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Your trade secrets? I don’t think so.

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This post serves to present a case for buying locally and offers a buy beware:

I just had a tail-spin conversation with a company by the name of Egumbull. I am representing Mr. Collins, a 18-year small business owner of an auto shop in Durham, North Carolina. He is located on one of the most heaviest traffic intersections in they city. After  explaining to Mr. Collins that I show small businesses how to improve their SEO using Google products that are free to them and how to make their branding more consistent, he asked me to Google the phrase “auto repair.” He did  not show up.

Mr. Collins, a well read, slow spoken man from Orange County, North Carolina describes himself as a “country boy.” Tonight he told me, “I know I’m country, they just don’t know that.” As Mr. Collins said “they” he pointed to the phone’s receiver.

Mr. Collins owns Collins Exxon, is a busy mechanic, 48, and trying to understand social media.

After slowing down, and listening to Mr. Collins, I was able to understand that Mr. Collins paid for a service to boost his SEO and needed his contract to know why his business name wasn’t showing up in Google. He had agreed to pay $155.00 for 12-months and needed some answers. Mr. Collins also needed way to see monthly progress.

In exchange for changing the air-filters on my car, I agreed to sit in on a call with Mr. Collins, representing him as his communications person, with the Californian company he is paying to improve his SEO. The work he performed, at what I was quoted equates to my regular small business rate. Not a bad barter.

The California “dudes,” not understanding his slow, country-boy, southern accent, rushed Mr. Collins as he tried to explain himself. I patiently waited while Mr. Collins explained his problem in every detail to the impatient customer service reps. After they bounced him around, I offered to handle the call. I explained to the reps Mr. Collins did not have a copy of his contract and would like to understand what he is paying for.

After the reps picked up on my online communication and social media savvy, they grew suspicious. I simply went through the routine of asking questions. Questions facilitate conversation.

Egumbull, already accused of scamming businesses according to Ripoff Report, accused me of wanting their trade secrets. I don’t think so. I know I have a model that works. I am very confident in it.

After what I went through tonight, Egumbull, you helped confirm my model works. You didn’t take time to listen, nor to communicate. Furthermore, I witnessed you treat Mr. Collins, your customer, very poorly. You hung up on him multiple times, bounced him around and made snide remarks. The “customer service” was simply deplorable.

To SEO companies: work with small businesses in regions where you understand the language and vernacular of the people. You aren’t helping small businesses succeed by not understanding their communication needs, you’re hurting them — in the pocket.

Egumball Ripped off a Durham business owner

To small businesses: do not hire “SEO consultants” who are not from your region, nor take the time to listen to your true business needs. Make sure the company you choose will communicate in your language in real time. If you communicate best with a consultant at a coffee shop, in your hair shop, or in your auto repair shop, hire them. Hire a consultant that will listen to what you want to accomplish with your business.

Choose a consultant that will help you realize your dreams. Hire consultants that will educate you in social media, teach you how to use it, how their children use it, how their customers use it and then, how networking helps bring people into your store. Do not trust consultants that will just say “they’ll increase your SEO and get you topped ranked in Google, here’s a pen, sign this contract.” Lastly, choose consultants with a positive reputation and track record. All my business is based on referrals.

I believe in small business, and I believe in free Google products for small businesses. I believe in communication and I believe in the beauty of words.

I don’t need your trade secrets.

I grew up on the West Coast (from Portland, Oregon) and spent many summers in Orange County, California.

After spending six years in North Carolina, I am continuously learning how to COMMUNICATE with people in the southeast. This is a must for me because I am choosing to grow my business here. To add, I made a choice to Marry Durham.

I am very invested in the local economy — I am choosing to grow a consultancy that helps elevate small businesses by telling their stories and their rich histories in the best electronic communication format that will reach the customers they serve.

Today, I sat in Mr. Collins shop to get an understanding of his client base. I watched a video he took and uploaded to YouTube of people playing the blues and making fun of Elvis in his auto shop. What other auto shop have you been to where you can sit and listen to blues live?

Your can see videos of Mr. Collins’ church services and a basketball team he coaches. This is a small business owner and a community member that can benefit most from a someone who truly understands the community and small business owners’ needs.


Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

December 22, 2011 at 12:23 am

stop being annoying on facebook

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this may be just a minor rant, but seriously… do you HAVE to abuse all of the facebook features made available to you? use the features in moderation, not to yell at people! a local company is annoying me on facebook. I’ll refer to them as “company a.”

when company a opened their doors, they created a group page in facebook. this was for friends of the owners and a place to give moral support. as company a grew their customer base, they decided to create a like page, (there were over 300 people on the group page already). on the group page, they begged and pleaded for their community members to go over to the like page. no one would budge.

the like page now has a fraction of the followers the group page has and is used to post the same content as the group page. multiple times during the week, the owner sends an email blast to everyone on the group page telling them about the musical guest performances, posts it on the group and like page walls, and sends everyone an event invitation! oh my goodness. overkill, right? where my real annoyance is, not only do they yell and scream at you and tell you to come to their event, but they do very little to respond to people who dare to post on their wall!

“so its okay for you to yell at me, and tell me what to do, but i can’t get a simple reply to my question about your menu? “

not okay.

stop being so annoying

  1. i understand wanting to reach your consumer three different ways… but that refers to 3 different platforms (i.e. facebook, twitter, email), not 3 ways in facebook!
  2. choose one or two features in facebook and stick with it. since company a usually has more than one guest performance in one week, use the event function and your wall to inform us. if facebook thinks your post important enough to show up in my news feed, i’ll find the information – otherwise, i’ll see you in my events.
  3. stop using the inbox feature. i don’t know you like that, we aren’t friends, i just like your food and atmosphere.
  4. turn the group page into a place where we can talk about the city and music. or the city and cocktails. or music. or cocktails. make this a place for good conversation. use your like page to promote your restaurant.

i hope i’ve made myself clear. please stop yelling at me on facebook. its annoying.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

February 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm

2010 in review

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The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 4 times


In 2010, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 21 posts. There were 10 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 27th with 31 views. The most popular post that day was the six word challenge.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for, pr agencies in durham north carolina, leah d gordon,, and pr firms in durham nc.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


the six word challenge March 2010


portfolio January 2010


work August 2009
1 comment


contact info August 2009


public relations is not advertising April 2010

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

January 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm

workshop: what’s the big deal? saturday, august 28, 10am

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what’s the big deal? why is everyone so consumed with facebook and twitter? are your friends, colleagues and children using social media? have people told you you need it for your business?

in “what’s the big deal?” i will introduce you to popular social media sites and show you what people are discovering and why they are online. you be the judge as to whether or not you want to integrate social media into your business practice and budget.

in this one hour workshop, i provide:

  • an overview of popular social media sites
  • networking opportunities via the social web
  • turning friends and followers into customers and clients

who: this workshop is for business owners, professionals responsible for communication and marketing at a mid-sized firms, thought and opinion leaders interested in building a brand located in the triangle (raleigh, durham, chapel hill).

when: saturday, august 28, 2010

cost: $30 per person.

how to register: fill out this form

where: durham technical community college, White building, Room #24
campus map

about leah d. gordon

leah d. gordon has worked diligently in public relations and communication roles since 2003. as a student of her craft, she develops, implements and supports communication and pr strategies.

she has formed and maintained relationships between organizations and their communities – both interpersonally and via the web. through these relationships, organizations have learned they have much to learn from their audiences.

as a graduate of the university of oregon’s school of journalism with a concentration in public relations, leah is the public information officer for an international public health project at the university of north carolina at chapel hill and consults small and mid-sized businesses and firms on integrating social media into their public relations, marketing and communication plans.

public relations is not advertising

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“oh, yeah. public relations. that’s like advertising right?”


the big distinction between advertising and public relations is paid ad space and free publicity. when advertising, you will always pay for ad space in a paper, a commercial on tv, a banner ad on a website, and so on. public relations will get you an article in the paper, an interview with a reporter, positive mention in front of a large audience and more – all at no cost.

another strong distinction between public relations and advertising is the level of creative control. since you are paying for the ad, you control what goes in it, how long it runs for and where it goes. on the other hand, when a press release is sent to the media, you have no control over how the media presents the your information, whether they decide to cover your information and for how long. this is why having a good strategist and relationship building is so important.

you want your message to be positive… you want it to be viral… you want it to have a long shelf life.

a public relations strategist will advise you on how best to engage with your publics, while being shed in the most positive light.

what yields the higher return?

the beauty of public relations is free publicity.

david michaelson, president of echo research and his research partner don stacks, a public relations professor at the university of miami found there is “no simple answer” when exploring the difference in the results from advertising and pr.

if you are just getting started, focus your energy in public relations. get to know your audience and allow your audience to get to know you! public engagement is a constant. there should be no end date nor  time constraints. simply be part of an ongoing conversation and interject your expertise to further the dialogue.

the social web is reshaping public relations as we now know it. i will discuss the inter-connectivity of the two in a later post in the ‘public relations defined‘ series.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

April 20, 2010 at 8:30 am

public relations defined

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you may heard the term “bad pr” when a celebrity perceived as perfect does the unthinkable, or when a major auto maker suddenly has a slue of recalls and is blamed for nearly 20 deaths nation-wide. but what does that mean?

“good pr” creates a positive persona, or perception of a person or a brand, or a person as a brand. pr strives to ensure a brand is shed in the most positive light possible.

the public relations society of america (prsa) defines public relations as: public relations helps and organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.

the role of a public relations person or team manages communication between the public and the organization. public relations has many functions to accomplish this communication including:

  • media relations
  • community relations
  • consumer relations
  • industry relations
  • governmental relations
  • political campaign management
  • interest-group representation
  • conflict mediation
  • employee relations
  • investor relations

public relations specialists must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups to establish and maintain cooperative relationships between them and representatives from print and broadcast journalism. the bureau of labor statistics provides an overview of pr specialists in its 2010-11 occupational handbook.

public relations vs marketing

the line between marketing and pr is often blurred. in my opinion the distinction lies between the relation to profit and people.

marketing promotes the transfer of goods and services from the producer and provider to the consumer. public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.
marketing‘s immediate goal is sales. public relations‘ immediate goal is mutual understanding or positioning of the organization with its publics.
marketing‘s implicit goal is profit. public relations‘ implicit goal is positive perceptions and predispositions.
marketing‘s measure of success is the number of sales and/or the revenue it generates. public relations‘ measure of success is expressed public opinion or other evidence of public suppor
northern kentucky university

what  does pr have to do with me?

a strong, positive relationship with your public can yield positive benefits for your business. through public relations, you can build trust among your audience, and turn them into customers, or supporters of your cause if you are a non-profit. if you are building a personal brand, relationships will encourage people to tell others about you.

public relations will allow you to control the story of your business. you want to control what people know about the business and how the business is perceived.

in my public relations series, i will cover functions of public relations and how it will help you build your business and your brand. more to come.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

April 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm

real-time communications for an international audience

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i recently returned from an international workshop held in beautiful guanajuato, mexico. my role was to advise the the international non-governmental organization (ngo) hosting the workshop on their knowledge management and communications strategy.

this ngo has a network that reaches 920+. only 100 people were able to attend the workshop due to space limitations. the network is particularly global, reaching health information specialists on every continent working to improve health systems for their local populations.

prior to submitting my strategy, i was aware the ngo was planning to give its website a facelift, provide more up-to-date information and incorporate a blog. their primary means for keeping in touch with their network is via a listserv that hosts very lively discussion and debate on health information system related topics almost quarterly.

the strategy

for this workshop in particular, the ngo wanted to keep everyone in the network abreast of each day’s events and discussions. in the knowledge management proposal i wanted to ensure information reached the network in a timely, readable, non-hassle manner for those in remote and low-bandwidth locations.

the strategy focused on knowledge distribution, knowledge preservation, and knowledge delivery. here’s an excerpt from the knowledge management strategy proposed:

knowledge distribution

usaid’s k4health 2009 health information needs assessment (pdf, 1.15mb) surveyed health professionals whose job functions include program manager, service provider, technical advisor, teacher/trainer, researcher/evaluator. Of the 90% percent of respondents which work in low and middle income countries, over 50% never use video conferencing software. email is the most commonly used technology used to communicate with other professionals in different locations.

knowledge preservation

tacit knowledge will be shared and captured through the use of powerpoints and documents (tacit made explicit). preserving the knowledge shared at the 2010 workshop will provide historical reference for HIS experts and practitioners. use of appropriate communication technologies will promote knowledge sharing and preservation from the 2010 workshop.

knowledge delivery

communication technology must be used to share knowledge and connect non-attendees to the workshop as it is happening. employing appropriate communication technology will achieve [the ngo’s] desire to engage its audience virtually.

everything i proposed was agreed upon, and off i went to guanajuato, mexico with less than two weeks for planning!

information communication technologies used.


i used the listserv the ngo already had in place. it is the most expected form of communication the recipients rely upon.


the daily reports sent to the listserv where mirrored on the ngo’s website to start moving towards their goal of keeping up-to-date, blog style information on the homepage of their site.

slideshare was instrumental in making presentations available in an accessible format for people across the world. the “youtube” for powerpoints standardized the files and compressed them for easy viewing. uploading was a bit of a hassle though, it took hours to upload some of the larger files, just to find out there was an error in uploading. after converting the larger files to .pdf, the uploading was almost a breeze.  if i was in another country with not-so-mature connectivity, uploading to slideshare would have been almost impossible. further planning ahead would be necessary to have presentations uploaded state-side.


along with many others, i used simple point-and-shoot digital cameras throughout the meeting. photos were taken, uploaded to my laptop and posted to photobucket.  after correcting lighting and red-eye issues in picassa, the upload process was seamless. the bulk uploader function in picassa really helped get photos posted quickly and efficiently. they were easily viewable by professionals off-site and in other countries and gave them the ability to see the participants engagement and activities daily.


i interviewed about three people everyday, asking them what messages they took away from speeches, activities, and what they felt about the workshop as a whole. i used my snazy little flip video cam. i attempted to upload to photobucket using the video upload feature, then youtube but experiences were a huge pain. once i got stateside, i uploaded to youtube and of course, it was a breeze.


i know people are not technically a technology, but they are integral in the communication process (of course). i organized rapporteurs to report daily on events and discussions since i could not be in every place at one time. the notes from rapporteurs will also be incorporated into the final workshop report to preserve knowledge from the 2010 workshop.

a joint press release was written with the co-hosting organization’s communications person to and submitted to local and national press.


this entire process was not quite the live conference blogging that is becoming more and more popular in the developed world, but confirms the desire by people around the world to have up-to-date almost real-time information to stay engaged and involved, although they are not present at the event. the organizing team received high praises from around the world and many thanks for keeping them up to date although they were unable to attend. they got to follow developments in the health information system world, cutting edge discussions and tools to improve their own health systems locally.