Dale Carnegie

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

The automation of fake sincerity destroys your credibility. Can we agree on that? Whether you're dating or trying to influence a new customer, fake sincerity is deadly stuff. Yet mainstream social selling (marketing) software roars forward — violating LinkedIn's terms and conditions, and every ounce of what Dale Carnegie taught us about winning friends and influencing people.

Where can you go for the best tips on direct response copywriting? Brian Kurtz, executive vice president of Boardroom Inc., rattled off a lot of good advice during his keynote presentation, "Dinosaurs & Cowboys: Direct Marketing Secrets Every Marketer Needs to Know Whether You Are Selling Online, Offline or Both." One of the points he covered was a list of best, most enlightening books of copywriting. We didn't have a chance to show you the list during the keynote, but here they are

Have you ever left a comment on a blog? How do you feel when the author replies? As we’re all ushered into this age of social media, each and every one of us is looking for ways to form stronger relationships with our audience, especially with current and potential customers. There are many ways to discuss how to cultivate and build relationships. I want to focus on blog comments—an often poorly understood and very underutilized tactic by individuals and businesses.

This is not about politics or policy. It’s about process—an exercise in public relations and communication that directly applies to every organization—a one-person entrepreneurship, CEOs of a small business or a giant corporation all the way up to the President of the United States.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has botched myriad PR opportunities and come up the big loser in the court of public opinion.

Quite simply, it is imperative to have a system in place to recognize a public relations crisis and deal with it—a plan that can be implemented immediately. Not tomorrow. Not after the weekend. Now! In his seminal book, “Guerrilla P.R. 2.0,” Michael Levine writes:

One of the single most important points to keep in mind when facing a negative situation of your own is to follow the old dictum: The best defense is a good offence. You must never go on the defensive. By anticipating negative questions you can stand ready with positives.

Levine adds, “There are two speeds in modern P.R.—fast and dead.”

Too many CEOs—Barack Obama included—do not understand the art and science of public relations. PR is too important to be handled by well-meaning amateurs.

It’s not good when the face of your organization has egg on it.

Our Relationship Begins When You Tell Me a Story! This past November, I flew to New York City for the Silver Apple Award ceremony. My friend Murray Miller of American Express was among the individuals being honored, and my friends at Boardroom/Bottom Line received the Corporate Apple Award. After each award, the honoree said a few words, well actually a lot of words, which is OK with me. It struck me, as it does every year at the Apples, that long-time direct marketers all seem to be great storytellers. I think that’s one reason the ceremony always is packed. We like hearing their tales

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