Hi, I’m Brandon Uttley. I am a seasoned web marketing and public relations professional. I write about social media, new branding thinking, cool tech tools and more. For regular updates, please sign up for my email newsletter below.
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Learn Marketing Best Practices With MarketingProfs

If you know someone who works in the marketing or PR field, give them the gift that keeps on giving—with a subscription to MarketingProfs.

MarketingProfs is one of the best educational and networking resources. You can join for free and enjoy a wealth of information delivered to your inbox. However, for a premium membership, you get access to tons of materials, live 90-minute webcasts, shorter webinars (10 minutes) discounts on in-person conferences and more.

Special thanks to Ann Handley of MarketingProfs for giving me a trial Pro account to check out all the perks of MarketingProfs membership!

Cost: Free basic membership; pro memberships are $279/year (1 members) and $499/year (for 3 members; each additional person is just $167/year; bigger discounts are available for groups of 11 or more)

Capture Email Addresses On The Go

Do you run any special events IRL? How would you like a way to capture more email signups during your events? Chimpadeedoo will do the trick.

Chimpadeedoo is from the fine folks at Mailchimp. It lets you collects email addresses and store them on your iPad or Android tablet, even when you’re offline. Whenever you connect to the web, it will automatically add the addresses to your MailChimp list.

You can start with one of their background themes, or add your own background and logo. Next, pick a font and button style, write your copy and connect the form to any MailChimp list.

What would be even cooler is displaying your tablet on a sweet kiosk like this:

My friend Nathan Richie of NR Creative Group can hook you up with one of these kiosks for about $600-$800!

Cost: Chimpadeedoo is a free app for iPhone/iPad and Android (it also requires a Mailchimp account…BTW, I use Mailchimp, and it’s been free for me for over a year).

Make and Share Lists With Listly

I love making lists. If you share that passion, you will appreciate Listly.  It is a free service (with a few premium options) that lets you create and share lists of resources. You can make your lists public, which is a great way to look smart (assuming you are a thoughtful curator). Sharing options allow others to spread your lists to various social media sites.

Cost: Free and paid versions (from $9.99/month)

Save and Search Your Social Postings With SocialSafe

If you are on a bunch of social media networks, you probably never thought about actually backing up all that information. And what if you want to search across various networks for that nugget of wisdom one of your connections shared awhile back? Fuggedaboudit…unless you are using Social Safe.

SocialSafe is an app that you download to your PC or Mac and then connect directly to your social media accounts. All your data is downloaded privately to your computer. We’re talking Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest—plus a few others.

SocialSafe lets you download everything from your social accounts and store it in on your computer. From there, you can copy photos or posts, or export your Facebook photos to a Dropbox folder. Another neat feature is a built-in journal that gives you a way to easily look back over events across multiple networks.

Cost: $6.99/year (4 social networks); $16.99/year (10 social networks); $27.99/year (20 social networks)

Get Stupid

Gary Vaynerchuk

For awhile, I was annoyed with new media consultant Gary Vaynerchuk.

Why? Because he kept bragging about how he flunked all his classes in school.

Keeps bragging, actually. It seems to be one of his new passions, right up there with his obsession over cheering for the NY Jets football team.

Maybe “bragging” is my own interpretation. But it seems like he is. The overall message is, “Hey, I flunked all my classes…but despite that, I became super successful.”

We all know “that guy” from high school. The one who didn’t study, or didn’t care about getting good grades, or worse—just thumbed their nose at the system. Then years later, you find out he’s become someone important, or at least someone who is doing well…often better than you.

And you think, “Life’s unfair.” Because you studied. You tried to get good grades. You thought that would matter.

Truth is, grades don’t really matter in the end. Effort is what matters. Having the courage to try and fail matters. Doing what seems impossible in the face of the odds and breaking through is what matters.

What Gary preaches (Hard Work Trumps Everything) is echoed in Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. In it, he details lots of examples of people who have seemingly insurmountable odds against them (like being dyslexic), who go on to achieve extraordinary things. Gladwell points to research that shows a lot of hard working graduates from “second rate” colleges consistently outperform graduates from elite, Ivy League schools.

So no, grades don’t matter.

Heart matters. Sweat and courage matter. Being relentless matters.

Who am I to write this or say this? What do I know? I don’t have a psychology degree or anything close to it. I just have the desire to write this and put it out for the world to read, and agree or disagree with me.

Turns out Gary Vaynerchuk is a lot wiser than his former teachers gave him credit for. Read his backstory, and you’ll find out he came from Russia to America at an earlier age, and his family had to scrape and fight to survive, much less thrive.

Sometimes you have to throw “smart” out the window and get “stupid.”

Smart is me thinking that I should have a bigger platform before anyway cares what I say. Stupid is just putting forth the effort, regardless of the outcome.

Book smarts don’t mean anything if they just stay in your head. And often what you think you “know” is wrong, anyway.

Be bold. Try something new and crazy. Just watch and see what might happen.

Who knows? You might wind up on the New York  Times bestseller list several times over, like Gary.

Photo Credit: XDA Developers 

Get No-Hassle Conference Calls With Speek

Need a fast, easy way to set up a conference call? Speek is one of the better conferencing services I’ve tried.

Once you sign up for a free Speek link, you can share it by email, calendar invite, instant message, text message or however you’d like. Your guests don’t have to register for Speek to join a call.

Speek’s conference call features include:

  • See who’s joined the conference call on your screen
  • Get a text message when someone dials into your line
  • Know who’s talking during the call
  • Mute and add/remove participants
  • Share files — Speek connects to Google Drive, Dropbox, and more
  • Chat and/or take notes
  • Record conference calls
  • Schedule Speek conference calls in Google Calendar with the click-of-a-button, directly from your Chrome browser
  • Make conference calls on-the-go with Speek’s iPhone app

Using Speek, you also avoid the hassles of traditional conference calls:

  • No dial-in numbers or PINs
  • Nothing to download
  • No scheduling — your Speek line is always open

Cost: Free plan (unlimited calls for up to 5 people whenever, wherever); a paid version for $10/month (or $100/year) allows you to add unlimited attendees to your calls; share files together to view during the call; record your calls; comment during the call & access the comments transcript later.

Get Better Online Alerts With Mention

Want something better than Google Alerts for keeping track of online mentions? Mention will fit the bill.

Use it to get alerted about anything you’re interested in that gets published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page. Use it just for your company, or compare yourself to your competitors.

Mention can alert you in real-time via push notifications. You will also receive a daily or weekly email digest.

Mention also goes a step beyond Google Alerts by giving your a snapshot of your mentions by source, language and over a selected period of time. You can create PDF reports and export the data in CSV.

Cost: Free for 1 user and up to 250 mentions per month, as well as three premium versions at $6.99/$19.99/$99 per month (17% discount if paid yearly