Where I Get My Cause News (and Everything Else for That Matter)

Screen shot 2013-01-08 at 10.03.28 AM

Screen shot 2013-01-08 at 10.03.28 AM

Today, on Razoo I posted 3 Steps to Using Twitter to Gather Nonprofit News. The post has a good list of cause marketing resources if you're upping your commitment to following cause marketing news and trends in 2013.

But man does not live by cause alone. I learn a lot from reading the tweets of people in different fields and industries. Here are the people I follow on Twitter that cross-pollinate my writing and ideas.

@GeoffLiving: I think I get more links and new people to follow from Geoff than anyone else. Mobile, social media, tech, writing, rants, cross-dressing - Geoff has it all!

@AdviceToWriters: Even with two books under my belt, I call myself a blogger, not a writer. I have a long way to go to earn that distinction. But the daily tidbits from @AdviceToWriters inspire me to keep trying.

@DanBlank: He's helping me and others build our author platform - one tweet at a time.

@BevNetCraven: John Craven is a beverage guru who's showing me the ins and outs of his industry, and its connection to cause marketing.

@CNet: Tech news for techie wannabes like me.

@JonahLupton: Startup guy and entrepreneur who's teaching me the biz!

@BigGuyD: Don Martelli is teaching me everything I need to know about public relations, digital strategy, tech and life in general.

@SEOSEM: Jeff Selig is my go-to source for anything related to SEO - or anything else I don't understand.

@PeteWright: Podcast and video genius. I'm hoping he can make me sound and look better in 2013. He's going to need all the support he can get.

@JasonFalls: I've learned a ton from Jason on Digital Strategy. No bullshit or pulled punches.

@DStevenWhite: Steve's a professor somewhere in New England. Great tweets on mobile technology.

@JeffWiedner: Full-time tree hugger. Jeff's teaching me how to save the world.

@JohnHaydon: Facebook and social media genius. My twal since I joined Twitter!

@TheRichBooks: He's the guy that got me onto Twitter in the first place! For you, he's a Mainer with great advice on digital marketing. He's kind of funny too.

@UQRme: If I have any questions about QR Codes, or anything else that links the digital world to the physical world, I ask these guys.

@JohnAgular: John always has great stuff on blogging.

This is my list of good people to follow on Twitter. Who's on yours?

Forget #GivingTuesday. Want to Save the World? Send a Tweet

Next month marks my fifth anniversary on Twitter. I feel like I owe a lot to the humble tweet. It's helped me find more readers for my blog. I've learned a lot about social media and cause marketing. I've even made some great friends on Twitter - some of whom I've actually met.

Every tweet calls for words that are clear, direct, active and short. The practice has spilled over into my writing and blogging, to my public speaking and even to my PowerPoint slides.

Not everyone agrees that Twitter is a positive force in modern language. The actor Ralph Fiennes has complained that Twitter has all but ruined language and laments "a world of truncated sentences." Others like Bill Keller have concluded that Twitter makes us forgetful and just sound dumb.

Even if we concede that Bill and Ralph are right - which I don't think they are - the situation outside of Twitter is far, far worse, and is a greater threat to the English language.

Sadly, the people I generally work with, marketing and communication professionals who should be word ninjas, and nonprofits that should be testing the limits of humanizing language, are the worse offenders.

A marketing executive said last week that a company had "differentiated [itself] from the competition and given it an edge to communicating brand values during the holidays and amid a struggling economy.” At 146 characters, this sentence would not have survived the Twitter word grinder. Perhaps a better, clearer alternative is "The business has stood out over the holidays because it did the right thing for people stuck in a terrible job market." [118 characters, a better length for retweeting on Twitter].

Bloated language is similar to highly processed fast foods with their chemicals and miscellaneous animal parts: you can't call it real food. And like our poor food choices, these words don't nourish, feed or fill us. They're empty calories, and leave our readers and listeners unsatisfied.

Thankfully, Twitter is the farmer's market of language. Selection is limited, but everything is home grown and good for you.

Twitter's character limit keeps me focused on what I call Famous Last Words (FLW), the one thing you want your reader to remember more than anything else. It's just one or two sentences and there is little or no room for adjectives. Nouns and verbs do the work. And you have to play with the words to convey your meaning in the limited space. You have to cut, tighten and swap to get it right. 140 characters is a sentence scythe.

You may think that most people don't spend much time fixing their tweets. Think again. Twitter doesn't give you much of a choice.

Try it for yourself. Sign up for a Twitter account, type in a sentence or two as you would in any normal email and hit the send button. It will go nowhere because you're over the character limit. Now go back and edit the tweet so it's fewer than 140 characters but still says something. Congratulations, you have a FLW.

Before you hit the send button, read it one more time. What do you see? Nouns and verbs. Few or no adjectives and adverbs. Words that have Anglo-Saxon, not Latin, origin. Lastly, your tweet reflects your awareness that anyone can read it so you better not sound stupid.

Now you're ready to send a second tweet. Don't worry. You'll improve quickly.

The 19th century American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said of his writing, "I am a rocket manufacturer." Each of his sentences speaks to the reader independent of the sentence before or aft. Emerson would have been a natural on Twitter.

You probably won't be, as least not to start. But soon you'll be tweeting like a pro and writing and speaking better too. And whether it's marketing a new product, leading a company in difficult times or inspiring people to support a cause, more rocket makers are just what the world needs.

CauseTalk Radio Ep17: Causepreneur Jonah Lupton on New Start-Up Cauzly

Today on Cause Talk Radio, we chat with cause-preneur Jonah Lupton about his new business Cauzly.com.

A serial entrepreneur, Jonah shares his insights on starting a cause businesses and the unexpected - yet rewarding - challenges. He also talks about his prolific tweeting, how it benefits his business and how you can grow your own following to rival his - over 200,000 strong!

Why I Don't Follow Your Nonprofit or You on Twitter

I have a lover affair with Twitter. But it has too end. So sorry, Twitter. I give you way too much time and attention. I have a business to build and can't give you more time than you deserve.

Of course, Twitter isn't the real problem. It's not where I hang out that's the issue. It's all the people I meet there with their yummy conversations, insights and links.

I've learned a ton on Twitter, and I get most of my blog post ideas from Twitter too. But sometimes I feel like I'm looking through the dictionary for just the right word when what I really need is a thesaurus. In short, I think I'm using Twitter the wrong way.

The first step in my rehabilitation was to do something Chris Brogan did back in September: I unfollowed everyone on Twitter.

I have to admit I felt liberated as I unfollowed people. But then I felt anxious, and only felt better as I added people back. Phew.

I had a criteria in mind as I hit that follow button.

  • I followed friends.
  • I followed people that were leaders in cause marketing and social media.
  • I followed people that I communicate with via direct message.
  • I followed people that tweet awesome stuff - even if we never talk.
  • I followed people that tweet a lot.
  • I followed people that showed up in my "Mentions" column on Tweetdeck
  • I followed people whose tweets I "favorite" for later reading.

I didn't follow back people that

  • I felt obligated to follow. Yep, few of them still left.
  • I followed in another way - on Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS - that is a better way to communicate with them.
  • Weren't people. I try not to follow brand handles...or anyone with an animal for an avatar. If the best picture of you is your cat, I already know too much about you.
  • Didn't tweet a lot.The last factor has always been an important one for me. If you don't tweet a lot you won't show up in my stream and I won't think to further investigate your tweets. I've noticed that the first thing I look at in someone's Twitter profile is how many tweets they have.

You might be asking why I don't use Twitter lists more. I never have. It doesn't seem to make sense. You're either following someone or you're not. They either have the goods you want or they don't. I don't need another list to scroll through or to ignore because I don't want to appear impolite.

I did create a couple more keyword columns to monitor topics of interest. I've always had columns for "cause marketing", "#causemarketing", and, since I started writing QR Codes for Dummies, "qr codes". I also added "nonprofit mobile", and for this week "#12ntc" and "innogive" so I can follow the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco.

The hazard of the latter two columns is I'm finding some great new Twitter followers. I'm trying to tread carefully.

One thing my experiment had in common with Brogan's was the surprising reaction some people had to being unfollowed. It made me laugh!



I even got a few emails from people asking if I was "Ok."

Yeah, I'm okay. Now scram. I'm busy....Um, but tweet me later, OK?

10 Cause Marketers You Should Follow on Twitter (Plus 20 More)

I love Twitter. There's a certain magic to Twitter. So interesting. So fast. So current. So informative....So short, just 140 characters.

I've learned a lot about cause marketing on Twitter, and now I want to my fantastic teachers with you!

My criteria for picking them.

I chose real people as much as possible. For me, Twitter is all about talking to people, not logos or brands or billboards.

They tweet, a lot. There's a big difference between being on twitter and being active on Twitter. The Twitter handles I chose, especially in my top ten list, are on Twitter every day. There are many, many other people I could recommend, but they're just not active enough and you would be, well, disappointed. And I can't have that.

Cause marketing is a focus. But not the only focus. Chris Noble talks about his other business in China. Noland Hoshino is always bragging about how much he goes to the Gym. In short, don't expect talk about cause marketing 24/7. Two of my picks aren't even cause marketers, but they represent the future of cause marketing both in social media and location-based services.

Follow them and multiply. The good thing about all these people is that when you follow them they will lead you to many, many more new followers.

If you're not on the list. I have a pretty narrow understanding of what cause marketing is and I'm pretty active in the cause space and on Twitter. I like to think that if you're in cause marketing and on Twitter I probably know about you. Maybe you don't tweet enough. Tweeting too little is like knowing how to read but choosing not to: a terrible waste.

Here are my top ten tweeps.


Steve Drake is an expert in cause marketing for associations. His signature program Trees for Troops has delivered thousands of trees to U. S. troops around the country and around the world. Steve shares his insights on his blog Causeaholic and 501 Connect.

Noland Hoshino

Noland is a passionate cause marketer who is CEO and Co-Founder of [B]Cause Social Media Communications in Portland. He's on the cutting edge of cause marketing and social media--when he isn't volunteering and dressing up like a cow for his favorite charity Heifer International!

Chris Noble

Chris is what every cause marketer wants to be when he or she grow up. He's talented. He's worked with some of the biggest names in business. He's raised millions for causes. (Yeah, I admire the guy). The four brands of his company Kompolt, WhatGives!, StudioGood and Patron are cause leaders. And you can learn about them all by following Chris!

John Haydon

John is not a cause marketer, but he's an excellent cause marketing follow on Twitter. Here's why. John is an expert in social media for nonprofits--especially Facebook--which is becoming increasingly important for cause marketers. When John does come across a topic that's relevant to cause marketers, he connects the dots.

Megan Strand

Megan is the blogger at Incouraged. She's also Director of Communications for Cause Marketing Forum, the leading organization for cause marketers. She's the leading woman behind its website, blog, newsletter and twitter handle.

Realized Worth

Chris Jarvis works on the employee engagement side of cause marketing helping companies connect with communities through volunteering & social media.

Geoff Livingston

Geoff isn't a practicing cause marketer, but he has excellent insights on cause marketing, its contribution to society and how it intersects with social media. He also is connected with some very smart people like Beth Kanter.

Scott Henderson

Scott blogs at RallytheCause.com and has been involved in several high-profile campaigns, including Pledge to End Hunger which helped Tyson Foods deliver 560,000 meals to four different cities for children in need and raised $28,000 for Share Our Strength. Last year, he and his team at CauseShift launched We Can End This, a yearlong initiative to spark innovation and create real, tangible solutions to end hunger in America. Scott also enjoys cheese.

Mike Schneider

Mike helps battle cancer each year by growing a mustache and raising money during "Movember". The rest of the year, Mike is one of the smartest guys I know on location-based services and marketing. That might be why Wiley Publishing chose him and another location-based pro Aaron Strout to write Location-Based Marketing for Dummies. From reading my blog you know that LBM will be a key area of focus for cause marketers in the years ahead.

Cone LLC

Think of this one as me recommending a bunch of great people, instead of just one. Cone is a leading cause marketing agency based in Boston that was founded by the "mother of cause marketing" Carol Cone. Cone tweets insights and research on cause marketing. Combine their tweets with their weekly newsletter and blog and you can brag to people that you're wicked smart about cause marketing.

Okay, here are 20 more cause marketing twitter handles to follow.

Jocelyne Daw. The author of a couple great books on cause marketing. She doesn't tweet a lot, but when she does she's got some great things to say. She also understands what a lot of people misunderstand about Twitter. It's for talking, not broadcasting.

Carol Cone. What can I say, she's the "Mother of Cause Marketing."

Doug Weinbrenner. Doug is a Kansas City based cause marketer with ad agency Premier Studios, where he works with nonprofit, public health and CSR. He's also a delusional Kansas City Chiefs fan. Could be worse: at least he's not a Royals fan.

TweetCMF. The cause marketing handle for Cause Marketing Forum, the leading organization for cause marketers.

3BLmedia. 3BL tweets the latest in Cause Marketing News.

GoodConcepts. Brian Powell is a Dallas-based cause marketer who is the managing director of cause marketing agency Patron.

BrighterCause. Led by two talented strategists, Mindy and Megan, Brighter World Cause Marketing is a cause marketing and copywriting consultancy.

Paul Jones. The blogger behind CauseMarketing.biz. I wish Paul would tweet more. But if you follow him you'll be sure never to miss one of his excellent posts!

Sponsorpitch. Not cause marketing, but a close relative: sponsorship. A worthy follow.

MCCaliber. Maureen Carlson is a very talented cause marketer who started the cause marketing program at City of Hope Hospital and now works with hospitals nationwide to build successful cause marketing programs.

Philips McCarty. Phil started the Thanks and Giving program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He's the managing director of Cause Innovation, a cause consultancy, and works with some of the biggest causes in the country.

OKL. Olivia Khalili writes the blog Cause Capitalism, which teaches businesses how to incorporate a social mission.

Mike Swenson. Of all the cause marketing agencies out there, I think Mike is probably the most senior cause marketer that's active on Twitter. His Kansas City company, Barkley, has executed some major cause marketing campaigns, including Lee National Denim Day.

Holt Murray. My cause marketing colleague at the hospital. A great cause marketer who also knows a great deal about the Boston sports scene and clip art.

Sarah Kerkian. Sarah is Insights Supervisor for Cone. This means she researches, writes and analyzes all things cause marketing. A great resource.

DaveCause. David Hessekiel is President of Cause Marketing Forum.

Katya Anderson. Katya is author of Robin Hood Marketing.

IEG. All things sponsorship with some tweets on cause marketing.

Sharna Fulton. Hyper-local cause marketing at its best. No one does it better than Sharna!

Join Red. Product Red is pure-play cause marketing. If you're in to cause marketing you gotta see red.

Who else would you add to my list?

My Twitter Policy: How You Can Join "The 200"

I spend a lot of time on Twitter. It may not be the home base that my blog is, but it's certainly where I hang out. And as a hangout it's more like a speakeasy because the crowd is limited, just over 200 followers. That's because I really want to get to know the people I follow and to learn from them. I never understood how you could do this following 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 people. A couple hundred seems just about right.

But that doesn't mean I follow people forever. I add and drop people every day. But the ones that stick around share certain qualities.

They have something to teach. Whether it is cause marketing, social media, philanthropy, public speaking or SEO, they are all experts in their respective areas. They are original thinkers--not just rehashing other people's stuff--and are the ones others retweet.

They tweet, a lot. The first thing I check when I get a new follower is how many tweets they have. If they don't tweet a lot I conclude two things. Either they don't have a lot to say or what they do have to say I'll miss because their lone tweet will get lost in my stream. Either way, I won't follow them back.

They talk to me. I know this should be expected on Twitter, but I'm always amazed how many people happily spend their days tweeting away but don't even try to talk to most of their followers--even when they're asked a question. The people I follow talk to me and I talk to them. We encourage each other, argue, help each other out and, thankfully, they put up with my jokes and sarcasm.

So, it's really quite simple to find a spot for yourself in The 200. Be an expert in a field I want to learn more about, be an original thinker and be a prolific and engaging tweeter.

The good news is that even if you're not all these things you're probably showing up in my Twitter stream in one way or another. First, use Twitter search a lot and have an ongoing search on "Cause Marketing." If you mention those two words in your tweet, I'll definitely see it. Second, I also have a lot of faith in the wisdom and power of crowds to drive great content to the top of my Twitter stream. In short, if you're tweeting good stuff, I'll see it. If you're doing it consistently, it won't be long before I'm following your tweets.

Of course, we all have hesitations and turn-offs that incline us to follow one person and not another. Here are mine.

Geography is important. I'm very provincial. I tend to follow New Englanders over New Yorkers, easterners more than westerners and Americans instead of foreigners. So if you're Yankee's fan living in Japan who grew up in California, I hope you understand.

I don't follow animals. I will not follow a cat, a dog, a pot-belly pig, a unicorn or Scooby Doo avatar. I want to talk to a human being and I prefer to see your smiling face as your avatar.

Auto DM's suck. It just screams "amateur" to me and someone who doesn't get the purpose of social media. I unfollow usually, but not always.

Twitter is by my far my favorite social media tool. I've met some great people. And I look forward to meeting more. My policy helps me meet the right people. Do you have a policy when it comes to Twitter? I'd love to hear about it. You never know, I just might follow you back. ;)