Archive for June, 2011

My Contrarian Google Post: Something New But Not Google+

Posted on June 30, 2011. Filed under: Content, Google, Search, Semantic Web, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Another Google Launch

Another Google Launch

Yesterday and today many of my fellow bloggers in the social media/online marketing space were abuzz about Google+. I was contemplating whether to add my slightly informed two cents to the discussion when I opened my browser. The home page is the New York Times and there, in a banner ad, one day after Google+ launched, was an invitation to demo the also new Google Voice for the desktop.

Google Voice

Get Google Voice!

I was so excited! Google Voice on my Droid is a great fave. It’s so much easier to speak my queries than to try to type them into the tiny browser pane on a phone – especially sitting at red lights. Granted voice search on mobile can be tricky at times, but what the mike hears – compared to what you’re actually searching for can be amusing – if not downright laugh-worthy.

Thinking about it for a moment, I wasn’t sure that voice search would be as valuable at my desk, since the typing thing isn’t as challenging as on mobile. It probably won’t help in multi-tasking as I can’t interrupt a phone call to speak search terms into a mike, but nonetheless I decided to give it a try right away.

All I needed for my demo was the latest version of the Google Chrome browser, which I already have downloaded and which I use sometimes – not always. When I do use it, I’m always bemused by the fact that the Start Internet button on Chrome has the MSN butterfly logo and when you click it, it brings up a big Bing search window. Is this Google generosity? I don’t know.

Anyhow, the instructions for demo-ing Google Voice were to go to Google.com, make sure your microphone is on and click on the microphone icon in the search pane.

I decided to test drive voice search with a search for the restaurant where I’m meeting a friend later. I didn’t remember the full name but we call it by the abbreviation, Sails. It’s named for the boating community of RowaytonConnecticutwhere it’s located. Can you see what’s coming??

After I clicked the mike icon, the ‘Speak Now’ thingy (the high tech name for it of course) activated and I said “Sails Rowayton.”

The results came up with variations on: Sales in Rowayton andNorwalk.

OK. Time to adjust. So I tried again with ‘Sails Restaurant Rowayton.”

Again I got a lot of stuff around Sales and some restaurant related results.

Then I thought that maybe it’s ‘Sails Grille’ so I tried that and Bingo! (not Bing Oh) I got results for “Sails American Grille Rowayton CT”

How funny that my first experience with Google Voice involved homonyms – sound alike/different meanings for the non-English majors. That’s trial by fire in my book. So I decided to try a less challenging search: “Norwalk Movies.”

A second after the sounds left my throat, there were the times of all the movies we might want to see after dinner at Sails. My typing-weary fingers said ‘Thank You” and fortunately Google Voice didn’t hear them and start a new search.

I don’t how useful it will ultimately be, but I kind of like speaking to the voice searcher at my desk – more than I like speaking to the devil women in voicemail menu hell. I have to admit that I actually yell at them sometimes.

I experience the voice searcher as a more generous entity, trying to help me find what I want without controlling me. We’ll get to know each other better and I’ll get better at figuring out how to get what I need from our ‘conversation.’ Maybe I’ll stick a note in Google’s suggestion box that they should hire Watson for the job. He’ll get the context and nuance. That’ll probably be the new Google launch next week.

Stay tuned. What’s your favorite new Google release?

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College of Online Marketing: A Never-ending Curriculum

Posted on June 29, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Media, News, Public Relations Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

No Graduation at College of Online

No Graduation at College of Online

I just spent 30 minutes getting up to speed on the Google+ Project announced yesterday – Google’s new social media network, currently in a limited field trial. It’s quite interesting and I’ll explore it further with you as it rolls out to everyone.

The point of this post, though, is that when it comes to keeping up with online/inbound marketing, we need to commit to constant and continuous education. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn about a new tool, app, initiative, issue or trend related to marketing and interacting on the Internet.

It’s exhilarating and sometimes exhausting to be part of such a rapidly evolving profession. But the benefits that Web-based technology can bring my clients – especially small businesses – make it worth burning the midnight oil or rising at summer dawn to read the latest information.

If you’re a business trying to figure out how to market your company online, it’s a good idea to get some background information – even if you are or will be working with an agency or consultant. Here’s a 101 class, a few best-selling books to read and blogs to follow – in addition to this one — that will help you understand how to best use the Web for your marketing.

  • “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” by David Meerman Scott. Clients of mine are currently reading this and it’s fun to see the lights going on for them as they learn why we’re better off putting resources into blogging than newspaper advertising.
  •  “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” the latest from David Meerman Scott.
  • “Inbound Marketing,” by HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the guys who defined and automated the inbound marketing process.
  • “Trust Agents,” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, the bible for understanding how and why the Web can help you build influence, improve your reputation and earn trust.

All of the above are published by John Wiley and Sons. Even if you’ve read them before, they bear perusing again from time to time.

In the blog/online media department, I regularly read:

Another important source of information for me is my online marketing community on Twitter. Follow me, see some of the people I follow, and check out my lists. You can take advantage of the news links they tweet every day.

So welcome to the College of Online Marketing, Class of Forever. Graduation day is not in the picture – unless the Big Power Outage comes. As long as it doesn’t, let’s consider ourselves online marketing lifelong learners.

What are your favorite sources for keeping up with the evolution of the Internet? Thanks for sharing!

Photo by J.o.h.n.Walker under Creative Commons License

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Tuesday Tweets

Posted on June 28, 2011. Filed under: Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

As I talk to businesses about inbound marketing and read research about adoption of social media, Twitter usually ends up the least understood and least used of the social media. So, today I’m introducing a new blog feature that you’ll find here every week — if it seems that people like it.

In an effort to shed light on using Twitter, Tuesday Tweets will feature actual tweets from my Twitter stream. I’ll give you my best take on why they were effective or why they didn’t hit the mark for me. Please share any great or gruesome tweets from your own feed in the comments. It’s all in the interest of learning – and hopefully we’ll have some fun, too.

And regardless of any critiques, I believe that following any of the people or companies included here has value.

elliebpr Thanks for following Ella. Look forward to learning more about virtual assistant services. Ellie

theofficeescape [thinking of something cool for my welcome message] :)

Tweet 1 – This was an exchange between me and a woman who had just followed me. I checked her profile out and found that she has a virtual assistant service – something that I’m interested in knowing more about. I might even want to engage such a service – maybe hers.

I followed her back and sent a personal direct mail that specifically addressed her service. See how she DM’d back. I can tell you that I would have preferred a personal reply, in kind, rather than a cool automated welcome message that wasn’t even thought of yet. I’m still following @theofficeescape, but the point I’m making is that we have to be vigilant for actual prospects/buyers in our day-to-day Twitter interactions.

eric_andersen Eric Andersen Ha! “@TEDTalk videos are like a Kiss or a chip…you think you just want one” http://j.mp/lj3DuJ #tedxboston23 minutes ago

Tweet 2 - @eric_anderson is a seasoned Twitterati who I’ve been following for a long time. I liked this tweet. It was humorous and had the ring of truth for me as I’ve occasionally started watching one TED video and gotten sucked in to watching numbers of others. For that reason I resisted clicking on the link. I finally succumbed, but the thought of eating a whole can of chips made me click off after watching the one video, which was interesting.

marketstrategy Strategic Marketing Google+: First Impressions – Google has just unveiled Google+, its ambitious answer to Facebook. It turns all of Goo… http://ow.ly/1dv2rV

Tweet 3 –  I don’t know about you, but I find tweets that go beyond the allotted 140 characters annoying. I’m eternally interested in all things Google, which is innovating constantly. So I clicked on the link anyway. Turns out that @marketstrategy copied and pasted the first paragraph of a story on Mashable.com that’s really important. Google+ apparently turns Google into a giant social network in an effort to compete with Facebook. It seems a bit lazy not to take the opportunity to write a great headline with social value, like: Google Fights Facebook on Social Battlefield by Becoming a Social Network. Then I would have added the short link and given credit a la via @mashable. Market Strategy wasn’t too strategic in this tweet.

chuckfrey Chuck Frey I maintain a to-do list with priorities and deadlines in a mind map. Helps me to get organized & focused. #ktt

Tweet 4 – @chuckfrey is my new go-to guy on mind mapping – a topic I’m learning more about as a creative and productivity tool. I liked this short and to the point tweet that shared a practical way to use mind mapping. The hashtag #ktt belongs to Kitchen Table Talks, part of a venture of @chrisbrogan and @joesorge.

jaimy_marie Jaimy Szymanski Spending the afternoon crafting an SEO strategy and staring across the table at @andrea_judith. Eye contact … NOW

Tweet 5 - This tweet made me smile. Even though I don’t know who @andrea_judith is, @jaimy_marie  painted a picture that I can identify with, having spent many a day in strategy sessions that needed just such a mental break. She often gives insights to her life in very relatable ways. Perfect for social.

Please pluck a tweet from your feed and give us your review!

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Writing as Conversation: 7 Do’s and 7 Don’ts to Find Your Voice

Posted on June 27, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Reputation Management, Small Business, Social Media, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

In previous posts I’ve mentioned my daily email vocabulary builder, A Word A Day (www.wordsmith.org). It’s free and if you’re blogging and trying to spiff up your writing, I recommend you sign up. A Word A Day also includes a Thought for Today, a wise quote from a variety of sources. This morning’s quote inspired this post.

“Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation.” -Laurence Sterne, novelist and clergyman (1713-1768) 

Age of Conversation

Writing as Conversation

I love the idea of writing as conversation. Straight from the 18th century comes a concept as fresh as though it were communicated for the first time in 2011. Contrary to the sales-y communications of traditional advertising, or the corporate-speak of the last generation (and in some cases the current generation) of company websites, or the overly-nuanced language of press releases, writing in a social, Web 2.0 world calls for a different – and conversational — style.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about you and wondering what you might have to contribute on this topic. Also, I’m hoping that you will add to it. We’re all learning new tools and new tactics everyday. So conversing to pool our knowledge, experience and wisdom is a very good thing.

 When we communicate verbally, though, it’s easier to have our personalities come through. In addition to the visual cues in-person talk provides, it’s somehow more spontaneous when words spill from our lips and don’t require fingers on keyboards lagging behind a thought process.

Nonetheless, we’re all communicating in writing all the time these days – especially in emails, on blogs and on social media sites. So please allow me to offer a few thoughts about finding an authentic voice for written conversation.

  • Do write as though you were speaking.
  • Don’t over think the first draft. You can – and should – always go back and edit.
  • Do share occasional personal thoughts, perceptions and experiences when they serve to illustrate a point.
  • Don’t go overboard with personal info. Learn to walk a line that offers an authentic peek at who you are, while retaining a business-like decorum.
  • Do use interesting words and turns of phrase.
  • Don’t use industry jargon — and no off-color language.
  • Do try for humor at moments that can benefit from a bit of lightening up or to poke fun at yourself for some human foible that anyone can relate to.
  • Don’t make jokes at someone’s expense – including your own. Leave sarcasm and snark out of the equation. It’s not attractive.
  • Do be polite. Welcome your readers, acknowledge them and thank them.
  • Don’t be overly-solicitous; it’s not credible. Invite disagreement.
  • Do be a cheerleader for others. Use your content to include their ideas and praise their achievements.
  • Don’t promote your own stuff exclusively
  • Do listen for what’s important to your audience/s.
  • Don’t assume you know what’s important to others. Asking questions is divine.

And so I’ll conclude with this question…

How have you found your conversational writing voice?

 

Photo by Kris Hoet Under Creative Commons License

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The Thrill of Possibility, or Why I Love the Web

Posted on June 26, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Media, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

One of the main reasons I’ve always loved my career in public relations and marketing is the sense of possibility that pervades the practice. You start with nothing but an idea and you turn it into a campaign that can make something happen that would not have happened otherwise. Every time I’ve ever distributed a press release I’ve had the thought, “OK. Now let’s see what happens.”

Now that we work over the web, the anticipation and excitement of possibility is exponentially greater. With each tweet, blog post, social media release, Facebook post, new web page, free ebook offer, video on YouTube, each and every piece of content created, there is the possibility that life will change in some way. It’s a very motivating thought.

Here’s a short list of opportunities that have arisen or things that have changed in my life and the lives of others thanks to what we’ve created online:

I joined the Jazz in Business group on LinkedIn to connect two passions and met a business consultant/author/speaker/musician from the UK– Peter Cook. We’re networking across the web and learning more about each other’s capabilities. Despite geographic distance I believe that our friendship will lead to business some time in the future. Follow him on Twitter - @academyofrock. Or buy his terrific book on Amazon.

A friend made the commitment a year ago to blog every day. Not only did he grow traffic to his blog more than 10-fold, but last week received a book offer from a publisher who’d been reading his posts.

On LinkedIn I reconnected with a PR colleague who moved to another state a few years ago. The next week she introduced me to a business lead.

One Friday afternoon I dashed off a blog post that was selected for the WordPress Freshly Pressed home page feature out of some half-a-million posts that day. Almost two thousand new people visited my blog as a result, a number of whom became and remain subscribers. A shout-out to all of you. Thanks for reading!

A couple of years ago I created a hashtag #notatsxsw in jealousy of all those who were tweeting from the South By Southwest Festival in Austin with the hashtag #atsxsw. Immediately I got replies from a group of young #socialmedia folks in Chicago who were sitting around having a few drinks and lamenting that they weren’t there either. We began following each other. One guy @joshhersh – @joshicago – just launched an online business www.daycation.com – @mydaycation – which I was pleased to help him promote to my various communities.

Relationships I’ve built on Twitter and elsewhere have led to invitations for guest posts on significant websites – expanding my reach far beyond my own communities.

These are just a few business relationships and opportunities that have resulted from embracing the possibilities of the web. However sometimes the pay-off is REALLY life changing.

 Almost six years ago I sent a quick email to a guy who had a wonderful profile on match.com — and found Jeff Levine www.levinecounseling.com the love of my life!Jeff Levine in his Office

 Who knows what might happen when I hit the publish button for this post. But I’m excited about the possibilities!!!!!!!

What are some of the interesting things that have resulted from your online efforts?

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Your Fabulous Face! Where is it?

Posted on June 25, 2011. Filed under: Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

We wouldn’t put bags over our heads to go to a party. But those who don’t provide an online photo in their content or social media interactions are performing the digital equivalent. The nature of social is that it’s not anonymous.


 

Here’s what prompted this post. This morning I had a few emails from Twitter announcing new followers. Two of them had the default Twitter egg icon where a photo of the person should have been.

 Now, I always check out the profiles of people who follow me to see if their tweets are interesting to me and add to my knowledge or extend my reach to a particular community or network. If so, I’ll follow back.

 However, when the Twitter email shows an egg next to the Twitter handle, I rarely do. I like seeing who I might be creating a social media relationship with.

 After checking out the Twitter follow invitations with photos, I went over to Linked In to look at the list of suggested folks I might want to invite to connect. There were so many blank spaces next to names where photos should have been. That means that there was no photo on those people’s profiles either.  I found myself sending invitations only to people I could see.

 In one of those moments where you say, how come I didn’t think of this before, it dawned on me that lots of people still don’t understand the importance of a photo in social media – or simply don’t know how to get one up there – and maybe I could be helpful to them by writing a post about the importance of photos.

 If your fabulous face is already online, great. Please pass this along to any friends who may still be faceless. If you don’t have a photo online do it today. If you’re concerned that it’s too time consuming to upload a photo for every blog you comment on, social media site you join or the many other online activities you engage in, I’m going to make it easy for you.

 Just go get a gravatar – a Globally Recognized Avatar. Navigate to www.gravatar.com, open a free account – which takes a minute or two — upload the photo you want to use to represent you online and voila!! In a short while, your gravatar will follow you all over the web – almost wherever you go.

 Just a couple of tips – use a head shot – not a full body image. Your gravatar will appear as a thumbnail and full body shots can barely be seen. Make it friendly. Smile!! Unless you’re creating a gravatar for a business where a company logo would be appropriate, use your own face. Not a cute picture of your puppy or your favorite flower or whatever.

 Aside from being more social, the best reason to get a gravatar on line is that a picture is more memorable than an online handle. In fact, you may have numbers of online handles – but you only have one face. Your gravatar becomes your individual logo. As you leave your mark around the internet, you’ll become a recognizable Brand You!

By the way…today’s musical post is That Face, written and sung by Alan Bergman, half of a legendary composing duo with his wife Marilyn – for whom he wrote the song and won her heart!!!

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Centerpiece of a Successful Inbound Marketing Plan: A Proven Process

Posted on June 22, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Two posts ago I promised to talk about having an online marketing plan. I got distracted but am now tracking back to this important topic. Part of the post will be about Hubspot, the Boston company that has embraced inbound marketing and made its mission to help businesses – including mine – coordinate and analyze their rather complex inbound marketing activities.

In honor of Hubspot – the centerpiece of my inbound marketing plan — I’m offering a musical post – my old friend, jazz scat singer and ‘hipster’ Giacomo Gates singing the Harry “Sweets” Edison tune Centerpiece, with lyrics by Jon Hendricks. Onward!


Centerpiece of inbound marketing: A proven process

Many small to mid-size businesses (SMSB) are confused about online/inbound marketing. They think that if they’re on Facebook and/or other social media they’re good to go. Or they’ll go out and hire an SEO agency to get them higher in search results. Let’s say that all builds traffic. Then what??

Traffic doesn’t help unless you convert it to leads and nurture leads to convert them to customers – or better, advocates for your company. Generating traffic is only the first top-of-the-sales-funnel step to building business using the web. And let’s agree that the web is our best chance for growth.

It helps to have a good strategic grasp of the big picture, a process and a plan. Or you may expend a lot of effort in online activities, but with no clear idea of how or whether it will help you get to your business goals. Even I whose business is helping others build their web presence have struggled with my own efforts. We haven’t been doing this stuff all that long, after all. Read this recent blog post and you’ll see what I mean. A process and plan definitely help.

I remember complaining to Hubspot founder and CEO Brian Halligan – who practically invented inbound marketing with his partner Dharmesh Shah – that I know Hubspot works and believe in the process, but time was so tight and I was hoping to do it soon – on and on.

Brian listened to my excuses and with a big grin on his face said, “Get with the program, girl. You just have to commit to it and do it.” Well, he was so cute and he’s so brilliant that I couldn’t argue with his advice. I didn’t even mind that he called me ‘girl’. He got away with it, I got with the program. And so can you!!!

However you decide to pursue building your business online, you have to put a plan in place that addresses the following:

  • Get found
  • Convert
  • Analyze

Each of these pieces has a number of moving parts and choices to make.

Getting Found

To get found, you have to build great searchable content. Blogging works best. You have to optimize your site and the content you create. That’s where SEO comes in as a supporting player. Not a be-all-end-all.

Convert

To convert the traffic you’ll build, you’ll want to offer useful content in exchange for contact info. At first, when a potential buyer is in the information gathering stage or they don’t know your company yet, maybe all they’ll be willing to give for your content is an email address. That’s fine. Keep cranking out helpful content and eventually they’ll be willing to give more in return.

At this point you can nurture the relationship with emails or even phone calls – more direct interactions. The better relationship you build, the better chance you’ll make the sale when your prospect is ready.

Case in point is my relationship with Hubspot. I partook – and still do — of the incredible volume of content they produce – often feeling like an absolute glutton – until I pulled the trigger and became a customer. In the interest of full disclosure, as an inbound marketing consultant, I’m also a Hubspot Partner and Reseller.

Analyze

The most critical aspect of your online marketing plan is analytics. Hopefully you use a web analytics program. Google Analytics is very robust — and free. So no excuses. Google keeps adding features so that you can track most of your online existence these days. If you don’t measure what’s working and what’s not, you can’t refine your online plan to the make the best use of your time and budget. None of us small/medium company entrepreneurs have anything to waste – so measure.

I promise you can make progress toward your revenue goals if you first understand the process of inbound marketing, choose the right tools/tactics and analyze your activities. You’ll be accountable to your prospects, customers AND your bottom line with a process as the centerpiece of your plan.

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In Defense of True Journalists

Posted on June 15, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Communications, Media, Newspapers, Public Relations Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

First, apologies. I promised this post would follow up the last with a system for online marketing. I’ll deliver that next post. Today, however, I attended an event that got me thinking about journalists and what they’re going through in the evolution of media and have some thoughts to share.

This afternoon I attended the annual meeting of the Fairfield County Public Relations Association, a PR professional organization founded in 1958. I proudly served as its president in the mid 1990’s.

Coming out of the PR profession, I’ve spent my career interacting with journalists, offering them story ideas, articles and sometimes just the camaraderie of people who make up two parts of an equation.

As much as the rise of the Internet has changed the lives of PR people, I believe it’s changed life more for journalists. I recognize that the web lets me take my clients’ stories directly to their constituents. I can bypass the media and go direct to our audiences with useful information that they will embrace.

I blog and write a monthly column for a business journal. I share with you my experience, expertise and take on what’s going on in the online marketing world. But I’m not a journalist and don’t pretend to be.

I truly hope the definition and characteristics of true journalism stay alive. Journalists are committed to reporting the facts. They vet their sources. They report on what’s going on more than they opine. They’re trained to have a nose for what’s newsworthy. So do PR people, but journalists are charged with digging to get both sides of an issue, rather than advocating for only one side of the story.

importance of Journalists

Journalists play a key role in our democratic society

The keynote speaker for today’s meeting was Julia Hood, president of the Arthur W. Page Society, a membership organization for senior PR and corporate communications executives. Julia pointed out that PR people are supposed to advocate for our clients, despite recent crises to the contrary (i.e. Facebook/Burson-Marsteller). It’s our charge to be truthful, but not necessarily impartial. That’s the role of journalists. Nonetheless, I’ve seen fabulous reporters dumped from newsrooms as daily newspapers struggle to evolve and figure out their role. Who will take up that slack?

The incoming president of FCPRA, Marian Salzman, CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America pointed out rightly that, although corporate America has lagged behind, hyper-local is the current focus of people and the media that reflects their interests. Hyper local media is experimenting with combining professional and citizen journalism as a way to cover the local news, taking advantage of expanded digital platforms.

That’s interesting and it’s good that they’re employing some journalists, probably not at great pay levels. But I hope we don’t lose the desire to support the kind of skeptical, truth-seeking journalists I’ve discoursed and partnered with to get great stories out, negotiated and disagreed with over newsworthiness and whether something represented a trend, cursed out under my breath when they just didn’t get something I thought was important.

Many of these incredible pros have been riffed out of newsrooms because of downsizing. I spent time with a few today. PR leaders like Bob Dilenschneider have added some of these amazing – now former – journalists to his global PR consulting team. I am intrigued about what they in conjunction with an evolving PR profession will envision together for the future.

What they provide needs an ongoing place in our culture and our political system. It’s not melodramatic to say that they are at the heart of our democracy — moreso than any politician who claims that turf for him- or herself.

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How to Succeed Online – But Not Without Trying

Posted on June 14, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , |

The other night I watched the Tony Awards. I’m really not a fan of awards shows, but living not far from The Great White Way, the Tonys give me a preview of what I might want to grab tickets for. What do the Tonys have to do with online marketing? Nothing, really, but one of the featured shows sparked my thinking for this post.

I’ve considered seeing “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” I saw the original with Robert Morse and the last revival with Matthew Broderick. So I wanted to watch a number from the current revival starring Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.

How to Succeed Playbill

Daniel Radcliffe needs Wizarding Ways to Succeed in Online Marketing Without Trying

As I waited for the segment, I thought about how many people I’d spoken with about inbound marketing during the business week who said, “Yes, but isn’t that a lot of work?” If the name of the show were “How to Succeed Online Without Really Trying,” Mr. Radcliffe would be wise to hang on to his wizarding ways. Because that just doesn’t happen in the real world.

Using your web presence to build revenues entails an array of efforts. But so did a well integrated traditional marketing program when people didn’t have voice mail, tiVo and other ways to avoid the marketing messages we pushed out. When it comes to online marketing, I think that people still don’t feel comfortable with the some of its elements. Maybe they’ll pick one or two things like being on Facebook or LinkedIn. But that’s not enough.

It starts with understanding your customers, recognizing that they’re already online – and that’s where you have the best chance to connect with them. Of course you have to do a bit of homework to find out where on line they are. The Internet’s a big place after all (World Wide Web, remember?)

But the Web is also a very searchable place; so finding them is do-able. Then you have to attract them, give them reasons to trust you and respect your knowledge, and be the company they turn to when they’re ready to buy.

It is a process that takes a lot of work – although it’s not as much as many may imagine. You may have to do some things that fall outside your comfort zone, like write a blog on a regular basis, or share your expertise in Twitter tweets. But I’m sure that the added revenues will more than make up for the time investment. Once you buy into the logic and have a plan, you can succeed. You just have to try!

Now having a plan and a system is the key concept here. I’ll talk more about that in the next post.

Do you have an online marketing plan? If not, what are your roadblocks??

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Social Media: Your Reputation on Steroids

Posted on June 6, 2011. Filed under: Crisis Management, Marketing, Reputation Management, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I was so dismayed tonight – but not surprised — to hear New York U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner’s press conference awhile ago coming clean about his posting of improper photos to various women on social media.

I really don’t want to talk about him. But the whole disgusting affair makes me want to share my thoughts with you about the importance of protecting your good reputation online.Keep your rep angelic

Now consider that my background is in public relations. I’ve spent my career counseling clients about how to communicate their value while maintaining their dignity and credibility. I’ve spent countless hours going over copy, press releases, speeches and other materials to be sure that the chosen words are in keeping with the client’s values and that there’s nothing that could be misinterpreted in a way that would cast doubt on the client’s reputation.

Let’s shift to the online world where we tend to dash off emails and texts and blog posts and where we feel more relaxed than in the more formal communications of yesteryear. Beware. It only takes one off-message tweet or blog post to cast doubt on your positioning, message or culture. Those messages last forever online.

Be in the moment but don’t be impulsive. Take a minute or two to re-read what you’re about to send out to the universe. And listen to your gut. If anything gives you a little raising of the hackles on the back of your neck – EDIT!! Make sure that everything you write is in keeping with your mission, with your audiences’ expectations and your own self respect.

You know, when I am deciding whether to follow someone on Twitter, I go to their profile and read about a dozen recent tweets to see if they have anything to contribute to me and my Twitter stream. Recently I performed that ritual when a new local brand selling a family and environmentally-friendly product followed me.

I scrolled through their previous day’s tweets and found that they re-tweeted a tweet that included a profanity. That tweet communicated bad judgment and lack of sophistication in their marketing. It really turned me off.

But social media marketer that I am, I felt compelled to share a bit of well-meant advice. I sent a direct (private) message that said: Thnx for following. Congrats! Friendly tip…Keep curse words out of your tweets and RTs. It’s counter to your brand image.

I haven’t had a response, but hope they took it in the positive spirit that was meant. My message to you is to make sure to protect your reputation online with every tweet, update and post. We can be open, authentic, and personal. But it’s crucial that we understand where to draw the line online. If you put it out there, it’s out there forever. Make it worthy, make it valuable and do your best to share your finest attributes.

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