Monday, August 22, 2011

Tips for Egg Donors and Agencies: Profile Pictures by Guest Blogger Gail Sexton Anderson, Ed.M.

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. Yet, I’m still surprised when I see some of the pictures that egg donors submit to be published with their profile. Overall, I think the quality of pictures has improved dramatically over the last several years. Or, more to the point,agencies are choosing more wisely when they select which photos to publish.

Nonetheless, there are a few photo problems that happen often enough that I think they are worth mentioning. Most of these issues can be fixed easily without taking away from the integrity of the donors appearance and in fact would make her more appealing to potential intended parents:

1) Red eye, this is such an easy fix with all of the photo packages that come with most computers these days.

2) Blurry images that make it difficult to see what the donor looks like. If that is the only picture you have of the donor you have got to get more or take her off your site until she can supply you with better quality pictures.

3) Pictures with other people in them, try your best to cut out other people. I do before I send them on to my clients to keep from distracting from the donor.

4) If the other people are family members label them clearly

5) Pictures that are too small and that can’t be enlarged by clicking on the image. I love the images that can be enlarged and maintain high resolution. It makes for a much better impression of the donor.

6) Intended parents often object to party pictures where the donor has a drink in her hand.

7) Intended parents also object to the vamping/sexy pictures. You know the ones where the donor looks like she is going to seduce the camera. She should look like a future daughter not like a sex kitten.

8) Think about what is in the background of the pictures. So many donors take pictures of themselves with their cell phone in their bathroom or a messy bedroom or in one case in a public bathroom with a bank of stalls behind her.

9) Obvious tattoos and piercings. We all know these things are not hereditary but intended parents are easily distracted and may make unfair assumptions about the donor.

10) Only use good hair day pictures. We all have bad hair day pictures but do we want them posted? Even if the donor is blind enough to give you the pictures from the day she decided purple hair would be fun if she normally has brown hair leave out Miss Purple Hair, again distracting.

11) Try to have at least one or two childhood pictures along with the current photos. Intended parents like to see the donor at different ages.

Intended parents want to feel like they know the donor since they probably won’t be able to meet her. The pictures should help to tell a story of who this donor is as an individual. If you don’t already you may want to take a few pictures of the donor when you meet her. Let her know that she will be having her picture taken and ask her to apply light, natural makeup and to dress simply in a nice top and jeans in solid colors that complement her coloring. This way you can see her build in a tasteful way and prints will not detract from her face. It may be well worth it to have some professional pictures taken if you are not particularly good at photography. One of the nicest sights has three simple shots of each donor taken at the interview. It is simple, straight forward and tasteful. I find the intended parents respond very well to this sight. While it is nice to have more pictures it is possible to have too many 3-9 good shots are usually ample to get a sense of what the donor looks like.

Gail Sexton Anderson has dedicated her career to helping intended parents from all walks of life to build families. She founded Donor Concierge as a compassionate approach to helping intended parents sort through the gauntlet of egg donor and surrogacy options. Gail has developed working relationships with many excellent egg donor and surrogacy programs, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility attorneys, and mental health professionals specializing in third party fertility counseling she has known and trusted for years.

Monday, August 15, 2011

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment by Pat Flynn

If you enable comments on your blog (which I’m sure most of you do), then you obviously want your readers to interact by leaving comments after your post. Then why, I ask, does it usually end up being a one-sided conversation?

It’s like giving a presentation to a group of people and not responding to questions and comments from your audience. It just seems rude, but for some reason it has become standard for bloggers not to reply to comments made on their post.

So much for “interaction”.

For big-time bloggers with several comments on each post, it would obviously be tough to respond to each and every single comment. But you have to admit that it is nice to when the big names take the time to respond to some of the comments, right?

The truth is, most of us are not “big time” bloggers and we do have the time to respond. And yet – we don’t.

In Step #6 of 6 Steps To An Effective Guest Post, it mentions:

“If you are fortunate enough to get your site published, the work is not over yet. All your efforts should go into promoting that article and taking part in any comments that may be posted.

Why is this something that only guest posters should do? Every blogger should be doing it on their own posts too.

For the past several months, I’ve been doing my best to respond to each and every single comment on my own blog, just to see what would happen. The response has been nothing less than amazing. In fact, people have pointed out that they love that I respond to almost every comment, and some of my readers have even emailed me just to say thanks.

So what’s the real benefit? Why should you invest a few extra minutes to respond to your readers? Here are 5 reasons to do so:

1. It Encourages People To Comment

People don’t leave comments just so they can be left unread. By replying, you’re not only letting people know that you’re actively involved in reading the comments, but you’re encouraging them to come back and comment again later.

Furthermore, people who don’t normally comment may be happy to do so knowing that their comment will indeed be read.

2. It Adds to the Quality of Your Posts

A reply can often lead to side conversations within the commenting area that add to the content and overall quality of your post. Your points will be explained further, new points will be brought up, and questions that people may have get answered.

Also, new people will join the side conversations and add their own comments that they wouldn’t have normally made otherwise.

3. It Helps With Search Engine Optimization

Comments on your blog posts do in fact help with search engine optimization, although admittedly in a minimal way.

More comments, including your own, usually mean more instances of the keywords that you used in your blog post, which means you’re more likely to be found in the search engines for those terms.

Additionally, new terms that you did not use in your blog post will be brought up and discussed, which could potentially help you for those terms as well.

4. It Adds More Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people’s decisions are influenced by making the assumption that surrounding people know more about certain situations than you do.

For example, if you’re at the mall and you see a huge crowd of people around a particular store, chances are that you’re going to walk over and see what the big deal is. In a similar way, you might be more inclined to follow a certain blogger in a niche just because they have more subscribers and followers than others.

In most cases, your own comments will count towards the overall comment count of your post. Respond to 15 comments, and you’ll have a total comment count of 30, which looks more far more impressive and interesting to your readers and any new visitors to your blog.

5. It Helps You Build Authority and Credibility

Finally, by responding to each comment, you’re establishing yourself as a go-to expert in your niche. You become more “real” and are seen as someone who actually takes time to care for your readers, which adds value to you and your blog.

Because responding to comments is abnormal, you’ll stand out of the crowd like no other. And if you can leave thoughtful, meaningful comments, you’ll make that much more of an impact on your readers.

It doesn’t take very much extra time, and the return on investment can be phenomenal. So why not give it a shot?

Try responding to every comment and see what happens.

So What Do You Think?

How do you feel when a blogger responds to a comment you left on his or her blog? Do you think it’s worth the time and effort to do so, or are we just wasting our time?

Please leave a comment below, and tell me what you think.


About the Author: After getting laid off back in 2008, Pat Flynn has since created an online empire, starting multiple online businesses which earn him well over 6-figures a year in passive income. He writes about online business and blogging on The Smart Passive Income Blog. You can also download his free eBook, eBooks the $mart Way, which reveals all of Pat’s secrets to writing and automating a killer eBook for your blog or business.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Time to Plan Your ASRM Annual Meeting Agenda! Put These Suggestions on Your List!

Have you looked at your ASRM Program yet? If you have attended this great conference in the past then you know that all of the courses and roundtables fill up fast! The post grad course I am participating in is offered on page 15, Course PG1 offered on Saturday the 10/15. The Psychology and Ethics of Marketing a Mental Health Practice in Infertility. William Petok, Ph.D, and Jeffery E. Barnett, Psy.D. are also on the faculty with me! Not to be missed opportunity to learn about marketing your practice or business! Turn to page 50 and you will find #RTT19 Demystifying Gestational Surrogacy luncheon roundtable hosted by me as well! This is found under Mental Health! Remember these roundtables include lunch and are limited! This one is offered on Tuesday October 18th! I hope to see you there!