Despicable People

trust me I'm lying

What’s it about?
Trust Me, I’m Lying is written by a PR guy (who used to work for American Apparel, amongst others) to describe how he used blogs and everyone’s need to be first with the news to manipulate stories. It was written a few years ago, and I  feel like there’s more skepticism out there now; and even Gawker has moved away from its bonus to writers based on their page views.

Why should you read it? 
Because, even though some bits of it are slightly outdated, there’s still a lot there about how the world of online news works. Blogs with big audiences watch smaller news sources for stories, and it’s unclear to me how much fact-checking is going on. I do think audiences are more discriminating – but maybe that’s just wishful thinking. If you are trying to get started in marketing, I wouldn’t suggest the shock tactics he uses, but reaching out to smaller blogs and basically writing the story for them? It’s not a bad way to begin.

Marketing Guidelines

non-profit marketing guide

What’s it about? 
The title says what it’s about: how to market your non-profit organization. It hits online hard, but I was also happy to read about different audiences: donors, volunteers, and the people you’re helping. All are important.

Why should you read it?
Well, are you marketing a non-profit or a small business? Are you trying to get some message out into the world? The Non-Profit Marketing Guide has great tips on things like content calendars and social networks and how to craft a story in three paragraphs. Not to mention that hope is an emotion that gets people to donate. Fear works too, but people get tired of fear – hope creates long-lasting support for your cause. Overall, it’s a book full of tips. Definitely a professional book, not a for-fun book.

How to market your idea

made to stick


What’s it about?
Made to Stick is a book about how to get people to remember your idea. The authors presume that the idea is about your company or your cause or a product you make or your marketing message. They posit that there are six things you need to make your idea sticky (e.g., get people to remember it): simplicity, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and it has to tell a story. They give examples and go into detail about what each criteria means.

Why should you read it?
This is actually a re-read. That’s right, Made to Stick is a business book I went back and read again. I’ve been doing a lot of communications work in my volunteer causes – email newsletters, websites, the like – and I wanted to refresh my memory on their criteria to guide me through some of my own writing and presentation. How should we talk about fully funding public education? How should we ask people for money? How should we portray our programs? I remembered it being helpful, but I needed a refresh. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s marketing a small business or organization.