PepperMill April 2015

Tim’s Gettin’ Famous


A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be on an interesting Internet-based show, HR in the Fast Lane. It’s hosted by one of my favorite people, Nicole Martin, founder and CEO of HR Boost, an HR services consultancy and outsourcing company.

Nicole is a knowledgeable and polished host for her 15-minute shows. She features guests who are leaders at companies that have interesting cultures or innovative services for HR excellence. I had the chance to share our recent initiatives for helping our clients communicate on a higher level with their employees and recruits.

What intrigued me most was this new format. Nicole’s show is only one of about 50 on a network called MeetAdvisors. There are already hundreds of shows that have been recorded and published to the site. And Pepper Group is going to have our own channel on MeetAdvisors soon!

We’re going to feature our clients and their multi-faceted businesses and experiences. The backstories of how they play in their marketplaces never cease to amaze us. The passion they bring and their attention to detail are fascinating.

In addition, we’ll help our clients start their own channels to feature their clients and employees. Pepper Group is going to dedicate some of our new space to build a small video studio to create the shows and we expect to be in operation within the next 30 days.

If you’ve got an extra few minutes, check out my recent appearance and see how the format works. And if you’d like more information about being a guest on one of our shows—or starting a channel for your company—give me a shout. It’s a new and exciting way to build quality content for sharing via your digital marketing.

Lights, camera, content!


“Success is really about being ready for the good opportunities that come before you. It’s not to have a detailed plan of everything that you’re going to do. You can’t plan innovation or inspiration, but you can be ready for it, and when you see it, you can jump on it.”
—Eric Schmidt

“Sometimes creativity is a compulsion, not an ambition.”
—Ed Norton


Client Spotlight: Premier Payment Systems

Whether you’re selling burritos or business software, credit card processing is an essential part of doing business.

There are myriad processors constantly promising you a “better deal.” But multiple pricing structures, varying rates, tons of small fees and long contracts make it an incredibly confusing and complex environment. Premier Payment Systems was founded on the belief that there is a better way: one that is clearly different from the status quo, where merchants will feel empowered with a stronger understanding of the processing business. Premier operates with total transparency and a focus on industry education. The ultimate goal: to lift the veil on a complex industry structure so Premier’s customers can make better business decisions for themselves, reducing their anxiety and creating strong partnerships that can help their businesses thrive.

However, Premier’s old online presence did a poor job of telling that story. Pepper Group helped Premier identify a strong brand message and then create an entirely new website that made the difference clear, focusing on how Premier helps customers understand the market, get the scoop on their own processing statements and make good decisions. Straightforward and easy to navigate, it puts empowering information at the fingertips of prospects who are looking for a better way. In addition, to support Premier’s goal of providing valuable education to the industry while generating awareness and driving inbound traffic, Pepper Group launched a comprehensive content marketing program that includes ongoing content creation and social media outreach, with an education series in the works.  

If your company accepts credit cards—or if you want to see how we helped Premier simplify their message to show the clear difference they provide to customers—visit

5 Advanced Tips for Using LinkedIn More Effectively

LinkedIn is quickly closing in on 350 million users globally, with about 110 million of them in the U.S. According to, 40% of these users log in at least once per day! No doubt the platform has become ubiquitous. As a PepperMill reader, you most likely know your way around the tool, so we’ll spare you the obvious tips.

Instead here are five quick nuggets that you might not know:

Protect Yourself Against Hackers. I’ve seen how embarrassing it can be when your entire network gets an email from you asking if they’re interested in a new investment opportunity. Aside from changing your password to something other than “password,” you can protect yourself with two-factor authentication. It’s simple. Click on your personal icon in the upper right corner and then “manage” privacy and settings. On the bottom left of this page click “account” and then “manage security settings.” Then just turn on two-step verification. It won’t slow you down in the future either. I highly recommend it.

See Exactly How Many Connections Someone Has. With so many people having more than 500 connections, I don’t know why LinkedIn still stops at “500+.” But if you ever want to know the exact number, all you have to do is click on the drop-down arrow to the right of the big blue and/or gray buttons on the top of the profile page and select “see recent activity.” The exact number of connections is listed as followers in the upper right corner.

Get Value from the Pulse Blog. LinkedIn recently opened up Pulse and is allowing everyone to be a content creator. If your article is good and people share it with their networks, it could get thousands of views. A big success could have a huge impact for your business. The more people who start posting, however, the harder it will be to stand out. So don’t delay. On your home page, look for the newly added pencil icon that says “publish a post.” Make sure it’s fresh content though. Don’t duplicate your blog.

Find the Full Name of People Who Hide It. Did you ever see a contact that says “John D.?” What is John’s last name? Want to find out? Just copy his title, company and location and paste it into a Google search. The top result will usually be his LinkedIn page with his full name at the top. Busted.

Export Your Connections. Did you know that you can export your entire list of connections to Excel? This can be useful in a number of ways. Simply choose “connections” from the main navigation (the actual word, not one of the drop-down options). Then, you’ll see a little gear in the upper right corner. Click it and you’ll be taken to a page where “export LinkedIn Connections” is at the top of the right hand column.

We hope you found something new and valuable in this list. If you’re interested in learning more about how to leverage social tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to move your business forward, let’s talk!

George Couris

Double Take: Content About Content

Content is everywhere. It’s everything you read and watch, from a blog post to a whitepaper, newsletter, guide, video, webinar, magazine, book, soap opera, infomercial, infographic, handbook, social media post, app, eBook, online forum, event, case study, illustration, presentation, website, podcast, brochure, sell sheet and anything else in between. In short, content is any information that helps marketers achieve their goals.

Join Joe and Sharla as they provide informative content about content.



YouTubin’: FX Wizard

24-year-old Zach King is one of the most promising visual effects artists today. Zach lives in Los Angeles and has been intensely interested in film-making since he was given a home video camera at the age of seven. In 2011, he posted a video entitled Jedi Kittens on YouTube that he and a college friend had produced. The video gained more than a million views in three days and a viral video “King” was born.

Zach is now one of the most entertaining personalities on YouTube and Vine. Ideas pop into his head, or are suggested by viewers, and then he creates amazingly convincing “digital sleight of hand” effects to make the impossible seem real. Here is a compilation of his best tricks from last year:

And if you can't get enough of the guy, check out his spectacular new spoof created with 3 rolls of duct tape, 108 glue sticks, 18 large boxes of cardboard, and few all nighters with an adorable puppy.

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood