How to Win Friends & Influence People for Real

I guess we could just cut to the chase and say, “don’t be a d-bag, don’t be a beyotch,” but of course it goes way beyond that. (Good starting point, though!)fullsizerender-5

When I decided I needed a good ol’ kick in my party pants to get my own personal brand in order so I could help clients with theirs, I knew I wanted to start back up a podcast and I knew right away the first mentor & book I wanted to discuss: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Before I learned about Dale in my early 20s at my corporate gig as a marketing coordinator, I got my “start” in radio in high school and I did happen to get my degree in radio and TV at the University of Oklahoma, so, hey, folks, with my freshly frequent YouTube channel (latest video: STOP PLAYING SMALL) and my new podcast ONE BOW MANY ARROWS over on Soundcloud (and soon on iTunes when I figure it out), I’m feeling like I’m hitting a pace here. Why? I did for my own brand(s) what I do for yours – set an editorial calendar and guidelines and creative brief and marketing mix and BOOM! – here we are.

Putting your personal brand out there means connecting with people where THEY hang out with the media they prefer. For some, that’s reading, and others like video and even longer format podcasts.

Switching up your channels is a great way to get a shorter or longer message to the audience.

For VIDEO, I’m doing a Bow & Arrows themed message each week over on YouTube to discuss strategies to grow your personal brand and small biz. This week’s vid inspired by Glennon’s new book LOVE WARRIOR in which she was talking about people trying to keep you small/invisible. So I wanted to talk about the “voices” of people who believe they have your best interest…but they aren’t you and don’t know your truth.

Now to the PODCAST!

A podcast gives you as the host/messenger more time to discuss your message and relay STORIES. My first 12 episodes are book reviews in a half hour or less with my 5 GOLDEN ARROWS from each book. You can take a listen at Soundcloud for now...until I get the RSS feed up on iTunes. Leave a comment and share the podcast on social media and tag me @malenalott and you’ll be registered to win a copy of the book I’m reviewing in my first podcast, HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE IN THE DIGITAL AGE. Great freaking book. It was hard to just pick 5 lessons but each of them carry a lot of weight. Golden Arrow #1 is DEVELOP YOUR SOFT SKILLS.

What else?

Another format for sharing a message are workshops, and mine are 1.5 hours. For those in the OKC area, my next PERSONAL BRANDING POWER workshop is coming up so click through to read about it and register early for the discounted rate.

My home life has been just as busy, and I love this time of year. It’s homecoming week in my neck of the woods for my Pom daughter in high school and I have a big Alpha Chi Omega reunion to celebrate our Psi Centennial on the OU campus. If you follow me on social media, you’ll get to see all the fancy party pics and then game day pics as the Sooners take on #2 Ohio State. Wishing for a big win for my Sooners.

Also, coming soon are BOW & ARROW PJ STRATEGY SESSIONS! That’s a one-hour video session with me in the mornings certain days of the week so I can help entrepreneurs across the country with their branding and marketing questions. Super stoked about it. If you want to know about it before anyone else, use the form on my speaking page with what date/morning time you’d like (between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. CST time) and I’ll send you over the registration and confirmation.

I’m also adding MINI STYLE SESSIONS over at Sooner Spaces for OKC area folks who want a strategy session for their home or office space makeover OR a staging session if you are selling your home. I’ll be announcing that over on

Wow. Okay, time for the homecoming parade.

Onward xoxo,


Life Sucks or Rocks Based On This One Thing

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Martha Washington

The first First Lady is talking about attitude. It’s so easy to be miserable when life isn’t going our de16b590746cdae9a7300637a12c64adway – and happy when things are. But being cool when things get sticky…that’s the real test. I remember when I was especially stressed out at my ad agency back in my late 20s when I read, “I shall not let circumstances dictate my joy.” I tried really hard from then on to not let a bad situation define my mood and spoil the day. It is easy? Hell, no. But it DOES get easier with practice.

So what about other traits we need as the CEO of Our One Unique Life? As makers and entrepreneurs and managers, what do we need to possess to carry out our goals? In this week’s Bow & Arrows video, I share 6 traits of a great hunter – you hold the bow, friends, and the arrows our our choices, including how we react to whatever circumstance comes our way. By changing our behavior from the inside out, we can make these habits stick.

I look forward to seeing some of you next week for my next workshop, Hitting the Brand Bullseye. See the full list of workshops here and if you are seeking some branding help, message me to discuss. I’m already seeing some really cool things come out of this program, so I’m thrilled we’re creating this tribe to aim for greatness together.

xoxo Ready. Aim. Grow.

Are You the Little Brand That Could?

When I was brainstorming ideas for a branding book, the story of the little engine that could kept coming to mind. Every aspect of building the train, creating the journeys, getting passengers and making the tough journey Imagedespite the odds all seemed very relevant. I’ve personally witnessed and assisted more than 150 little brands with strategy and campaigns, from start-from-scratch branding to overhaul projects of 100 year old companies.

Every brand does have a unique story, but some things remain the same: finding your different/better/special and working to uphold that positioning within the community and the marketplace and winning your customers over and over again. Brand loyalty (becoming a lovemark) requires work just like a real-life romantic relationships or friendship. It must be earned. In the book, we’ll discuss branding and marketing topics from the engine to the caboose and everything in between. In using the train analogy, many concepts should stick sooner, which is why stories and imagery works so well in branding any product.

What should your train look like? Where do you want to take it? Why will others choose your train over the others? How will people find out about it? What will make the experience a pleasant one for passengers that will get them to buy a future ticket? Not only will the book be chock-full of tips, but also ask some important questions that will help steer your brand in the right direction from the future and help stay focused, “on track” against the many obstacles in our path. A big concern for little brands is budget. If I only have X in my pocket, how do I know Y is the right way to spend it to market my brand? I’ll discuss various scenarios on testing advertising and marketing channels to determine if you are hitting your target market and how to analyze the campaign to make improvements in the future.

If you own a small business or work with small businesses, and would to be an early reader for The Little Brand That Could, message me at malenalott (at) me (dot) com.

The Swinging Vine Brand Theory

With five back-to-back and two simultaneous releases at Buzz Books this fall and a busy caseload on the branding front, I’ve been thinking about Discoverability and Action. You can’t have one without the other, but what surprises companies and authors the most is just how MUCH action is takes to get traction. I got an email from an author yesterday sharing how disappointed she was in not getting return emails from people she’s pitching and reaching out to. I assured her it’s totally normal. Emails fall into a similar camp as direct mail. Yes, the intended target may “see” your name, but that doesn’t mean they’ll open it. Open rates in email marketing can be abysmal, even if the content goes by the rule of thumb to ask an engaging question or use the “top 5” list method. If you’re at 30% open rate, consider yourself blessed. If they actually click on the links within the email, kiss your own hand. It’s tough to get and maintain people’s attention.

Each week I do a social media report for one of my clients (and I should do one for myself, but it’s the Cobbler’s Shoes thing), and I see the spreadsheet not as rows and columns but as Swinging Vines. Your brand is the monkey in the tree. Let’s say your products are bananas on that tree, but all the other monkeys have bananas on their trees, too, so you have some stiff competition. And maybe you’re at a disadvantage because your tree isn’t next to the beach like some of the other trees. How do you ensure your message gets out there?


Swinging vines are all the ways you are connecting with your audience. And the way that you communicate with them will vary based on the delivery and purpose of the channel. You’ll be funny with quips. You’ll be serious with statistics. You’ll be friendly with responses. You’ll be kind with RTs and Shares. But if you’re doing all those on one channel, you could be missing a bunch of monkeys who aren’t fond of that vine.

This is the tale of Reach and Frequency, certainly – you want your vines to reach the most people you can with a frequency that they will see your messages multiple times – but so many vines just hang there. A hanging vine is not communicating anything or spreading buzz about your brand. And if a vine swings at you but you don’t send it back, you’ve lost that opportunity. That’s the engagement piece of swinging vine theory.

As I’ve posted previously, you don’t want to be a cranky monkey and you want to be seen as an expert in your field, but most of all you have to be an active monkey. Even though you’ve petered out of talking about your brand – and engaging others – by Friday, that’s the day social media is on fire. And just when you feel you’ve spent your last dollar on advertising, that’s just when you’ve gotten the monkeys’ attention so you can’t stop now. You have to keep telling them, switching up your story enough to make it interesting and new and forging on with more swinging vines.

Here are the Swinging Vines I use for my business clients:

  • print ads
  • web ads
  • TV ads
  • Radio ads
  • Monthly e-newsletter
  • brochures
  • events
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • tumblr blog
  • WordPress blog
  • Pinterest
  • Letters and postcard direct mail
  • PR (preferably setting up lunches and live pitches)

And what about for the author monkeys out there? At Buzz Books, we rely heavily on social media because we have a small budget, but we do invest in Facebook ad campaigns (you’re only charged when they click), galley promotions (printing and mailing books to reviewers) and event marketing (posters, PR and the event costs itself) and web ads.  We do bookmarks with the newest title releases to send to reviewers, take to events and give to our authors to pass out. It’s useful. It’s shiny. Here’s the latest one.

But even though there aren’t as many Swinging Vines for the author, the hope is that the publisher does some, the author does some and then the readers take that vine and swing it out to their audience, too. Getting shares, mentions, interactions – it all contributes to the total reach and effectiveness of your efforts, whether it was time or money that you invested. Additional Swinging Vines for authors could include:

  • writing organizations (you can find online and in real life in nearly every city and every genre)
  • participating in group blogs in addition to managing your own
  • guest blogging
  • actively commenting and networking on forums and writer blogs (I like Writing on the Ether and Writer Unboxed)

So what are you swinging (not slinging) for your brand?


Castle & Quill Novel Prep Academy is just a month away (in OKC). I’m nervous and excited. Thrilled YA author Tara Hudson will be joining us along with debut crime novelist Lucie Smoker and our own comedian Heather Davis, whose travel essays debuted this week (TMI Mom Bites the Big Apple). We’re giving away a Kindle at C&Q, too so if you know any writers in OK/TX/KS, send them our way. We’re going to prep the hell out of that novel.

Also nervous/pumped about the release of Something Wicked. Big contest happening starting Monday and a trick or treat blog tour. f you like Halloween, you’ll want to check it out. And the stories are age appropriate for 11+ but you may certainly read it first and then share with your kiddos if you have them.

If YOU have a blog, I’d love to be a guest in November as I increase my Swinging Vines for the launch of Something New.