Weekly Round-Up // April 5, 2013


It is hard to believe that March is done, and we are in April! I am so excited to announce that I have accepted a promotion at my current employer! My new job title will be Life Marketing Representative. Let me get back to you on what I actually do… but I am so excited! The past six years I have been working full-time and going to school part-time to earn my BS in Business Administration. I will be done with school in one year and my ultimate goal was to obtain a marketing position, so to have earned that while I still have a year left is just great. I will try to document my journey on this blog, too.

On with this week’s link round-up.

I bought this book by Sheryl Sandberg and I cannot wait to start reading it. Here is a clip of her talking with Jon Stewart about the book, Lean In.

Since I’m on the Sheryl Sandberg train, she gave a great TED Talk. She is just so inspiring. I love strong women leaders!

Not only are there hurdles for corporations when it comes to social media, those hurdles are intensified for many financial services and highly regulated industries. The S.E.C. has outlined a new disclosure that clarifies how companies can use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to share public information. I imagine it is quite difficult to keep up with what is “hot” in the innovative field for these regulated companies!

I have talked about Gary Vaynerchuk before on this blog, but here he is again! Gary gives some candid advice on leadership in an off-the-cuff video he made (while on a plane!).

Alright, this is not marketing related but I simply cannot resist “Call Me Maybe” and I just can’t stop when great groups do a remake or parody. Here is an unnamed group of the military with their take on the catchy tune, and here is the Tampa, FL Police Department’s way of encouraging their citizens to call them. Genius, pure genius.

Weekly Round-Up // March 28, 2013

After a brief hiatus, the weekly round-up is back! 




I’m a big fan of Social Media Breakfast – MSP and will be attending the session on social media marketing this Friday! I hear they are sold out but they do stream online if you were too late to get your tickets.

Cool internship opportunity for a very under-represented group: government communicators! Governor Mark Dayton’s office is hiring interns for the summer. If only I didn’t have a full-time job…

What’s in a sticker? Good Housekeeping’s “Seal of Approval” provides consumers the confidence they’re looking for in products. Did you know that if the products is defective, Good Housekeeping – not the manufacturer – will reimburse you? This was an interesting 5 minute story about their seal, which has been around since 1905! Another topic: Good Housekeeping’s re-design!

Ever wonder how to share that bad news with a person, community, or entire organization? Toastmasters published a great article about it here.

Rest in peace, Google Reader. Looking for another tool to manage your daily reads? Lifehacker gives some good alternatives.

Leah’s Weekly Round-Up // January 3, 2013

Happy New Year! Did you set any goals for 2013, personally or professionally? I’ll share a couple of my goals with you.

1. Attend at least one industry event each month.

2. Do one informational interview with someone each month.

3. Continue to use this blog as a place to share information and write about what I’m learning as I try to navigate life as a busy young professional.


Now, on to the weekly round-up! It seems like this week has presented a lot of “best of 2012” posts. I’ll share a couple of those, as well as some other things I’ve found. Enjoy!


Cool job alert! Eventbrite is hiring a city marketing manager. And it is in New York City. Awesome.

2012 Told Through Twitter. 

A Glassdoor.com survey indicates 33% of people are looking for new jobs in 2013 (over 2,000 surveyed). Minnesota Headhunter, Paul DeBettignes, talks about the job search on Kare11.

5 Social Media Business Strategies You’ll See This Year from Mashable.

The Top 24 Most Inspiring Photos of 2012.

What do you learn from your boss? Workbuzz by Career Builder shares lessons people learned from their favorite bosses. 

And finally, one of my favorite, favorite things. Gary Vaynerchuk’s TED talk about doing what you love. If you haven’t seen this, take 15 minutes and watch it.

Leah’s Weekly Round-Up // December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays! I hope you enjoyed a lovely time with family, friends and loved ones.

Get your bookmark tab ready for the following links, they’re good ones.


One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Von Bargen from yesandyes.org has a business blog, and her link round up is stellar. The next link comes from her most recent post.

Social media marketing explained in 61 words. David Meerman Scott is one of my favorite business people. His website is a gold mine of information for marketers.

Want to know what your first tweet was? Now you can download all of your tweets. If you’re one of the chosen few, you can get started. I will surely be downloading all of my (almost 50,000) tweets.

Ready to make the next big career move, but need to quit your current job? Here is a good guide on how to do that.

4 Steps to Effective Leadership – Would you believe that being a good delegator is on this list? It is, and rightfully so! Delegating tasks to is most definitely a sign of an effective leader.

Interesting opinions on Twitter works and how Amber Naslund is using it. I do believe in using lists on Twitter, but I don’t agree with her point about the only reason you should follow someone is to give them access to private message you. Thoughts?

Any professional should know these – 25 things young professionals must know before 25.

There you have it! Our second edition of the Weekly Round-Up! Anything I should be keeping my eyes open for to share? 

Introducing: Leah’s Weekly Round-Up

I read a lot of blogs and find a lot of interesting things on the internet. Starting today, I will dedicate a post each week to the interesting and helpful things I find.

The theme will be similar to that of my blog: marketing, communications, PR and social media. I’ll also include links to job boards, if you are on the hunt for your next great move.


Arik Hanson shares 13 REAL Chrome extensions community managers will find useful. I file this under “save for future reference”. Very interesting and great information, especially to those managing a brand’s social identities.

MIMA is hosting an event on January 16, 2013 called “Iteractive innovation in highly regulated industries”. I’ll be attending this, and it will definitely be an opportunity to network and learn.

Lisa Grimm‘s blog is one of the first I followed, and this post hit home. Last Friday, after the horrible scenes in Newtown, CT, the first thing I hated seeing was brands posting about their sales and products. Lisa says it perfectly in her post, How Brands Should Behave on Social Media During a Tragedy. 

From Yahoo! Finance – The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired In 2013. With the importance of networking, I was surprised not to see that topic covered.

AdFed’s job board is always a great place to look for jobs and internships in the marketing/advertising/creative field.

There you have it! The first edition of Leah’s Weekly Round-Up. Are they any great marketing/PR/social media blogs you love and find useful that I should know about? Share in the comments! 

Communications and Law Enforcement

I’ve been meaning to write a post for a long time about my experiences as an intern with a local law enforcement agency. I could write about how I obtained this internship, how I am the first intern in the public information office at this agency, and what I’ve learned in my six weeks there so far. But the most important part in all of it is how my views have been shaped, and how the passion in me has been ignited.

I wrote a blog post in 2011 about my dream job.  The thing about me is that I am pretty indecisive, especially when it comes to a career and what I want to do for the rest of my life. But for some reason, all of the stars are aligning and I found a passion. I want to share some observations about communications and law enforcement.

Please keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the law enforcement agency I am interning for. 

Here’s the thing about law enforcement and communications: in general, agencies are behind the times.

Think about it.

Our general society spends how much of their time with their smart phone or on the internet? How do most Americans get their news? If you watch the news on TV, what are the most typical stories about?

The short answer is this: our society has become increasingly dependent on instant gratification and consistent updates about what is going on in the world.

But what if the law enforcement agency becomes their own source of information?

In today’s world, I can find out about a critical incident that has occurred through Facebook, because someone that listens to the police scanner is sharing what they’re hearing. From a marketing standpoint, this is how a police department is a brand. You have an image, and how your image is portrayed, well, that’s your brand.

As part of my internship, I did a ride along with an officer last week. It was an epiphany for me, mostly because it reminded me that it isn’t always butterflies and unicorns but rather police officers deal with things on a daily basis that most of us cannot fathom. My ride along was what the officer called “pretty intense”. Long story short, it involved a chase searching for the suspect. By the time I got home at 10pm from my ride along, I already had someone ask me if I heard about the incident. Sure enough, I open Facebook to see this:

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 4.00.39 PM

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In a matter of 15 minutes, these people listening to the scanner are relaying the information they’re hearing. Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with this. What I am saying is, what if the police department owns this information? What if the police department had a way to officially share the information?

Seattle Police Department is doing just that. They recently instituted something called Tweets by Beat.

They are setting the precedence for law enforcement agencies across the country. How?

By sharing information. By being transparent with their community. By connecting with their community.

Connecting with your community

Police departments, in general, are moving towards community policing. This means they are one with the community. They support partnerships with community members and business owners. Instead of being looked at like the “bad guys”, they are there to help you. They are walking the streets of your community, building relationships and in turn, working to reduce crime. They’re being proactive, instead of reactive.

Something as simple as publishing a weekly police blotter, that provides a review of police calls that were responded to, if a citizen chooses sign up for it. Providing a real-time map of crimes in your neighborhood. Encouraging citizens to utilize an anonymous service to share concerns about things you see happening in your neighborhood. Creating an app that allows citizens to share information with you, so you can better serve them.

The bottom line is this: communication is important.

And on top of that, it is a two-way street. If you want the community to communicate with you, you need to communicate with them. As a law enforcement agency, your duty is to protect and serve.

As I complete my internship with this well-respected law enforcement agency and move towards focusing on a career in law enforcement communications, I realize how important it is for agencies to own their message and be authentic.

I have found a passion in observing, studying and talking about this small, but very important, piece of this field. As I continue on my career path, I hope to turn this passion into something that can help law enforcement agencies understand how important it is to communicate.

Buy your stamps and get ready, it is almost time to mail Grandma Cathy’s card!

I’ve gotten quite the positive feedback regarding my social experiment to send 70 birthday cards to my Grandma Cathy for her upcoming milestone birthday. I’m antsy and anxious to start getting the cards in the mail, and trying to figure out the perfect way to tell Grandma that I gave out her address on the internet… Hopefully she will forget all about that when she receives a shower of lovely birthday cards.

Wondering what to write? I have some ideas for you. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. You can write about:

*Your favorite birthday memory

*Your holiday plans

*The best thing you ever did for a loved ones birthday

*The weather/your pets/your family

*Your favorite memory of a grandparent

If we reach the goal of 70 birthday cards for Grandma’s 70th birthday, I’ll post a video blog of Grandma’s reaction to your cards (this, of course, is pending Grandma’s involvement but I am sure with a little convincing she’ll help her lovely granddaughter out).


Help me out for Grandma’s birthday

We all have that special lady in our lives. The one that spoiled you a litte more than your mom did, that slipped you an extra $20 when you went back to your college dorm after a weekend with her and just made you feel like the most special girl in the whole world. My special lady loves shoes, dancing, going to church, praying, cats, the City of Saint Paul, Judy Garland records, cleaning, cleaning up after her eldest granddaughter, singing, sewing and so much more.  Grandma Cathy is having a milestone birthday on Sunday, November 25th. She is turning 70.

Grandma Cathy is very dear to my heart. She worked her tail off for her entire life to get to where she is today. I moved in with her when I was 15 and she raised me. I believe she is responsible for turning me in to the bright young woman I am today.

Leah & Grandma // 2008

She is retired, but not bored. Between volunteering, rollerskating, dancing, karaoke, taking art classes, taking kickboxing classes, traveling and adopting a (hyper) dog… she leads an exciting and active life. She is not an ordinary woman, which is why she deserves an extraordinary surprise for her 70th birthday.

Catherine // December 1961

Can I use my network of friends/colleagues/strangers to have Grandma receive 70 birthday cards in the mail? 

Here is how you can help me.

  • Get a postcard, card or USPS-approved mailing document.
  • Write a little note on whatever you find. Wish Grandma Cathy a very happy birthday and don’t forget a stamp. 
  • Mail it on Wednesday November 21st to:

Grandma Cathy

1304 DeSoto Street

Saint Paul, MN 55130

  • Watch my Twitter feed for updates on Grandma’s social birthday experiment. I’ll also post a re-cap blog to share how it worked and some photos.

THANK YOU for helping me make Grandma Cathy’s milestone birthday a fun memory.

Also, don’t tell her I told you she’s 70, she doesn’t like being reminded that she is “old”.

If you have any questions, please email me at leahzins (at) gmail.com or tweet me at @LeahSTP.

Question & Answer with MN Blogger Conference past attendees

The 2012 MN Blogger Conference is just around the corner. The event is officially sold out, so be sure to get added to the wait list for your ticket! 

I attended my first MN Blogger Conference in 2011, and was inspired by all of the amazing people in attendance. I met the following bloggers last year and wanted to share their stories with you. Enjoy this question and answer with three great bloggers, and be sure to add their blogs to your blog reader.



Tell me about your blog – when did it start, what is the intention/purpose, etc?

I started my blog last year after the Minnesota Blogger Conference. When I started I was full of motivation and excitement from all the wonderful bloggers I had met, plus I had prior blogging experience being the blog manager for Anytime Health (a health and wellness blog).

I knew I wanted to start my own blog because I have so much to say. Plus, this blog would be mine. Ms. Giggles is all about inspiration and education with a little random mixed in. I talk about life, design, travel, fashion, and more. It’s a true lifestyle blog covering anything that inspires me.

I love being able to share my experiences with my readers, especially my Grandma who is an email subscriber. She loves reading them and I know that I will continue writing, if just for her!

Where do you see your blog in five years?

I see it growing with the next generation of the web. In regards to blogs, we don’t know exactly where content will lie in 2016. It might still be with blogs, or it might be something really cool that we don’t know about yet. All I know is that I intend on making my content stand out on whatever platform it is best suited for.

Why did you decide to attend the MN Blogger Conference? Had your blog really started then, or did you find inspiration to really get it going?

I attended the bloggers conference to grow the multi-blogger platform I manage, Anytime Health. I always am looking to further my education and knowledge especially when it’s something I deal with every day! I love all of my bloggers on Anytime Health because they inspire people to change their lives…which is hard enough! The MN Blogger Conference really opened my eyes to creating a sense of community with the readers on AH!

What inspires you in relation to your blog?

The better question is probably what doesn’t inspire me…I love so many different things and that makes it easier to write. Whatever you’re passionate about is what you should be writing…it makes it ten times easier. I get inspired by other bloggers. I love to see what they are doing in their lives and that inspires me!

Did you catch any inspiration at last year’s event?

I will bet that I was the MOST inspired person there! What an amazing group of bloggers we have in this state. Everyone is always willing to help out with advice, guest blogging, and more! I love that the “Minnesota Nice” translates to bloggers.

Are you hoping to attend this year? Anything in particular you’re looking forward to/would like to learn about?

I will be attending this year, if I can get a ticket. I am always looking for how people cultivate their communities and how they keep them in their circle.



Tell me about your blog – when did it start, what is the intention/purpose, etc?

My blog is BigPictureWeb.com. It started about three years ago with a pretty loose goal of learning and talking about online marketing, but I’ve narrowed the scope considerably since and now provide tips for folks using the Squarespace content management system. I’ve also recently started ContentScientists.com to blog about inbound marketing.

Where do you see your blog in five years?

It would be nice to expand into tips in the design and development arenas, as I’m primarily a marketer. I see growing Big Picture Web into a blog with multiple authors, who would each bring their unique community and style.

Why did you decide to attend the MN Blogger Conference? Had your blog really started then, or did you find inspiration to really get it going?

I think it was a mix of both. The first MN Blogger Conference occurred right about the time I was starting to get the hang of things, and it was energizing to meet so many like-minded people. The conference really helped validate certain things that were working with my own blog, and alert me to a few things I was doing wrong that prevented my blog from growing.

What inspires you in relation to your blog?

I can try anything I want on my blog and I learn a ton in the process. We have constraints in so many areas of our lives. My blog has been my chance to learn so many amazing things by trying them out and seeing what happens. I believe this type of kinetic learning is a valuable skill in this era where the future seems closer every day.

Did you catch any inspiration at last year’s event?

Always. I got to know a little bit about each blogger and why they were successful. I’m inspired that what makes each blog worth reading varies greatly. Some blogs are amazing because they’re visual. Some because they’re articulate and verbose. Yet some still are all of those things. Every blog is unique, so it’s inspiring to think about what one might create.

Are you hoping to attend this year? Anything in particular you’re looking forward to/would like to learn about?

Absolutely! I’m most looking forward to connecting with the Minnesota blogging community throughout the day. I’ve developed friendships with a lot of the attendees over the last two years, and it will be lively and fun to connect with everyone through the stellar presentations at the MN Blogger Conference.




Tell me about your blog – when did it start, what is the intention/purpose, etc?

ToysInTheDryer.com went live on September 5, 2011.  We had both been blogging on other blogs that took up a lot of our time with little reward.  We were talking one day about ideas to help us spend more quality time with our children.  We decided to start a blog together to help us do just that.  (We know, it’s technically counter-productive, however, it really hasn’t been for us!)  Toys In The Dryer was started with purpose of being a “business” blog while helping us spend more time with our children.  We are rewarded not only with money, products, and opportunities, we are also rewarded with memories of time spent with our children!

Where do you see your blog in five years?

We would love to be big enough to have more people writing for us.  We would like to be making a minimum of $500 dollars a month.  We hope to have a large community of interactive readers.

Why did you decide to attend the MN Blogger Conference?  Had your blog really started then, or did you find inspiration to really get it going?

We wanted to network with other MN bloggers.  Toys In The Dryer had been live for five days when last year’s conference took place however, people knew our name because we had marketed ourselves and interacted with our future readers for several weeks via Facebook, Twitter, and our other blogs prior to going live.  I’m not sure if we found inspiration, per se, at the conference however we did educate ourselves and found great enthusiasm through networking.

What inspires you in relation to your blog?

Our children. Toys In The Dryer is about spending quality time with your children and making memories. Our children’s interests inspire us to become creative with ideas for them. Our blog helps us build our relationships with them as well.

Did you catch any inspiration at last year’s event?

Meeting bigger bloggers at the conference help us see our goals for our blog and what we want to become in the future.

Are you hoping to attend this year? Anything in particular you’re looking forward to/would like to learn about?

Yes, we are planning on attending this year’s conference.  We would love to see a session on the legalities of Pinterest.  Last year’s session on Facebook and other social networking sites was eye opening, however Pinterest was not as popular back then.  It has since become a huge part of gaining traffic to people’s blogs (including our own).

Things I’ve learned since joining Toastmasters

I joined Toastmasters at this time last year. In that year, I think I’ve grown quite a bit, both professionally and personally. I was putting together some guest packets today, and I remembered something my 16 year cousin said. She said that it was a pet peeve of hers when someone apologized for doing something they didn’t need to apologize for. That reminded me of one of the first evaluations I received in Toastmasters, which quickly brought up other things that have really stuck with me over the year.

First, a quick background on the program. Once you’re a member you begin working on one, or both, of these designations: competent communicator (CC) and competent leader (CL). You can do them simultaneously. The CC is a collection of 10 speeches, which is all done at your own pace. Each one encompasses skills that build upon each other. For example, your first few speeches are really the bones of public speaking. As you move along in your manual, you’re bringing in more skills, such as using visual aids and vocal variety. When you’ve completed the manual, you have a great tool kit of skills you’ve learned throughout the past 10 speeches. The CL designation is earned by doing different roles within the meeting, such as timer, toastmaster, grammarian or any of the evaluator roles. I won’t spend much more time on that is this post, as it can get confusing.

The beauty of Toastmasters is that it is flexible and you can talk about whatever you want. I truly thought I would have to give speeches about finance, corporate marketing, and other corporate things, but boy was I wrong. To date, I’ve give four speeches with topics ranging from cats to hipsters.  I think it takes some skill to give a speech about cats to a group of corporate folks!

Here are some tips that I think will be beneficial to anyone looking to become a better public speaker.

1. Do not apologize: As a presenter, it is easy to apologize for many things – for being late, for not knowing what to say next, for mixing words up – but don’t apologize! You didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to apologize for. In one of the first evaluations I received, my evaluator reminded me that I did not need to apologize for using my notes. This stuck with me, even a year later! Be confident, your audience will notice your confidence.

2. You know what you’re talking about: Unless you’re giving a presentation with very specific facts and details, you know what you’re talking about. Don’t rely on your notes. Especially if you’re telling a story – you’ve written it out ahead of time, you know what you want to say and it is your story.

3. Watch the filler words: This is the main reason I joined Toastmasters. I found myself filling my statements with unneeded filler words such as um, ah, like, and ya’know. Try this: pause instead of filling with those words. And hey, your audience will think that you’re thinking, and it makes you look smarter. After a lot of practice and being more self-aware, I can say I have greatly reduced filler words from my vocabulary. In addition to reducing them from your own daily life, you will notice how much people use these words. Oddly enough, it is a nice reminder that you’re doing a good thing in NOT using them.

These are just a few of the many things I have learned from being a member of Toastmasters. I have found it beneficial in any professional setting, and it runs off into my personal life! I pay a lot more attention to what I am saying, how I am saying it, and the true purpose of what I’m saying.

If you’re interested in attending a meeting, my club meets on Tuesdays at 12pm in downtown St. Paul. You can also check out the Toastmasters International website to find a meeting near you.