Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finding Your Niche in a RSS Haystack

How do you find and reach out to the people in your niche? Tough question, but a bit of ingenuity (and technology) can help. I’m talking about Really Simply Syndication (RSS).

What is RSS?

Eh, it’s hard to explain. The RSS wiki does a great job of explaining. Don’t ask me how it works; I don’t know. But I do know that just like electricity, it’s an essential tool that can make your (marketing) life easier every day.

How? RSS is a fantastic way to broadcast your articles, tips or other marketing materials right to the desktop of interested potential clients with very little effort on your part. Imagine being able to tap prospects on the shoulder electronically to offer your help.

Niche RSS Feeds

The more tailored your niche, the more difficult it can seem to actually find ways to reach them. I was thrilled to find (via my Yahoo RSS feed aggregator) an article on , a small business site, that shares a number of specialized niche feeds for a variety of industries like real estate, medical and law.

Fishing a Feed

There's amazing info waiting for you in a feed. Look at the types of feeds offered. Study a few to learn about new websites within your niche. For example, is a niche feed directory for the medical industry. Clicking through I came across several feeds like Health Education and Medical Association that lead to feeds and websites for different types of doctors ( a niche that’s notoriously difficult to reach).

What Does This Mean to You? Plenty! Add an RSS feed to your website or even articles. Research the links on feed pages for find even more Related Niche Groups (and you know how important they are) With a bit of curiosity, patience and tech savvy you can deliver help to thousands of folks and boost your web presence and traffic.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



Thursday, April 12, 2007

School Vacation and Mediation

It's almost that time of year again when mothers and fathers wrack their brains for things for the kids to do while on vacation.

Newspapers and other publications like blogs, ezines, etc are also wracking their brains for content about school vacation. Family mediators, here's your chance to raise your credibility and visibility . Write an article or two.

Topics for School Vacation Week

Here are a few titles that spring to mind:

  • Mom as Mediator

  • Movies or Hike: Negotiate Family Outings Without Fighting

  • Mom, I'm Bored: Brainstorming Fun Things to Do

If you're feeling stuck, feel free to use one of these titles.

Writing for $$: Article Marketing with Bonnie Jo Davis

Better yet, please join us for a 60 minute, interactive session with Bonnie Jo Davis of on April 26, 2007 at 2 p.m.EDT
Register now

Bonnie is an amazing resource with great ideas on how to generate article topics, where and how to post articles and more. Even better, she has a database and provides publication services.

Article marketing is a simple yet highly effective way to build your practice. We had a great turnout with this call last year, so why not register now!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

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Go West, Dina!

If you're gonna to be in the San Francisco Bay area in early June, I just might see you there.

Introducing The Breakthrough Summit

I really love the members of the ADRPB community. Whether it's a skill call or Member Q & A, talking with them always brightens my day and inspires me.

So, I'm planning a live workshop,The Breakthrough Summit, a half day event devoted to mediation marketing. It's a work in progress, but right now I'm envisioning:

  • Kickstart workshop that creates practical plans

  • Digging deeply into how to achieve the 'Three Keys'

  • Private luncheon for ADRPracticebuilder Members

  • Breakthrough Meetings for coaching in the afternoon

The event is open to all ADR professionals- mediators, trainers, Ombuds and all those just starting out. You don't have to be a Member to attend, however, Members will get perks. If savings are important to you, why not join now

To get an announcement when the plans are finalized, drop me a note I hope to see you there.

Why West?

My business is the vehicle to realize a very big dream. I plan to move to the sun somewhere in northern California with my hubby, Peter, in the next 3 or so years. We're starting to scout lots or homes in coastal areas like Healdsburg, Petaluma and Winsor. We're turning our thoughts into action by visiting.

What do you want your business to bring into your life; and what are you doing to manifest that into reality, hmmm?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

PS East Coast, you are not forgotten! We're planning a similar event for you in July. Sign up for announcements.


School-Based Mediation Programs

The comprehensive high school format is dead, according to a recent story on National Public Radio. Turns out that the model which was supposed to enhance learning while reducing overhead expenses didn't work as well as planned. Smaller academy style schools that focus on a specific curriculum and encourage community are now rapidly gaining favor.

It struck me that today's schools are more violent than ever, and there doesn't seem to be a good way to stem the tide. Maybe if there were more peer mediation programs.

Peer Mediation in the 90's

Years ago, just after the ice age, I worked for School Mediation Associates,a peer mediation training firm founded by Richard Cohen, who literally wrote the book on peer mediation design. Many a day I visited a middle or high school where I feared for my safety... and so did the kids.

Peer mediation showed these kids, who were plagued by bullying and threats, that there was another way to respond to 'a beef' besides fighting or killing. It was gratifying to see these young minds take the basics of mediation and transform it into something raw yet oddly elegant and highly effective. And, all the while they were being transformed themselves into better students and better citizens of the world.

The power of peer mediation to change lives is undeniable. I know because I've been told. Years after I stopped working with Richard and the SCORE program in Mass, I ran into one of the 'bad boys' we'd roped into taking the peer mediation course at his school. He explained that he'd only agreed to participate as a way of avoiding suspension. But that afterwards he felt differently about himself. Being a mediator helped him see himself as a leader and as a result he graduated and was attending a college that had a peer mediation program. I was stunned and grateful to think I'd had a small part in it.

Youth-based Mediation Practice

Knowing how my mind works, I began to think of different ways to bring mediation skills-critical life skills- to kids in a variety of venues. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Adding a school/peer mediation component to a family practice (the line between family and school is getting blurrier)

  2. Serving as a mediator for youth disputes in a school district

  3. Developing peer mediation training for youth groups like the Little League or community sports (heck, you might even get some, eh, adult disputes, too)

What does that mean to you? Consider this niche. I found it satisfying and ultimately very hopeful, and I think you might, too. Drop me a note and tell me what you think.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What Problems are You Solving with Mediation?

Niche, niche, niche. You've heard me say it before- creating a niche practice is a very effective marketing strategy that distinguishes your practice from the crowd and attacts potential clients. (If you haven't begun to investigate a niche, now is the time to start, people.)

Refine Your Niche

Once you have answered the 4 questions and evaluated your niche, you're not done yet. You need to refine your niche further by articulating what specific problem you can be helpful in solving.

(Don't know the 4 questions? Join our next free teleseminar on May 7th at 12:30 p.m. by visiting

Why? Because mediation consumers, otherwise known as parties, are interested in solutions, not process per se. Your goal is to articulate their problems so well that they clearly understand that you can provide a way to reach the solution.

Let's look closer. Suppose you decide to be a family mediator. Great. Your niche is custody issues. Wonderful. But as a consumer I won't choose you unless I know that you can solve the type of issue I'm facing like who is the final decision-maker regarding college selection, for instance. Your marketing materials should speak to the specific custody problems you address. That way, I can 'see myself and my problem' and select you because you've demonstrated via your content that you can offer my desired outcome or solution.

Laurie Israel of

Laurie, a dear friend and colleague of mine, is a real-life example of a mediator who not only has a unqiue niche but does a great job of letting potential clients know who exactly will benefit from working with her. Her website is a primer on how to articulate your mission and solution to consumers.

Here's why it works so well

  1. A warm, inviting picture that suggests Laurie will be good to work with

  2. Her mission statement tells me who she works with- couples who want to work on their marriage- and why

  3. Subheadings offer clarity- Legal Help for Married Couples

  4. Bullet points and case studies add more detail on what problems she solves, i.e. differing spending patterns or challenges in second marriages

Talk with Laurie

Visit her site to see exactly what I mean. Better yet, Laurie has agreed to be my guest during an interview on Thursday, April 23, 2007 at 1 p.m. EDT
She'll share her thoughts on this particular niche and how she built it.

Family or divorce mediators, this interactive interview offers marketing insights you so register early!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Hidden Gems of Pricing Mediation Services

It's ok to have a low fee, according to my guest, Rafi Mohammed, author of The Art of Pricing, so long as it's the bottom of your pricing range. That's one of the gems we learned during the Art of Pricing Call last month.

Setting fees remains a challenge for most mediators including me. Our group wrestled with tricky issues like how to explain differing fees for the same services to clients, and how to articulate the value you bring to distinguish your mediation practice from others.

Rafi also showed us some techniques to avoiding jumping into a pricing conversation with potential clients too soon. (Ask clarifying questions and for time before setting a price) It was a rich conversation, and honestly, I'd count Rafi as one of us. He's a marvelous listener and knows his stuff (he's been an expert on pricing for 17 years and his website, has loads of useful information).

Because we just scratched the surface, I'm hosting another call, The Art of Pricing, Pt2 this Monday, April 9 at 1 p.m. EST.

As a group, we'll review the three concepts of versioning, unbundling and segment-based pricing and spend time talking about retainer and fixed price fees. And, because having 'can do' confidence is key, I'll reveal the formula I use to make the overwhelming seem absolutely doable. The real benefit,of course, is being able to talk about this sticky subject with other mediators which rarely happens.

Haven't read the book? No worries. Pick up The Art of Pricing at Amazon and register anyway.

Try. Fail. Learn. Prosper!