Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's easy to be average....

I was listening to a Lee Milteer CD (Lee is a motivational speaker and coach) in the car today- Success Self-Programming . I listen to this program every couple of months. It was the first motivational CD (tape back then) I ever listened to and I still enjoy it 25 years later.

On the CD, Lee says something that has always stuck with me: "It's so easy to be average."

Just think about that for a minute.

She goes on to say that 80% of the people out there do very little to become better at what they do professionally, and probably very little to improve themselves in any facet of their lives.

I agree, but I think her percentages are low. I think it is more like 90%+.

I always have educational and motivational CDs in the car and in the office. I am usually reading 2-3 books (usually at least 2 business books and a novel). And I love brainstorming with my business peers. I also write frequently on my blogs and social networks, especially LinkedIn. And I read the feedback.

What are you doing to excel today?

And if you want to check out Lee's programs- go here:

One more thought on this. In the April 2011 Reader's Digest there is an article entitled Get Hired, not Fired. It has lots of tips for job interviews and Dilbert(tm) cartoons. One of those cited in the article said a common question during a job interview is "what personal and professional development have you been engaged in outside the workplace over the past year?"

Can you answer that question in a way that will help you get or keep your job?

Food for thought....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


While we have all heard that a certain type of profiling is bad, I am here to tell you about a type of profiling that can pay you some real time dividends.

You social media profile is often your first face forward to the rest of the world, that all important “first impression” your Mom told you was so important (I wish I listened sooner!).

Whether you are positioning yourself for a new job, trying to create some leads for your company, or looking to make some good connections, a powerful profile is your best online asset.

So how do you get there?

I have a few ideas, and then I hope you will share some ideas of your own. As Ken Blanchard wrote, and often says, “All of us is smarter than one of us!”

Idea 1: Don’t be shy about borrowing ideas from OPP – other people’s profiles. Look around whenever you have time and make some notes. Write them down, don’t try to remember them. That rarely works. Look at recognized industry leader profiles, and people who seem to attract lots of attention on the social network of your preference – anyone. You will see elements you like and elements you don’t like. For elements you like, emulate them if you can. For elements you don’t like, make sure you are not doing the same. For example, this paragraph is already too long. I should make it two or three paragraphs to make it easier to read.

Idea 2: Get a good photo for your profile. I hate photos where people look bored or otherwise distracted, or worse, when it looks like a bad high school photo. If you are going to use a photo like that, hang a number around your neck and do a frontal shot, then a side shot.  Get a good photo to use – and don’t put up a picture of your pet.

Idea 3: Put something new on your profile on a regular basis. On LinkedIn this keeps you in front of your network. On LinkedIn it doesn’t have to be your profile. Participation in groups shows up on the right side of your profile, along with questions answered and other activity.

Idea 4: Now it’s your turn, so share a few thoughts!

Monday, March 14, 2011

To migrate up the visibility ladder, you need to define an area of expertise

To truly stand out in a crowd, you need to define your personal value proposition, the intellectual capital you bring to the party. Define your area of expertise honestly, then work hard at being among the best in it.

The narrower the niche, the more likely it is that you can stand out. If you have a broader "area of expertise" there is a higher likelihood it will be crowded with authors, speakers, etc with higher name recognition. The more crowded the niche is, the harder it is to stand out.

My main area of expertise is marketing to the government. This is how I make my living. While this may seem like a broad area, I was early in staking my claim (I started my business in 1985). I established my claim early and have worked hard to maintain it.

Over the years I have had to find multiple ways (speaking, writing, joining, etc) to promote myself in order to keep the pipeline full - and hence have developed a skill in self-promotion.

There are several venues where you can start to define your area of expertise. The most visible ones are social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook (this blog has groups at each, please join!). You should have already done this on you own web site if you have one, but social networks are where many go first to look at the credentials of others.

So start there. look at some of the profiles of those you are connected with to get some ideas for making your profile stand out.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stand out in any crowd!

If you need publicity for any project- fund raising, raising awareness for a cause, your garage sale, book promotion, school play, event promotion, business promotion, radio show promotion, promoting your talent as a speaker or consultant - you need to iunderstand how to get the attention of those you need to reach without bothering them. The tactics we will discuss on this blog can apply to BtoC, BtoB, and BtoG - simply select the tactics that will work best in your niche or for your project.

Different needs require different tactics.

This involves many steps, and in future blog posts we will be discussing many of those, hopefully with your input.

We will identify great sources for each aspect of what you might be looking for: books, blogs, web sites, audio programs, seminars and webinars, and much more. I will also ask some successful people from my personal network to contribute some guest blog posts to illustrate how they stand out and get publicity.

My name is Mark Amtower and the cartoon above is a caricature of me from my 2nd book, Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes ( The cartoon is by my friend Dave McCoy ( and it fits the theme of this blog.

My area of expertise is business-to-government marketing, where I am a nationally recognized expert.

But what do I know about self promotion?

I have been getting traditional press (interviews, quotes, profiles) since 1994 and have been mentioned in more than 150 publications worldwide. I have also been interviewed over 50 times on the radio, though only once (so far) on television. I was also profiled in Entrepreneur magazine in July 2006. And in 2009 I was selected by BtoB Magazine as one of the Top 100 business marketers in the country.

I have written three books, authored over 100 articles for various  business publications, spoken at over 200 events(breakout sessions, lunch speeches and keynotes), and have been quoted in about 10 business books.

Many people know me through my activity on social networks, especially LinkedIn.

So I have received a fair amount of publicity. And I am here to tell you that it does not happen on its own.
It requires work on your part if you really want to stand out in any crowd.

If you know me from LinkedIn, you might want to take a look at this-

Stay tuned!

Mark Amtower
B2G consultant, author, speaker, LinkedIn Black Belt
Co-Director of the Government Market Master program at George Mason University

Host, "Amtower Off Center" Monday at noon on Federal News Radio, WFED 1500 AM; simulcast and archived at