No.13 / March 19, 2006

The Corporate Muse


Hello and welcome once again to The Corporate Muse. This month we've included a guest speaker, and as promised a section on networking in the marketing portion of the newsletter. We hope you enjoy it. As always, we'd love to hear from you.  Send your comments to:




Act Like A Figure Skater


Did you watch the Olympics this year? I only managed to catch the long program of the women's figure skating.


The American hopeful, Sasha Cohen, fell twice during her warm-up session. As I watched, I tried to envision how she must have felt as the world saw her feet slip out from under her and she crashed to the ice. In my imagination, her confidence was shaken and she came back into the arena a little less sure of herself than she'd been after her near flawless skate on February 21st.


In an article by Bryce Miller of the Des Moines Register, Sasha's cited as saying, "(After struggling in warm-ups), it's kind of hard to feel like you're getting tours at Disneyland."


That was evident when she began the four-minute routine appearing a bit unsteady and joyless. Early in the program, she attempted a triple lutz and fell. She picked herself up, skated onward only to flounder on her next jump, a triple flip. Placing her hands on the ice, she kept herself from complete disaster.


Then something miraculous happened. Sasha began skating differently. She held her head high. She smiled. Her poise re-emerged. She landed a triple loop, a triple flip, a triple toe and two triple salchows. No one, not even the gold medal winner, Shizuka Arakawa, had accomplished more.


Her quick recovery moved her into second place. As a result, she took home the silver medal. Though many writings cited her disappointment, there's something to be said about her overall performance. At the bleakest point, she turned a possible defeat into triumph.


In her excellent article, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post quotes Sasha, "I was able to take one step at a time. I was able to believe when everything looked a little dark and gray." 


How she regained her composure, may also be defined in her statement to Katie Couric on the Today Show. "I'm well-trained. I've been working on myself as an athlete and it kicked in. I was able to pull it back together and keep fighting."


A few nights later, flaunting her silver medal, Sasha told Ellen DeGeneres, "You have to enjoy the experience." Maybe that above all is the key.


I've seen this phenomenon before in skaters and other athletes. When all seems lost, they rise victorious. As if the mere thought of, "nothing left to lose," spurs them to greatness.


In the business world, we face many moments of doubt and discouragement. A time when a preferred client drops out of sight for no apparent reason. Or a deal you've been counting on falls through. Or a vendor raises prices with no warning. There are so many things that can go wrong when you run a business.


It's in these flashes of discouragement that things get tough. That's when we're confronted with our own reactions to the trials. We've all been taught; it's how we respond to a problem that truly matters.


Little Sasha Cohen was faced with the reality of not bringing home the gold. I wonder if I'd been in her shoes, would I have thrown in the towel? Realize I'd lost and just quit trying? She could have done that, but she didn't. Instead, she plucked herself from the ice and ended her program with elegant grace.


She skated her heart out. In the end, she mouthed to her coach, "I tried," and removed her red mini-dress, because she didn't even think she'd placed.


When push comes to shove. When you watch your dreams shatter on the ice. How do you react? Do you give in to disillusion and give up? Or do you stand tall and skate as if you have nothing to lose?


I'm often guilty of the former, but a 21-year-old champion figure skater makes me want to change my tune.


Next time your world crushes beneath you, think of Sasha. I know I will. (SKC)


(Further reading:;;  


   © QuickSilver Copywriters 2006 -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:




If you've seen the movie The Wedding Crashers, then you've witnessed a perfect example of network marketing in action. Although John and Jeremy were scammers whose only purpose was to bed women, their technique was impeccable.


Instead of initially approaching their targets, they established themselves as trustworthy.  How did two such dirty rotten scoundrels accomplish this?  By entertaining the children, chatting or dancing with senior citizens, toasting the bride and groom, and practicing the traditions of the culture, whatever they happened to be. In doing this they gained respectability. For all practical purposes, they appeared truly interested in whomever they were schmoozing.


Now, we don't condone their actions. And as should happen, it all backfired on them. (Of course, everything turned out well in the end. The worst part is, we liked these guys and rooted for them to get the girls, despite their obvious roguish character.)


For our networking chapter, we interviewed fifteen expert networkers and had input from two others. They all agreed. You must create visibility, credibility and show genuine concern for those you want to get to know.


Unlike the con artists of The Wedding Crashers, your purpose is legitimate. Not only do you seek to increase your own business, but you also want to help others grow theirs. By touching lives, being honest and full of integrity, you show yourself as a person people want to get know. And the first rule of networking is -- People do business with those they know, like, and trust. 


Before wedding crashers, John and Jeremy, ever set foot in a wedding, they did their homework. They had intimate knowledge of the family, the attendees, and observed customs. You can do the same. Many seminars hold pre-teleseminars. They give you an opportunity to know the presenters and discover those you'd most like to meet. You can also study the seminar's Website to learn as much as you can about the event. Being prepared goes a long way, our interviewees told us.


John and Jeremy rarely focused on the wedding party itself and neither should you. As Sylvie Charrier pointed out, "The people in the audience are the greatest potential." It could be the one person you least expect to make a good prospect for your business that turns out to be one of the best customers you've ever had. So when you attend networking events, talk to everyone. You never know what can come of it.


One last lesson from The Wedding Crashers:  They often performed acts they didn't enjoy in order to obtain the prize (i.e., making a balloon bicycle for a total brat). If you're going to network, you may have to do things you find uncomfortable. Just talking to strangers may frighten you to death. But getting out of your comfort zone can bring you untold riches. Maybe it's the wealth of a friendship, joint venture, referral or repeat customer.


Whatever it is, the benefits of networking can last long after the party is over. But as so many of our colleagues told us, you have to get out there. If you don't go to the dance, you can't fill your dance card. And you'll miss many golden opportunities to build your business.






Marsha Yudkin is a renowned freelance writer. She offers some excellent advice on how to use articles to grow your business. We've included it this month along with all her contact information. We hope you enjoy it.



Setting Out Bait Online




Marcia Yudkin


Word Count: 869


In 1995 I created and distributed a free document called Frequently Asked Questions about Freelance Writing, or the Freelance Writing FAQ. ( I've updated it several times since then and allowed anyone to post it at their Web site without a fee. That FAQ has done more than anything else to keep my 1988 book Freelance Writing for Magazines & Newspapers from HarperCollins in print. The last time I checked, my FAQ was posted at more than a dozen Web sites and linked from scores of others, as well as recommended in numerous books and magazines.


With the maturing of the Web, the strategy of setting out free bait for your target market has become more and more powerful. Here's how and why it works, and some non-obvious ways to make the most of the bait you create.


On the Internet, people are ravenous for information. Correspondingly, lots of sites find it in their interest to point their visitors to the best resources available in their topic area. If you can create a mostly unpromotional informational piece and make it available with minimal strings attached, you'll find complete strangers publicizing and distributing it to your benefit. Really!


In a nutshell, start by asking what data or advice would be of value to the group of people you want to attract as product buyers or clients. Search to see what's already available on that topic, so you don't spend your energy satisfying a thirst that's already been slaked. Create something authoritative on the topic that unobtrusively establishes you, your company or your product as serving that market. Then set out your bait online with explicit permission for people to spread it widely. Keep your piece updated and every once in a while search for new takers, and then enjoy the results.


I concocted my FAQ after interviewing a law student named Terry Carroll who said that his FAQ on copyright law had made him a minor celebrity with respect to the topic and helped him land his first job as an attorney. Since I'd been teaching classes on freelance writing for years, I knew all questions beginning writers had, and their answers. Following the format of other FAQs I looked at, I organized 24 commonly asked questions into five categories and did my best to keep the answers concise.


To make sure that writing and distributing the FAQ would redound to me, I also composed the last of the 24 questions to read, "And who are you, anyway?" That gave me a natural way to present my credentials and the titles of several of my books.


Although I believe the FAQ format has particular power on the Net, for you the ticket might be an article along the lines of "Five Things to Think About Before You Hire a ___," "11 Low-risk Ways to ___," "___ DeMystified," or simply "How to ___." Call your bait piece a "white paper" if you're appealing to a corporate population.


Resist the temptation to devote any more than 10 percent of your bait piece to self-promotion. Doing so would make it less appealing for others to recommend or reprint it. Producing something that benefits your market without a heavy sales pitch attached puts you in a very positive light, and just a low-key business bio and contact information at the end entices readers to get in touch.


Think broadly about what kinds of sites might be willing to host or link to your informational offering. In addition to resource sites that aim at a comprehensive collection of topical links, consider non-competing businesses whose visitors need to know about your specialty. For example, with some of my small-business-oriented bait pieces on marketing and publicity, I've had requests to repost them to sites for a stock photo company, a specialty printer, a crafts dealer and numerous trade associations. Always request a live link to your Web site and an e-mail link to you when someone reposts your piece at their site.


If you have a Web site, the out-of-pocket cost to add a bait piece there will usually be zero. Mentioning your bait piece in your signature when you post to discussion lists is another way to spread it around effectively. If it has an appealing title and genuinely useful content for some well-defined, information-hungry audience, you'll find this piece soon funneling leads to you -- without the big expense of a conventional push for traffic.



Marcia Yudkin has built a global reputation as an author, publicity and marketing consultant, speaker and writing coach. Her Marketing Minute segment aired for more than a year on WABU TV. She serves as a commentator for WBUR radio and her Marketing Matters column is syndicated. Some of her ten books include "Six Steps to Free Publicity" and "Persuading on Paper" and "Internet Marketing for Less than $500/Year". Her articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, TWA Ambassador, USAir Magazine and Business 2.0. She has been featured in Success Magazine, Entrepreneur, Home Office Computing, Working Woman, and in the Sunday Boston Globe. Copyright© 2005, Marcia Yudkin. All right reserve. For information about Marcia's Marketing Keynote Presentations, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email;




Thanks for reading.  See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes


To Unsubscribe:  $UNSUBSCRIBEURL$


© 2006 QuickSilver CopyWriters - All Rights Reserved

Return Home

Back to Newsletter Archives




For some good reading , check out our Article Archives!


"With Andy & Shawn's help, 'Snapshots from the Soul' became a reality. They demonstrated great sensitivity and compassion and we enjoyed working with them very much."

~Dennis E. Chapman, Associate Executive Director, City Union Mission, KC, MO


“Andy and Shawn are copywriters you can count on to understand your business and your customers. I couldn’t be more impressed with the copy they provided us. Their work is excellent. I look forward to working with them again soon.”

~Kevin Fryer


"A book would not be enough room to compliment Shawn on her work. Her professionalism comes first even if it means staying up late at night to answer all your question. She works tirelessly to get the best results possible. Her attitude, caring, and devotion are unique and I'm thankful I had the chance to work with her."

~ Olga O'Mara


"Andy is a no fluff wordsmith with high direct response, long copy talent. His work will lift interest in your website. His ability to get up to speed on your unique business model is impressive. He is persistent to completing projects and takes personal pride in the quality of his work. He is honest and knows what drives sales. If you are lucky enough to get him, you will get above average copy for a fair price. I'd use Andy anytime."

~ Christopher Hebard
Pruett Media