Mahfouz.

Asmaa is a woman so tired of injustice and the lack of basic human rights in Egypt.

In his book “The Soul of a Citizen” Paul Rogat Loeb argues that social uprisings are never about one person.

Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. came out of social movements and were supported by them. The story of these people creating the movement is just that – a story. And I suspect that this is true in Egypt. There are likely circles within circles that we can’t even begin to understand from outside the of that region.

But sometimes years of community building, coalition building and education can be sparked into flame by unexpected things.

So . . . here’s the video that’s being credited with starting the uprising we are witnessing today. Here’s the spark.

And it has some powerful things to say about marketing I want to lift up.

Because marketing can be terrible – it can be gross, contrived, exploitative and leave people with less self esteem than they had when they turned on the TV. But, at its heart it can also be a beautiful and uplifting thing. It can be about ‘getting the word out’ about positive things. It’s about communicating our messages clearly. It’s about getting people to change their habits that our destroying the world. Marketing can be an art and as Ton! Cade Bambara said, “The goal of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible.”

I believe that all of the solutions to our environmental and social justice problems in the world exist already – but if no one knows about them – functionally they don’t exist. And getting people to hear about them – and be willing to try them out is, I would suggest, a marketing issue.

Imagine a world in which strawbale homes, permaculture design, holistic health and local, organic food were normal. Marketing should be about making good things seem normal – not the about making the status quo seem good.

This world requires us to speak up and be ‘out’ about what we’re doing.

Here’s a disturbing thought: what if Asmaa has never done this video? What if she’d been to shy or scared? What if she’d never tossed out that spark? Do you see how different the world could have been?

And what if your work is this kind of a spark for another community. Perhaps not as dramatically. Perhaps not with as much global attention. But if you have a spark in your hand and you don’t give it to the world – there are many others who won’t move. Asmaa threw her spark. Millions moved. What we give to the world not only sets us free but can set them free as well.

Seven Marketing Lessons from the Egyptian Uprising

Lesson #1: Social Media is Powerful – The Egyptian government cut access to facebook very early in the uprising – because they saw what it could do. These days, when something strikes a chord, it is spread fast. And this is how word of mouth works with everything – business, personal or activism. People talk to each other and spread gossip.

Social media has given us a more powerful platform to do this. When this video hit, it was spread fast. All over Egypt. And it had an impact.

If your business, NGO or cause isn’t engaging deeply in social media – you may be missing out. You may be making it very hard for people to spread the word about what you do. Facebook events, online video, blog posts, tweets etc. are all incredibly easy for people to share with others. Make the good things you’re doing easy to share too.

Lesson #2: Speak to the Why – More powerful than her just talking about WHAT she is doing and HOW – she focuses on the WHY she is doing it. And repeats that again and again. When you can clearly articulate the why and uncover the point of view behind what you’re doing you will reach people in ways you never thought possible before.

Lesson #3: Be RealThis is a crap quality video. Let’s be real about that. It breaks all the rules of good online video. The lighting is okay, the quality is bad, she’s against a wall. Meh. Sometimes ‘high production values’ can actually hurt you. Don’t believe me? Imagine this same video being done Hollywood style – with her in make up, special effects etc. Don’t you feel how much less powerful that would be than he just sitting down and speaking from her heart with the web cam she has?

And she’s real about how she sees the situation. She calls her government and the security forces out as corrupt. Most entrepreneurs are terrified of taking that kind of stand – about anything. She’s 100% authentic.

Michael Drew (who’s put 67 out of 67 books he’s worked with on the NYT best seller list) argues that we are no longer in an economy that wants hype – we’re in a civic cycle that wants (and craves) people to be real with them.

Lesson #4: Speak to People’s Values – Ask yourself, ‘what’s most important to me and my crowd?’ Notice her appeal to men’s honour and dignity. Her appeal to have them come and protect her, ‘if you’re really a man’. She speaks to what matters most to them as people. She appeals to their values and gives them (fiercely) a chance to step into an even deeper integrity.

Lesson #5: Ask for Something – So many ads don’t make an offer. So many fundraisers don’t ask for the money. And here Asmaa is beautifully, shamelessly and powerfully asking them to come out on January 25th. She must repeat it a dozen times. She’s not coy about it. She’s to the point. She repeats it. Again and again. And then she ends with it.

If we want to change the world – we need to start asking. We need to not only start asking – but start asking big. We’ve gone far beyond the point of trying to lead a horse to the water to get him to drink – we’re now faced with the epic task of trying to lead entire herds of horses to the water.

Just educating people is not enough. Just speaking passionately about issues is not enough. We need to ask. We need to give people simple things they can start with. And how simple is her ask? Come join her protest. It’s not without risk – but it’s simple. It’s focused.

Lesson #6: She Voices Their Thoughts – She’s real with people about what else they might do and reminds them that those aren’t options. “Want to stay at home and watch this on the news?” she says. And you just KNOW that most of the people watching were thinking that. “Don’t think you’ll make a difference?” Any good copywriter will do this when they write an ad. They anticipate people’s concerns and speak to them directly. A good sales letter will read more like a conversation. A good author will do the same thing. It’s a more gracious and effective way of communicating to acknowledge you’re not speaking to a void. What are your people afraid of? What might stop them from doing something that could not only help them – but their community? Speak to that. People need reassurance that they will be safe – or at least that staying where they are is less safe than moving.

“And the day came when the risk to remain in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.”

– Anais Nin

Lesson #7: Tell a Story She starts this video off with a story of the last protest they did and how only three others came. She’s real about it. And the story is engaging. We need to get better at story telling. When people get passionate they tend to rant and lecture. But we need to tell stories that speak to people’s hearts.  That help them get back in touch with what’s most important and dear to them.

Asmaa Mahfouz recorded and posted this vlog on January 26th, after an eventful Tuesday on January 25th, the first day of the revolution. She describes what she saw and urges people to continue and join her after Friday prayers, on January 28th.

What other lessons do you think we can all learn from this?


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so you think you can build a snowfort?

One of my favourite people in Canada is Andrew McMartin of the PINE Project.

And he just shared with me a brilliant example of authentic Marketing 2.0, becoming a hub and community building: a cross Canada, snow fort building competition.

People are invited to submit pictures and a story to them () by Thursday evening at 9pm, and we’ll judge them all up based upon a variety of factors including:

  • Size and scope
  • Detail
  • Functionality
  • Creativity
  • Story associated

Consider the marketing benefits of something like this for the PINE Project.

  • it gives them super fun and amazing content to share on their blog
  • it helps them advance their own mission of getting people outdoors and reconnected to nature
  • instead of them selling TO people and doing a one directional marketing pitch – they’re engaging the community to do something together.
  • this exact event could be run annually, sponsors could be gotten etc. Done well, this event will grow every single year reaching people they would never have reached which will help them get more people to their events. Think about your own business – what are the things you get spontaneously inspired to do that others might actually enjoy doing too?

Ways this could be made even more amazing for next time:

  • get amazing prizes that this kind of crowd would love (if it’s an outdoorsy crowd – think MEC gift certificates/shopping spree, think free outdoorsy workshops, think ‘a weekend in a beautiful cabin in the mountains etc).
  • more advance notice – people never check their facebook event invitations. You need to have those things up 6-8 weeks before the event for it to be most useful.
  • create a kick ass poster that can be used as the photo for the facebook event
  • show photos of the best snowforts from last year
  • create a form where people can register their teams and create team names, choose a mascott etc. And down the road – they could have a competition in multiple cities run by local organizers and the website could handle team registration for them all too.
  • invite people to submit 2 minute videos of their fort and the creation process.
  • host a live snow fort competition at a local park and get media to come out to it. And film it and post it on the blog. Maybe even make it a multi day event so people don’t have to try to build it all in one day. Serve hot chocolate and have a bonfire to get warm at. The local, live competition is vital because most of the PINE Project’s workshops are local.
  • at the end of the competition send people the final report but also a special offer to attend one of their upcoming paid events.

For more info on the contest go to:


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the cool vegetarian blog

A nine minute video. I met Jeff Golfman almost 15 years ago in California.

We lost touch for a while but then got back in touch recently. He spoke about how he’d been raw vegan for so many years and I could feel his passion around it. He was looking to shift careeers but couldn’t figure out what or how. The threads he knew were fitness and the whole vegan and vegetarian world.

I suggested that he might start a blog and he made it clear that he didn’t want it to be another blog of recipes or the ‘science’ behind why a plant based, raw diet is better. The theme of having a great lifestyle kept coming through.

“So, create a blog about that.” I suggested. “And call it The Cool Vegetarian.” Watch the video below to see the results of this latest case study.

Jeff wasn’t sure exactly what a blog was or how to use it (if you need a primer on what a blog is just click here)

And, even better – go check out his site:


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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program