Internet Traffic

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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Blogging Lessons from Dumas: More Words = More Money

Posted on May 31, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Yikes! It’s the last day of May and to my horror I recognize that I haven’t yet posted to my blog this month. Yesterday something I read really got me focused on this.
Under CC by clicsouris
For years I’ve subscribed to a great free vocabulary builder called A Word a Day. (It also includes an often-inspiring Thought for the Day.) Monday’s word usage example was from an article in the Christian Science Monitor by Erik Spanberg about Alexandre Dumas’ the Count of Monte Cristo. Spanberg explained that Dumas’ tendency to be wordy – even overly wordy – was “induced by the simple formula that the more he wrote, the more money he made.”

Fast forward to our online world and the formula holds true in spades. Hubspot — which put the oomph in Inbound Marketing — has done research that shows that businesses that blog get 55% more website traffic. And the more you blog the more traffic you get and the more opportunities to convert visitors to leads who will become customers by and by with proper nurturing.

Indeed I teach this to my clients and spend chunks of my billable time helping them to post regularly. All of a sudden I find myself suffering from Shoemaker’s Child Syndrome. I know for a fact that my business will grow faster if I blog more, yet here I am scrambling to not have a goose egg next to my May archives.

It’s not that I don’t write. I co-author an article every month for WestFair Online and its Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journals. I began writing for Technorati this month and provided a guest post to Network Solutions. These kinds of efforts definitely contribute to a broader web presence which is good for getting found. But more consistent blogging will get me more traffic faster and – more important – provide better value to you the subscriber.

So, how did I get into this non-posting mode? In all honesty, the way I positioned my blog – as a music as well as information/experience-sharing venue – has made it difficult to be as spontaneous as I need to be to post more. As much as I love selecting just the right tune from my jazz collection to share with you as you read, it’s very time consuming and I don’t often have the time anymore.

With this post I’m changing the model. The blog is still called New PR Words and Music, and I’ll still share music with you whenever I have the leisure. But when I’m pressed for time – which is most days – you’ll get words and images. I vow to do my best to make them helpful for you and your business.

Many entrepreneurs have proved that trial and error — and flexibility – pave the path to success. What have you changed about your business or your life in general that’s helped you to do better?

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Linked In Does Not Equal Opt In

Posted on February 20, 2011. Filed under: Human Business, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

Today’s tune – “Hearts Take Time” sung by blues/jazz vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur – refers to a romantic relationship gone wrong. This post is about the customer/client relationship online and how to begin and nurture it — starting with how not to.

Earlier this week, I received a Linked In invitation from an acquaintance who I know recently changed careers and is now in the financial services industry. I met her through someone I’m very close with and who has known her for many years.

She sent the invitation from her personal Linked In profile, which listed her by her nickname and gave her personal email address for contact. I like this person and promptly accepted her invitation.Business Relationships by Reality Quote

Later the same day I received two emails in a row from her business email address. One informed me that she had added my email address to her marketing list and that I would be receiving information from time to time. The other was a sales message offering me products and services that I had never inquired about.

Both emails did have opt-out links. But that put me in the somewhat awkward position of letting this person know that I do not want to be contacted further about business.

She made the incorrect assumption that my accepting a Linked In invitation was an open invitation to be marketed to. My emotional response to that was very negative. I felt that it was a violation.

My reasons for connecting on Linked In are to widen my network, to refresh my memory about who I haven’t been in touch with for too long, to learn and to share information. Many other reasons, too. None of them is to make myself a target for an unsolicited sales pitch. By the way, this goes for all social media I engage with. In addition to a breach of social media etiquette, this person at best showed lack of knowledge and at worst bad judgment, which does not inspire confidence.

If she had taken a different approach, there’s a possibility that we might have done business together. She could have sent me a personal email asking whether I have any current needs in her area of expertise and/or pointing me in the direction of some info about her business offerings to build credibility in the event I knew of someone else who could benefit.

If I did indicate some level of interest, she could then use the opportunity to ask me to opt in to her list with the clear understanding that I could feel free to opt out at any time – that an opt-out would not have any impact on our personal relationship.

Even though it’s well-known that permission-based marketing works best, business people regularly ignore this best practice. If you do so, recognize that you may very well permanently kill an opportunity to develop a meaningful business relationship – including ongoing referrals – over the longer term. Hearts take time!!

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What’s the Semantic Web? Watch Jeopardy!

Posted on February 15, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Media, Online Search, Semantic Web, TV, Web 3.0 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Over the past couple of years I’ve attended several presentations on Web 3.0 – aka the Semantic Web – which has been touted as the next great thing online. Unfortunately, the presenters were all tech people who were unable to really explain, “What is it?”

Last night I got a really good idea when I watched IBM’s latest challenge to human intelligence, the computers collectively known as ‘Watson’, play ‘Jeopardy!’ against two of the show’s all-time top winners – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. The result of the first of three nights of competition was a tie between Watson and Rutter. A stunned Jennings came in a very distant third. (In honor of Watson’s ‘maiden voyage’, today’s tune is Herbie Hancock’s tune of that name played by the composer and a stellar quintet. You’ll finish reading before it’s over, but stick around and listen if you’d like.)

Until last night I had the general sense that the Semantic Web had to do with contextual responses to search queries. In other words, currently search engines simply find keywords in text on web sites and blogs that seem to match a query. Applications on the semantic web would determine the meaning of the query, text or other data and then create connections for the user. Still not so clear.

I did a Google search for ‘example of semantic web search’ and it yielded a mess of results – none of which really answered my curiosity. However, the Wikipedia result offered at least a true vision of the Semantic Web as described in 1999 by Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium and coiner of the phrase. In an online parallel to Martin Luther King’s famous speech, he said:

“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.” (Interesting note: If you click on this ‘intelligent agents’ anchor text it will take you to another Wikipedia page that will confuse the hell out of you. ;-})

Anyhow, last night I watched in amazement as Watson properly interpreted most of the questions, ‘pushed his response button’ and weighed in first with correct answers (actually questions in Jeopardy! terms) in an appealing non-computer-y voice. And I got it! This is what the Semantic Web will mean. Actually it reminded me a bit of Oz behind the curtain.

And an article in today’s Boston Globe described the game show experiment in more specific terms, “IBM scientists launched the Watson project to test whether a computing system could rival a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed and accuracy. The “Jeopardy!’’ format was chosen because the game’s clues require analyzing meaning, humor, riddles, and other subtleties that humans can process, but are difficult for computers.” Difficult until now it looks like!

I’m looking forward to tonight’s continuation of the man-machine contest and its denouement tomorrow evening. Even though Watson appears to offer an exciting peek into the future, I can’t help but root for Ken and Brad. May the best – er – intelligent agent win!

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Inbound Marketing Summit 2010: Reflections on the Past Year and Where We Are Now

Posted on October 26, 2010. Filed under: Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This post reflects on the past year, on the anniversary of this blog. It also looks ahead to how we can each do something new to positively influence our businesses and our lives. A fitting musical post for the topic is Cole Porter’s “From This Moment On” swung by the late, great and gorgeous Lena Horne.

It’s taken me two weeks to finally put down a post about the Inbound Marketing Summit 2010 (IMS10). I’ve already written about the highlights for my upcoming “Working the Web” column in the Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journals. And a video interview I did at IMS10 with Chris Brogan will be posted on the Journals’ website — www.westfaironline.com.

But what I reserve for you, my blog readers, is always a more personal take on things. And I must admit that my reflection on IMS10 is as much a reflection on my past year in business.

Brian Halligan of Hubspot & David Meerman Scott

Top speakers at IMS10

When I attended IMS09 – exactly one year ago — I was an enormous sponge trying to suck up enough knowledge to offer clients credible advice about how to build a web presence and put it to work in support of their business goals. This year I can point to a bunch of success stories – with others in the works.

This year I’m no longer a ‘newbie’. Back in June I wrote in “Working the Web” about what I perceived as the need to connect the dots between the online and offline worlds, as well as our global and local presences. Turns out this was a major theme offered by a number of presenters at IMS10. In one short year, I’ve gone from apprentice to trend setter. This is by no means a self congratulatory statement. Rather it points up the fact that we’re in a new world and everyone’s figuring it out together. No one’s more expert than me. Or you.

There’s only one thing I can say with solid certainty about the new age of marketing and PR: There’s opportunity in them thar hills, my friends. It’s worth taking a deep breath and jumping in. It’s really worth ditching your Yellow Pages ad (finally, please!!) and investing that budget in a website that incorporates the option for a two-way conversation.

Figure out how to find your stakeholders online. It’s so easy you won’t believe it! Then offer them your talents, experience, advice and the passion you have for your business. Do you think they’ll be attracted to that? You can lay a sure bet on it. Once you attract them, talk to them. Listen to them. You’ll build a relationship that leads to business. This stuff works. Here’s a case in point.

A recent client insisted that he didn’t need his company’s new website optimized for search engines because that’s just not how they get their business. It’s all through referrals. That’s great, but I couldn’t believe that there weren’t other opportunities they could tap into using their site.

The client humored me when I told him I couldn’t in all good conscience create a new website without some keyword research and at least basic meta data optimization. PS…Several months later the site is coming up on page one of Google results for important keywords. For certain terms they’re number one and two on page one.

Guess what? They’re getting business from their website!! One reason – beyond my fabulous optimization prowess ;-} – is that few in their industry are doing anything to come up on searches. We’re at a moment where you can still be among the first and the few. All you have to do is do something.

Look, we’re still in a fear-based business climate. But as someone who totally evolved and rebuilt her business in the midst of one of the worst economic climates in our lives, please believe me when I say, “Do something new.” Invest a little in your business marketing – especially online. Do it with some real strategy in mind. Go out to an event or two and listen to what’s going on. Do a Twitter search on a hash tag subject of interest to your business. (Don’t worry. I’ll discuss hash tags next post and some interesting new developments around them.)

Check progress. Connect with some like-minded people. Get energized. That’s what IMS10 did for me.

What’s happened in your business in the last year and how are you re-energizing for the year to come?

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Back on the Content Wagon

Posted on July 31, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Communications, Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jeff, the love of my life, was practicing his drums this morning to this killer big band tune from George Benson’s Big Boss Band album – “Without a Song.” It struck a chord because content is the ‘song’ of a blog. Enjoy listening and read on for the relevance.

You may notice that it’s the last day of July and this is my first blog post of the month. My days have been full creating content for others and working on a couple of exciting new ecommerce sites that we’ll promote via a content marketing strategy. I, who am thoroughly convinced of the role consistent online content creation plays in business success, fell off the content wagon.

I only created one other piece of content under my own banner this month. It was ‘Working the Web’, the column I co-author for the Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journals with my web development/graphic design partner Bernadette Nelson of Studio B Visual Communication. Ironically the topic was “6 Tips for Getting Over the Content Hurdle.”

What resulted from the column has provided a huge reminder that for my business, content is job one. I’ll share the story, because it’s critical for your business, too.

The first tip in the column is that to begin creating useful content, it’s first necessary to buy in to the fact that this is an important business objective. To support that statement to the Business Journals’ small business audience, I went searching for some recent study data.

Thanks to Google, I found the stats I wanted in the Small Business Success Index, a study created by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. I quoted the study in the column.

Working the Web runs in the two Journals’ print editions and also on www.westfaironline.com. Yesterday, it posted online. Within hours, I received an email from Shashib Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami for Network Solutions."Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions"

Remember that the reason this content making for the web works so well is that it’s searchable and findable by people with an interest in certain search terms. Obviously Shashi monitors the web to see where Network Solutions’ content is being disseminated. He found, read – and liked — the column that mentioned the NetSol study.

Shashi emailed to say ‘thanks’ for the mention – and to invite Bernadette and me to write a guest post for Network Solution’s www.growsmartbusiness.com blog. He also tweeted the url to the column to his almost 11,000 followers on Twitter – and is now following my tweets.

The takeaway: Well-made content created for a relatively local audience, once put online, can yield much farther-reaching connections and additional credibility for our businesses.

Given that blog posts are highly searchable and that I’m going to tag this one with his name and the study, Shashi will surely see it. So, thanks Shashi, for helping me get back onto the ‘content wagon’ and for a good idea for this post. Looking forward to writing one for you!!

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Welcome to the Promised Land: 7 Online Opportunities

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: Communications, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Today’s musical post is ‘Ac-Cent-Tchuate the Positive’ sung by its creator, the great American composer Harold Arlen in a rare recording. Hope it gets you in the mood to consider this:

The best way to move out of a recessionary mindset is to consider and embrace new opportunity. Projects I’ve been working on lately point up the many ways that today’s web has become a promised land of opportunity for businesses. Let me share a few.

  1. Get an edge on the competition. Several current clients are upgrading websites that were state of the art online brochures when they were built five or more years ago. Their owners have come to realize that these sites fail to deliver value in our Web 2.0 world. These clients are getting way ahead of many of their competitors who haven’t awoken to new online capabilities for driving business. They are breaking from the pack and gaining a competitive edge in the process.
  2. Become more relevant. A bit of keyword research can reveal the shocking reality that none of the words you’re using on your website correlate with how your prospects are searching for services like yours. Paying attention to your meta data – that behind the scenes code SEO stuff – can help them find you at last.
  3. Be a content hero. Once they finally find you in the promised land, those hungry searchers will reward you as they consume the delicious info manna you’ve prepared for them.
  4. Start a business or expand the one you have. The ease of launching eCommerce is a boon to the budding entrepreneurial spirit or to the bricks and mortar retailer looking for a way to expand without more bricks and mortar. It still takes smart strategic planning and excellent marketing, but technology has leveled the playing field for the mom and pop store.
  5. Defend your small bricks and mortar business against huge online competitors. This is the flip side of the #4 opportunity above. My SEO/PPC partner Dave Lostracco specializes in using online tools to help small businesses compete with the big boys. You don’t need as much traffic as they do because your overhead and business objectives are at a different level. You can rank for long tail search terms and get your fair share of online business.
  6. Become a good corporate neighbor. Social networking – the most vaunted aspect of online marketing these days — is about shared interests, shared concerns and shared solutions – ‘shared’ being the common adjective. The communities you build and nurture will help you to grow your business.
  7. Look great in your customers’ eyes. Business has never been more competitive. Put a few online tactics into your customer service tool kit. Servicing customer needs via Twitter tweets and other personally interactive methods can definitely win and keep friends.

 Take-away: Look at the online technology world as THE place to catapult your business into economic recovery!!!

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What’s Your Online Marketing Plan? A 4-step outline for success.

Posted on April 13, 2010. Filed under: Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Today’s musical post has nothing to do with the marketing post. It has to do with the most beautiful week of the year – and an admitted bout of Spring fever. Everything’s bursting out in bloom. This April is particularly enjoyable as signs of economic recovery are in the air. Enjoy Sarah Vaughan’s upbeat take on I’ll Remember April. You might have to listen and read separately. I’m having trouble multi-tasking on this one!

Lately I’ve been speaking with a number of companies who have jumped into the online marketing world. They have a website, a blog, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Only one problem. They don’t have a plan.

Here’s a typical scenario. The website hasn’t been updated for a Web 2.0 world. It hasn’t been optimized for search engines, there’s no clear call to action or data capture point, there’s no shareable information and the site doesn’t necessarily reflect the personality of the business or the interests of its audiences.

The blog is a bunch of commercials or just offers links to other people’s industry information – and it isn’t connected to the website. The last post was six months ago. The Facebook page has exactly the same information as the homepage of the website. The Twitter account tweets occasionally about god knows what to who knows whom.

Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” So these businesses are definitely on the right track. They just need to figure out the other 20% – the basics. Here’s an outline to start you thinking.

  1. Marketing communications basics still count. First, ask and answer these questions:
    • Who are your audiences?
    • What are your key messages?
    • How are you positioned relative to the competition and the marketplace as a whole?
    • Do you have a recognizable brand identity/personality and do you employ it consistently throughout your communications?
    • Do you have clear marketing objectives?
  2. Start with your website and make it a functional hub for all of your online marketing communications.
    • Redesign to reflect your company’s character and meet defined objectives.
    • Identify the keywords/search terms for which you can realistically hope to rank with search engines.
    • Optimize your site and the content.
    • Make sure your content is updated regularly and includes your key messages, keywords and search terms.
    • Use a variety of content platforms – text, video, audio, PowerPoint, etc. 
    • Add analytics.
    • Make your site interactive.
    • Add a blog or connect the one you already have.
    • Add info-sharing capabilities.
  3. Select social media that make sense for your business by making sure that your key audiences are there.
  4. Integrate and leverage everything.

In future posts we’ll flesh these topics out. In the meantime — Smell the flowers!!!

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Buyer Personae, Meet Brand Personalities

Posted on February 12, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

To celebrate the end of the week and get us groovin’ into the weekend hit the play button for pianist Gene Harris’ version of ‘Put it Where You Want It’. More about why this selection at the end of the post. If you’re getting this by email – visit the blog to listen.

In inbound marketing we encourage clients to imagine their important audiences as Buyer Personae – individual types with particular qualities, characteristics and personality traits. Subsequent marketing to buyer personae becomes more focused and resonates more authentically with customers and prospects.

Lately, in consulting with a number of small and mid-sized businesses, I’ve started formulating some thoughts about Brand Personalities. Beyond the visual identities/logos, and overarching brand promises/values that marketers work hard to put forth with consistency, brands have personalities.

Like humans, brand personalities are comprised of a variety of traits and behaviors that can and should be displayed appropriately depending upon the audience, the interaction and the venue.

A brand may be dead serious about R&D and product safety. It may be playful in marketing promotions and intellectually curious in establishing thought leadership. It might be daring – or risk averse. It could be an advocate for its employees and a kind neighbor that gives back through voluntarism or philanthropy. It could be a no-nonsense negotiator in protecting investor value.

Companies need to consider their own personality traits when establishing their online presence. The array of social media and Web 2.0 tools offer ample opportunity to share various brand personality attributes in different ways.

For example, a firm’s website might present its most formal face to the general array of possible visitors: prospects, customers, referral sources, prospective funders, industry analysts, media, etc. There might be a calendar page listing upcoming events, speaking engagements and so forth. There might also be a page where the company’s philosophy of community involvement is described. Other pages would present products and services.

Offsite tools can make the personality traits associated with each aspect of your company and its activities come alive. Put the photos from a recent speaking engagement or community service event on Facebook, tagging noted guests, officials and employees. You can also share fan-only promotions, offers and contests there.

Post PowerPoint decks from analyst briefings on Linked In and solicit comments and questions. Share comments that highlight your understanding of your business on blogs and sites that cover your industry.

Use Twitter to tap into issues of importance to your key audiences, then comment, showing concern as well as expertise and sharing information that adds value to the conversation. Leverage your brand’s knowledge base on your blog, sharing insights from employees in various roles and commenting on industry developments, company issues, and customer concerns.

Regardless of the venue, link every part of your online presence to every other part so that over time those who engage with your company will get a fully rounded picture of your rich and diverse brand personality.

I chose the Gene Harris tune ‘Put It Where You Want It’ from his album Alley Cats for two reasons. First, the album notes say, “Soulful, bluesy, swingin’, hard-bopping, funky – which of these best describes the two-fisted jazz piano stylings of Gene Harris? Answer: All of them!!” So it is with multi-faceted brand personalities. And, second, you can take the online content that best represents each aspect of your brand and – you guessed it – put it where you want it! Enjoy and see you soon!!

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‘Getting’ Twitter – An Aha! Moment

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Click the audio player!

Last week I was speaking with my longtime friend and colleague Keith Reynolds — a career-long technology guy who is now in the radiation security business. We were discussing a presentation I’m giving to the Stamford Cell of the Connecticut Technology Council Innovation Group with my graphic/web design partner Bernadette Nelson of Studio B/Visual Communication.

Not surprisingly, she and I had proposed the topic Re-Thinking Your Website: Tips for Making it a Business Magnet Using Web 2.0 Tools. Keith, who chairs the group, asked if it would be better to make it a talk about using Twitter, something he was particularly interested in and had made a New Year’s resolution to learn more about and implement.

I explained that Twitter is just one of many inbound marketing tools for engaging with audiences online and that it would be interesting for the group to hear about the bigger picture. Everyone’s talking about Social Media and Twitter, but it’s important to understand the context into which they may or may not fit – depending upon individual company goals.

 Keith persisted, saying that he didn’t really ‘get’ Twitter. How does it work? Why is it important? What does it do for you? He had opened an account but hadn’t yet jumped in.

 I decided to be a good friend and take the opportunity to offer Keith a little demonstration of Twitter’s powerful searchability and the access it gives to online communities that are already interested in what you’re offering – and who can share their helpful information and experience in return.

 After a few minutes of playing with keywords in Twitter Search, we typed in ‘Radiation Safety’ and were rewarded with a rich Twitter stream being produced by people discussing the topic. There were a number, to be sure, who were worrying about radiation danger from new airport screening machines. But there were also radiation security professionals and people from companies that put their employees through radiation safety courses and are concerned with security for a variety of reasons.

 Aha! There they were. A community of people who can benefit from Keith’s expertise and services.  But how, he asked, could he get involved with this group?

We noted the hashtags – for the uninitiated, a keyword phrase preceded by a # sign that helps track specific topics – in some of the community’s tweets. Keith is now keeping up on comments among the group and following certain leaders he’s identifying. When he attends an industry conference later in the month, he’s going to live tweet gems of information and include the hashtags we identified so they’ll find their way to his Twitter community, providing value to the group. He’s also deciding what free app he’ll use to manage his Twitter streams – TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop.

At the end of the presentation next week, we’re going to share Keith’s Twitter Aha Moment and begin an experiment to see if and how his activity on Twitter contributes to business success. Will keep you posted!

I remember my Twitter Aha Moment – when a Friday afternoon tweet about enjoying the weekend fall weather on a Harley got me found by several Harley Davidson enthusiasts and organizations within a few hours. Do you remember yours?

 In honor of Bernadette’s and my collaboration and the Innovation Cell, enjoy the tune “What’s New?” from the Carmen McRae-Betty Carter Duets live album. Hope B and I are a fraction as entertaining together as these two!! See you soon!!

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