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Friday, April 30, 2010

Quotes Of Note

Reality TV:
"This is just another permutation of presenting people you would never want to know but whom others are willing to watch make fools of themselves."

Justin Rustin (Reality TV Professional) from our Linkedin  Film and TV Professionals Group.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top 10 YouTube Tips for Small Businesses

From American Express Open Forum: 
Video can be a very powerful tool for businesses of any size, but YouTube's s free-to-use model, ease of use and mass market audience means it’s a great channel for small businesses. However, like any tool, in order to get the most of it, it needs to be used well.
We’ve pulled together ten top tips to help you get the most out of YouTube. Rather than video production hints or content tips (there are tons of other resources that can help you on that front) here are the dos and don’ts of using YouTube from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

1. Create and Customize Your Channel

First things first, customizing your channel is well worth the time it will take to set it up. You should add your company’s branding, customize the colors to compliment your company’s look, and add relevant information and links. A channel setup also offers YouTube users the option to subscribe to your content via the click of one button and the option to search just your uploaded content. The channel structure also allows you to highlight just uploads, playlists, favorites or all.

2. Add Subtitles

YouTube Captions

Since March 2010 auto-captioning has been available to all YouTube users, so there’s no technical excuse not to. Doing so adds captions for the hundreds of millions of hearing impaired folk across the world, ensuring your content is accessible to anyone who’d like to watch it. It’s an easy enough process that uses voice recognition, the results of which can be (and frankly need to be) edited for accuracy.

3. Don’t Overuse Annotations

A recent “improvement” from YouTube is the ability to add comments that display over the top of the footage. Don’t be tempted to go down this route, the annotations look unprofessional, are a distraction to viewers and depending how overused they are, can be a downright annoyance. Sure, you want to grab people’s attention and make an immediate impression, but your video content and other info you’ve added to the site should be enough to not have to rely on extraneous text.

4. Act To Remove Offensive Comments

While you can’t stop trolls from adding nasty comments to your videos or channel, you have the power to delete offensive or spammy remarks from the worst offenders. Taking advantage of this option requires good judgment. It’s obviously not a great idea to instantly remove any negative or critical comments, especially relevant ones, but you can certainly remove any spam or comments that use offensive language. If challenged over the removal make a simple statement to the effect that such comments will not be tolerated. If you’re getting seriously spammed or abused by a particular person, you can also block that user, but this should be a last resort. There are also options open to you to moderate comments before they go live, so you can nip any nasties in the bud before they are posted.

5. Engage With the YouTube Community

YouTube Subscribers Image

Don’t be a YouTube island. After all, it’s a social platform, so be sure to check out other content on the site, favorite appropriate videos and make suitable YouTube “friends.” If you really can’t, or don’t want to associate your company with other companies or individuals, then think wider. Why not look at content or channels that cover your local area, or that are for a good cause that you/your company supports. As well as engaging with other users, be sure to keep up to date with YouTube’s own news. The site goes through some fairly major changes from time to time and adds new features on a regular basis, so it’s well worth following the official YouTube blog, at the very least, to be kept up to date with site and community news.

6. Organize Your Content

Be sure to organize your content to be viewer-friendly rather than just offer a linear stream of video uploads. Create playlists to group relevant videos together, or lump older content into time-related (March 2010, Spring 2010, etc) folders if that’s more relevant to your organization. Remember that YouTube offers users the option to embed entire playlists (in addition to individual videos) into external sites, so give the creation of them, their titles and description, some decent thought.

7. Don’t Overlook Tags

As with many other sites, YouTube’s content is organized on a tag word basis. It’s more than worth taking the time to add the correct tags to your videos. The beauty of a tag word system is that it works on the basis of logic, but also on the more-the-merrier principle as you can’t know what search terms people will use. Really try and brainstorm around the tags you’re adding. For example, if your company offers dog products add “puppy,” “pooch,” “mutt,” “hound,” etc, too. As far as categories go, YouTube offers around 15 to choose from. Obviously try to use the most relevant, but don’t be afraid to experiment if your content could fall into one or the other, but be sure to monitor how the different videos perform so you can make an educated decision about categories in the future.

8. Promote Your YouTube Videos Elsewhere

Don’t assume viewers will come to you, or automatically think to look you up on YouTube. Every time you post a video that’s relevant for general sharing, blog about it, tweet it or add it to your Facebook () Page. The last two actions are easy through YouTube’s account settings that automatically publishes news of a new video if you’ve linked up the social services. While YouTube is due to retire its “Link to Blog ()” option from the account settings soon, it’s easy enough to embed the relevant video in a blog post using HTML and will help push users towards your video content. In addition, don’t shy away from allowing embedding of your videos on other sites — the more views the better.

9. Use YouTube’s Free Analytics Tools

YouTube Insight Image

YouTube offers every user free analytics data via the “Insight” button on every uploaded video. This free-to-view info should not be overlooked as it can offer you some valuable info on not only views stats, but demographics, community, and the most useful — “discovery” data — info on how users came across the video, including the popular links they followed to get there. The tools are there – be sure to use them.

10. Don’t Neglect Your Channel

There are so many neglected YouTube channels, even from social, or web 2.0 firms that you’d think would realize the value in an up-to-date video resource for their company. While we’re by no means advocating needlessly creating video content, if you’re looking to go down the YouTube route then don’t let your resolve or enthusiasm for the service dwindle a couple of months in. Even if you have no new content to post, still keep logging in to stay on top of comments, friend requests, add favorites, etc, so as not to relegate your channel to the ranks of the unloved.

Tips for Creating a Branded YouTube Channel

From Catherine Reinhard on Mashable:
There was a time when YouTube (YouTube) was considered a wild-wild west of content — a place where marketers shied away from uploading their commercials, let alone building a branded channel. But these days, YouTube has become more mini-van than stagecoach. From Toyota Sienna’s high-profile television commercials urging consumers to visit their YouTube channel, to (what might be considered the anti-minivan) Harley Davidson’s fan-centric YouTube universe, there has been a noticeable shift in corporate adoption of the platform.
There are many companies now that are hopping on the bandwagon. Just about every corporation and small business is creating a branded channel on YouTube, but there are still relatively few marketers who have managed to harvest the full potential of the platform.
Whether your brand already has a YouTube channel that’s in need of a facelift, or if you’re interested in developing one from scratch, this article will provide some practical tips and valuable tricks to help you kick-start the process.

1. The Test Tube on YouTube

Look at your YouTube channel as a new, exciting learning lab. Be malleable in your approach to both the content and design of the channel. Don’t be concerned with acquiring thousands of friends and subscribers right away. Use this time to test, gather insights, and see what works for your brand and what doesn’t. Unlike your company’s website and traditional marketing collateral, the look and feel of the channel can be changed, tweaked and optimized without a huge investment of time and money.

2. Plotting Global Domination? Check Your Swagger

Ideally, you’ll want to be goal-oriented during the launch (or re-launch) of your channel. Before your itchy little finger goes to hit that “upload” button, consider the needs and goals of your various target audiences, and keep reminding yourself that web video is distinct medium.
Next, think about your marketing objectives and overall brand strategy. Are you using the channel to attract prospects, provide customer support, or build a list of subscribers? Understand that there might not be “one size fits all” content if you are trying to accomplish all three.
Let your strategic goals drive the tactics you use to create and promote videos, and consider whether a paid sponsorship would offer an advantage. If you check out YouTube’s advertising channel, you can get a basic overview of what brands can do with the platform, but be forewarned — the information is a bit heavy-handed on the sales side.
Navy YouTube Channel
The United States Navy Channel has a wide variety of videos aimed to attract potential recruits. The Navy’s recruitment-focused channel is organized into playlists that target specific groups of recruits with military precision.

3. Avoid Over-commitment Issues

Strongly consider outsourcing. I’ve never met a marketer who wasn’t time-starved. Let’s face it: You probably don’t have time to be uploading content, let alone coming up with titles, descriptions and tags, friending, rating, commenting and optimizing. And I’m giving you fair warning: Entrust this project to a summer intern at your own peril.
While you should allow yourself the flexibility to experiment, YouTube can be a high-profile place to make gaffes, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you’re going to outsource, you might consider looking for a specialist who is already set up and can implement your strategy. Creating web videos and knowing how to market them on YouTube requires a whole different skill set than web development — just because it’s online doesn’t mean that it’s a job for the company that builds your website.

4. Be a Social Media Butterfly

Think of your YouTube channel as an extension of your brand that lives and breathes. You’ll need someone who is dedicated to tending to that page, building your audience by reaching out to fans, and managing your profile online.
Start by searching your brand on YouTube and see what the existing conversation looks like. Then try reaching out to people who already have an affinity for your product or service by commenting on their videos and/or “friending” them. Remember that YouTube is an online community, and if you’re not participating in the dialogue, then you are missing the opportunity for true engagement.

5. Don’t Just Re-purpose Old Content

You should post your television commercials online, but don’t let that be the only content on the channel. Remember that television commercials are designed for a one-way medium, and that while audiences may want the ability to see your commercials on-demand, if that’s all you have to offer, they will never visit your channel again.
And don’t just post your commercial and 15 derivative videos about the making of it, or “director’s cuts” of the same, unless they have legitimate value as content in their own right. YouTube is an opportunity for your brand to go beyond traditional “push” marketing tactics and to create videos that address multiple audiences and a variety of consumer needs.
Intel YouTube Channel
Intel uses their popular television campaigns as the feature reel on their channel, but they also offer a wide variety of other content, including a look at what it’s like to work at Intel, and video from a game developers conference.

6. Broadcast Your Best Self

Make the feature reel on the channel the most entertaining or best piece of content that you have. If that means that it’s a cleverly written and witty commercial that was originally destined for TV, so be it. If a viewer visits your channel, you’ll only have one chance to impress them with your content, so if you don’t entertain them or offer some overwhelmingly valuable information, you’ll lose an opportunity.

7. Make a Menu of Content to Feed Everyone

Understand that YouTube is a search engine for video. Create tailored content that considers what consumers are searching for or need to know about your products and services. If you play your cards right, when consumers are searching for information about your competitor, they’ll come to your videos first. Instructional and how-to videos that show consumers how to use your product are always a good place to start, but also consider the value of integrating your product into existing YouTube shows and then favoriting those videos on your channel.

8. Juice Your Marketing: Extract Extra Value

YouTube does not exist in a vacuum. Try to integrate your YouTube channel into the rest of your marketing programs and cross reference/promote your content. You can extract more value out of your event marketing if you think about ways to co-produce video content. Remember, integrating marketing channels and initiatives is well known for producing a campaign “multiplier effect.” Whether it’s video shot at a trade show or a promo for an upcoming event, just make sure that the video is well produced and edited for length.
Harley Davidson YouTube Channel
Harley-Davidson took advantage of it’s photo shoot with popular model Marisa Miller for the V-Rod Muscle as an opportunity to get some behind the scenes footage and put together a video for YouTube. Harley definitely got extra value from the photo shoot as the video is one of the most-watched on their YouTube channel.

9. Be Homegrown

Grow your channel instead of “launching” it. If there is any medium that pays attention to grassroots movement, web video is it. And be patient — it takes time to spread the word about your channel, and it takes care and nurturing for it to catch on. Keep releasing content on a regular basis, integrate your YouTube channel into your other marketing efforts, bring your customers extra value, and your presence will grow.

10. Keep the Future in Mind

YouTube was started in early 2005 — look how much has changed in a five-year time span, and how fast web video has progressed. As new technology and distribution channels emerge (like the iPad), try to think about how you can create web video content that will serve your brand into the future. During the production process, you should keep user-experience in mind and plan for the audience to be watching your videos on screens the size of a TV, as well as on their mobile phones.

Quotes Of Note

"Social media is the golf course of the 21st century. And you never get rained out."

Victoria Ipri/Internet marketing Professional

Best Twitter Tools

 From "The Outsourcing Company" Blog:
A few months ago, people were starting to talk about Twitter. Now, Twitter is no secret; it’s THE marketing tool everyone is talking about. If you are not using Twitter to promote your business, you are out of your mind.
If there’s something thats  more exciting than Twitter its the ability to increase Twitter’s potential by using tools. A word of caution: once you try these Twitter tools, there’s no way back. You’ll become a Twitter genius and get more exposure for your business than you’ve ever thought possible. If you are OK with that, read on.
This tool allows you to search Twitter users and sorts the results by user rank. This is a great way to find tweets about a specific topic.
As you probably know, tweets can be as long as 140 characters. This URL-shortening service is perfect to keep the URLs short and have more space to write your tweets.
They call themselves “The Twitter Yellow Pages”. Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?
Friend or Follow
This is a great tool to find out who you are following that is not following you back and who is following you that you are not following.
This tool allows you to see in a graphic how your Twitter followers increase or decrease over time. TweetStats is another cool tool that performs the same task.
Twitter for WordPress
Twitter for WordPress displays yours latest tweets in your WordPress blog.
Twitter Widget for WordPress
This widget is placed in the sidebar of your WordPress blog and shows your latest Twitter updates.
TwitBin is a Firefox extension that allows you to keep up with all of your Twitter conversations right from your browser sidebar.
Just Tweet It
Another amazing Twitter directory. Find other Twitter users and list yourself so others can find you.
This service allows you to tweet by email. Really cool.
This one sends you regular emails with the latest updates of the people you are following on Twitter.
Who Should I Follow?
Very interesting tool that suggests Twitter users for you to follow, based on the profiles that you are currently following.
Twitter Search Feature
It used to be called Summize but now Twitter bought it. As its name reveals it, Twitter Search Feature allows you to search through the last tweets to find users that are posting a given keyword. TwitterMent is another great Twitter search engine.
Although not a specific Twitter tool, is one of the coolest applications out there. It allows you to update your status in more than 40 social networking sites at once. You have to check this one out.
Qwitter is a tool that sends you an email when people stop following you. But what makes this tool amazing is the fact that they also tell you what of your tweets made them stop following you.
If you are like me, you want to keep your followers updated but you’d rather tweet several messages at once and choose when they should be posted. This is exactly what this tool is for.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LinkedIn Tricks to Grow Your Business!

From Steve Strauss/American Express Small Business forum.
Here are some little known ways to get more out of LinkedIn:

1. Tap into the power of the “advanced search” function: Using this tool, you can do a lot more than search for people – you can search industries, professions, businesses, and much more. Let’s say you want to discover people who have done PR for Microsoft. Search “Microsoft” and “public relations.” Your results will yield people both inside and outside your network. Using quotation marks and “and” in your search will yield even more specific results. Then search your shared connections to those people, and away you go.
Similarly, if you are looking for people with a specific job title, use advanced search for that title, or company name, school, zip code, etc.
And here is another cool trick: Save the search results for later use. To the far right of your search result is a link that says “save this search.” You can save up to three searches.
2. Really use the groups tool: Yes, you may be a passive member of a few groups, but you may not realize how useful that tool may be.
I recently heard the story of a woman starting a new business. She joined several LinkedIn groups related to her new industry and got actively involved in group discussions. Three months later, when she put out a request for people to join her new board of advisors, she was inundated with 40 offers from highly qualified people willing to give her their time for free.
3. Get found: If a main purpose of LinkedIn is to create a vast network (and it is), it makes sense then that you want to be able to be found by people interested in what you do. Here’s a great trick: List as many specialties and keywords as legitimately possible in your profile.  Think SEO. What key words and key phrases would people in your industry use? For instance, our PR person, instead of just listing public relations, might use “public relations, PR, media, media strategies, media relations, publicity, advertising, communications, PR campaign, publicist.” The likelihood that they will be found is much higher the more keywords they use.
Not sure what key words to use? Try using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. It’s the same idea. No need to guess – this will tell you what terms people search.
4. Make it viral: These days, anytime you tweet or update your Facebook status, it can automatically update your LinkedIn profile if you install the apps linked in this sentence.
5. Ask and answer questions: Yes, the questions and answers are good for getting and sharing information, but maybe even more importantly you can follow discussions that are pertinent to you. Using an RSS feed, you could, for example, get all LinkedIn answers that relate to Microsoft public relations.
6. Build buzz by sharing your answers: After you answer a question, look to the far right and you will see a link that says “share this.” You can email it out to your contacts or share it using Delicious. The permalink function allows you to link your blog or site to your answer.
7. Learn more about your contacts. What are they reading? Reading List by Amazon lets you see. Where are they going? This app tells you.
8. Discover important events: Undoubtedly there are events in your industry of which you are not aware. That is true for all of us. LinkedIn easily helps you discover important events. Google results with 95 percent useless links be gone!
9. Find out what people are saying about you, and about your business: Of course Twitter is great for this, but you may not know that LinkedIn also has a cool tool that allows you to monitor the buzz about your business, called, natch, Company Buzz.
10. Create a poll: Your LinkedIn homepage need not be static. The polls application is a great way to interact, make your page more interesting, get feedback, and learn what people are thinking. Maybe even more useful though is that you can create a poll that reaches millions of LinkedIn users and the results become a form of shoestring market research.

Monday, April 26, 2010

How Social Media Is Changing Publishing

The takeaway here is how Twitter is a great venue to spread your brand!

sme_mc_022310 from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Facebook's Plan To Socialize The Web

Facebook has launched a raft of features intended to help the site spread its social tendrils across the entire Web. The site introduced developer tools and consumer-facing features, including an automated version of Facebook Connect that will allow sites and marketers access to a broad trove of information about their visitors' interests, brand affiliations and social ties. "We are building a Web where the default is social," says CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Wall Street Journal (4/22) , The New York Times/Bits blog (4/21) , TechCrunch (4/21)

Social Marketing Webinar

This is from a member in our Linkedin  Marketing Professionals Group
Register for the seminar with the link at the bottom of the post:

Now that the traditional one-way marketing conversation has become a dialogue.
What are you getting from the discussion?

(Clue: If your answer doesn’t include "additional sales," "generation of qualified leads" and "increased ROI on Social Media Marketing spent," it is highly recommended to attend this free, 60-minute webinar that will teach you:

How to get started and where to begin
• The 5 Steps of Effective Social Networking for entrepreneurs and executives
• Proven Social Network Marketing best practices—and what doesn't work
• Valuable solutions to minimize your time investment and costs to maximize your returns

Plus, you get to listen to real success stories from real people that have successfully generated sizable revenue from their participation in Social Media.)

Information is being shared by your customers, prospects and competitors every day through Social Media channels. They are building relationships, strengthening brands and increasing prospects. With an exponential number of prospects accessible to you, you should be, too.

Attend our free, 90-minute Webinar, "Capitalizing on the Conversation," and you'll learn how to execute a well-planned Social Media Marketing strategy that can:

• Generate exposure for your business
• Increase traffic to your site
• Build new business partnerships
• Bring in new, qualified leads

Register now! Limited number of spots available for this Webinar. Maximize your investment in social media by visiting:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tips To Make Your Website More Social

From HubSpot:
social networksCorporate web sites are mostly boring. These sites end up being a time and financial drain without delivering the appropriate value to current and potential customers.  One of the best things about the social web, is that it helps your customers to sell for you, by recommending your product or service to others online. Most corporate web sites also do a poor job of empowering customers to share with others, instead relying on testimonials, quotes and videos.

Why should your corporate web site be more social? Many reasons, but a major one is, because you own and control it.  Yesterday Ning, a company that provides a platform for individuals and businesses to build social networks, announced that it will no longer allow the creation of free networks. Many groups and business that were using a free network will either have to starting paying Ningor move the network to another service. Having to pay isn't the real issue, it is understanding that as a business you don't want to be forced to change how you communicate with customers and prospects because a vendor changes its business model.

Instead, improve the web properties that you own for your business to make them more social.

4 Ways to Make Your Corporate Web Site More Social

1. Product Reviews- If you sell a product or a service, even if you are a B2B company that uses a distributor to sell your product, take a lead from some of the major online retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. On major retail sites it is simple for customers to review products they have purchased. Replace testimonials on your site with review functionality on your product pages. Let your customers help sell for you by putting their product insights along side the information that your business provides.

2. Encourage Commenting - Allowing people to comment and share ideas on your site gives them a sense of ownership. While commenting could be as simple as having a corporate blog, it could also mean things like customer forums or perhaps something like a Dell Idea Storm where your customers provide feedback for future product development.

3. Allow Customers To Curate Content- Keeping a Web site full of engaging content is hard, especially with limited resources. A solution again can be found by giving customers power to submit industry-relevant content that they create themselves or find online. On the web, where content is such a valuable commodity, empowering customers to become curators for the entire industry using your web site, means improved thought leadership and brand recognition for your company.

4. Become a Social Network - Do customers already log-in on your Web site? Many companies have customer log-ins to allow them to make orders, access certain information, or receive product support. If you are one of these companies, what is stopping you from making these log-in experiences more social? Companies in this situation are close to having their own social network. Think back to Amazon, it allows customer to log-in and perform many business functions, but it also gives them social features like forums, product reviews, and much more using the same log-in. If your web site is a social network, you can transition from being a place where customers only come when they have to, to a destination where customers find value.

As search engine optimization changes and social media becomes a bigger part of marketing, companies who build a social corporate web presence on their own site will be positioned for better rankings, more on-site activity and potentially more leads.

Marketers As Media Companies

Interesting video from Advertising Age:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Publish Video Anywhere For Free!

New at TubeMogul:

From Ryan Lawler/ 
Online video analytics, distribution — and now advertising — firm TubeMogul announced a new publishing product today that will allow its publisher partners to easily publish and distribute their content to any site for free. The company’s new Destinations product enables media companies and content creators to create custom video distribution venues on top of a couple of pre-set distribution profiles.
Once a Destinations profile is created, Tubemogul does the heavy lifting of automatically transcoding a file to fit any technical specification needed for the target distribution outlet, and will send to that site automatically. Users can upload files in a number of ways to TubeMogul, including uploading files directly, designating a web URL, or through MRSS feeds. The product then ingests the files and transcodes them, automating the ability to distribute to thousands of niche video sites, custom FTP sites, CDNs and other endpoints.
Because TubeMogul Destinations is offered for free to users who host their own files, it could undercut a number of cloud encoding vendors, like HD Cloud and, that charge for similar services. TubeMogul marketing director David Burch says that the company can offer the transcoding and delivery for free because it has built out its own transcoding system and bandwidth costs aren’t that great. And while it is being offered gratis to users who host their own files, TubeMogul is planning a paid offering for those who want to host their files with the company as a way to recoup some of the costs.
While TubeMogul could see some adoption for its distribution product, the company is more focused on analytics and advertising. Its reporting suite is used by a number of media and entertainment companies, and the company has partnerships with companies like, which also offer its analytics to their customers. At the same time, TubeMogul has seen early success with its ad platform, which, just a few months after being launched, already exceeds the revenues of TubeMogul’s other businesses.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tips for Improving SEO

This one comes to us from Hubspot Consultant Shaun Pinney.

1. Page Load Time

How fast do your pages load? What can you do to increase the speed of your web pages? Google recently added Site Performance to Webmaster Tools. This tool lets you view your page load time and compare it against average page load times across the web. Fast loading pages may have a positive effect on how quickly and often your site is crawled and indexed. Users expect a fast web browsing experience and pages that load fast are likely to earn more retweets, links and sharing than slower pages. Begin using Site Performance today or try the web page speed optimizer tool.

2. Optimizing Images for the Web

Optimization of the images on your site can lead to faster loading pages and a better user experience. Not only that, but optimized images cut down on wasted bandwidth on servers and speed up the load time of your site. All of this could lead to visitors spending more time on your site, viewing more pages.
JPEG and GIF are two common file types used on the web. JPEG's are typically reserved for photos and GIF's are for graphics. If you have access to PhotoShop, you can quickly edit images and graphics. Adjust the file size and the number of colors of the image. Be sure to limit the file size without downgrading the photo quality. It's better to load a slightly larger image than one that is smaller in size but blurry.

3. Custom Thank You Pages

Providing your audience with compelling calls to action is the key to turning qualified traffic into leads. Marketers spend a lot of time crafting offers and building landing pages, custom thank you pages are just as important. Here are some best practices to get you started with your own thank you pages.
  • The design and navigation should mirror the rest of your site.
  • Thank the user for filling out the form and let them know when they can expect a response.
  • Include links to related content, (blog, social media sites, etc)
  • Example of a HubSpot thank you page.

4. RSS & Feedburner

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the best way to broadcast your blog, video or other web content across the internet. Visitors who use an RSS Reader can subscribe to a feed of your content. Once subscribed, users get new articles sent to their RSS reader. This makes it easy for the user to follow multiple blogs without needing to navigate back to your blog or web site each time. Additonal RSS education is available if you would like to learn more. 
Feedburner is a web feed management tool that provides custom RSS feeds to content producers. If your host your blog on WordPress you should setup a Feedburner account to track subscribers and collect data. You can track the number of RSS & email subscribers to your blog each day. Learn more about Feedburner setup and get started tracking your feed.

5. Flash

There has been a lot of debate about Flash and if it's search engine friendly or not. In 2008, Google came out and said they had made it easier for GoogleBot (Google's web crawler) to crawl flash content.
This announcement by Google was a step in the right direction, but B2B websites should still use Flash sparingly. You should be striving to make it as easy as possible for Google to crawl and index your content and it's simply not as easy for Google to crawl content within Flash elements. There are many reasons to create text based content instead of Flash, including:
  • With Flash, basic Search Engine Optimization elements are often missing (H1 tags, anchor text, image alt tags & title tags) 
  • Often Flash content is only linked to from other Flash based content. Inbound links and internal links may not be fully counted and given credit for. This is a major issue, as Google values a majority of your sites authority on the quality and quantity of inbound links.

HTML5 & Video

From Hubspot:

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programing language for web pages. Think of HTML as the brick and mortar of pages on the web, it provides content and structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years and it is on the cusp of its next version: HTML5.

Why should marketers care about HTML5? Many reasons, but a major reason is online video.

The Battle Over Online Video

While you may have heard of the battle television networks are having in monetizing their content online, that isn't the battle we are talking about. Online and user generated video is quickly becoming an important tool for marketers. A battle is currently happening in boardrooms in Silicon Valley that can have a profound impact on marketers planning to use video. With the recent launch of Apple's iPad the company made a decision to not support Adobe Flash. Flash is the technology that powers many of the videos and animations viewed on the web today. How will people watch web video on the iPad and the iPhone? HTML5.

One of HTML5's biggest impacts on marketers is its native video support. Do you know those pop menus that tell you that you need to update to a new version of Adobe Flash that appear sometimes when you try and watch a video online? That doesn't happen with HTML5 video. For marketers, this means that video becomes more ubiquitous. HTML5 makes video a native browser experience for users and publishers. It allows users to consume and publishers to distribute video without the need for browsers plugins. Major players in the TV and video industry like CBS, ABC, Vimeo, ESPN have already made changes to their sites to support video playback on the iPad, as well as other devices that do not support Flash and other video plugins.

HTML5 Gives Video More Marketing Muscle

HTML uses tags to classify different types of content on a web page. For the first time in HTML5, site owners have a "video" element which provides control for the way video is displayed, organized and searched. The "video" element eliminates the need for annoying browser-specific "object" tags. Do you hate the black or white squares that fill a browser page while a video is loading? HTML5 adds a "poster" attribute that lets businesses specify an image as a place holder while a video is loading. For marketers this image could be as simple as a company logo or could be taken a step farther and be an ad for an upcoming webinar or product launch. Regardless, the ugly black and whites square can be a thing of the past which should make users happy. An aspect of HTML5 that should make marketers who publish video excited is that size obligations no longer exist for video. In HTML5, videos have a width and height, much like images, so as a site owner you're no longer forced into the standard YouTube /Flash video sizes. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bazaarvoice and Nielsen Partner To Help Retailers Manage Social Reputations

Recently announced by Internet Retailer:
Some loyal customers go to a company’s web site and chat with its customer service representatives about a product or service they just purchased. And millions of consumers go to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, and chat away with friends about the latest fad or technology, and review their likes and dislikes. This week ratings and review vendor Bazaarvoice and market research firm The Nielsen Company announced a partnership that will allow businesses to integrate information from both sources.
Bazaarvoice provides companies with software that lets customers provide ratings and reviews on a web site. Nielsen’s My BuzzMetrics service scans the social media universe, and organizes all that chatter into useful data on a customizable dashboard. Now, clients who sign up for both services can have all of the information generated by their Bazaarvoice software integrated onto their BuzzMetics dashboards.
“Brands need to keep an eye on all these conversations,” says Brant Barton, Bazaarvoice’s co-founder and chief innovation officer. Integrating the two services should “give them more of a 360-degree perception.
Bazaarvoice provides its ratings and reviews product to about 800 clients, mostly retailers like Best Buy, Costco, and Macy’s. Only about a few dozen of these also currently use BuzzMetrics, but if clients use both services, the integration is free and can be turned on almost immediately.  It’s a good marriage.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quotes Of Note (formerly quote of the day)

It's popular to say that our current period of time is filled with more change than any previous time, but that's most likely untrue. Consider this statement  (from Deliver Magazine):

"Each age has felt as though their world was being turned upside down by what has been labeled as "Progress".
"The only rule is that the rules are always changing...and that is the way it has always been!"

So, what does that mean to your marketing strategy?
The suggestion here is to train yourself to never take any of your assumptions for granted. Challenge yourself to provide some backup for your beliefs and your theories.
How do you know that? And, maybe more important,  how do you know that you know that???
Great advice for everyone.
Stay open, If it isn't working try something new. It is more cost effective today than ever before to start, change or revamp your marketing plan. Remember,  the only constant is CHANGE!.
We've seen it in our own business and have adapted...shouldn't you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tip For Creating Your Facebook Business Page

It is important to realize that the person that creates your Facebookbusiness page has permanent administration rights to the page. Therefore, having your summer intern create the page is a really bad idea. Instead, set up a business profile in Facebook and then use the business profile to setup the Facebook business page as well as a secondary administrator that actually can be changed.

Informative Video From Harvard University Business Channel

Marketers Spending More on Video And Social Media In 2010

According to a new survey conducted by Junta42, businesses are increasingly understanding the value of creating remarkable content.
The survey results reveal that, for the third year in a row, the majority of marketing professionals (6 in 10) will allocate more of their marketing budgets to content marketing initiatives.  In 2010, 59% of the 259 marketers surveyed plan to increase their spending on content efforts, which compares to 56% in 2009 and 42% in 2008.  This is an 11% increase in spending from 2008 to 2010.
Marketers are leveraging new media content products more than ever - nearly 3/4 are leveraging content through social media and a majority are tapping into blogs and enewsletters. White papers and case studies continue to be mainstays in the content marketing portfolio. Note the 42% plan on increasing budgets allocated to video content...This indicates to us that video is obviously one of the best vehicles to utilize for engaging your audience!
The January, 2010 findings came from a survey of 259 marketing professionals.


12 Helpful Google Search Tips

Only loosely related to your marketing efforts, but helpful on any level. Here are some Google tips from  Hubspot.
  1. Explicit Phrase:
    Lets say you are looking for content about internet marketing.  Instead of just typing internet marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase.  To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes.

    Example: "internet marketing"
  2. Exclude Words:
    Lets say you want to search for content about internet marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising.  To do this, simply use the "-" sign in front of the word you want to exclude.

    Example Search: internet marketing -advertising
  3. Site Specific Search:
    Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase.  Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the "" modifier.

    Example: "internet marketing"
  4. Similar Words and Synonyms:
    Let’s say you are want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms.  To do this, use the "~" in front of the word.

    Example: "internet marketing" ~professional
  5. Specific Document Types:
    If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier "filetype:".  For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to internet marketing.

    Example: "internet marketing" filetype:ppt
  6. This OR That:
    By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search.  If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator.  (Note:  The OR has to be capitalized).

    Example: internet marketing OR advertising
  7. Phone Listing:
    Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don’t know how it is.  If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature.

    Example: phonebook: 631-477-0277 (note: – you’ll have to use a real number to get any results).617-555-1212
  8. Area Code Lookup:
    If all you need to do is to look-up the area code for a phone number, just enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from.

    Example: 617
  9. Numeric Ranges:
    This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip.  Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers.  You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods.  This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.

    Example: president 1940..1950
  10. Stock (Ticker Symbol):
    Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock.

    Example: GOOG
  11. Calculator:
    The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google.

    Example: 48512 * 1.02
  12. Word Definitions:
    If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the "define:" command.

    Example: define:plethora
Hope this list of Google search tips proves useful in your future Google searches.  If there are any other of your favorite Google expert power tips please feel free to share them in the comments.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Small Is The New BIG!

Don't think you're business is big enough to take advantage of the stuff we've been talking about?
Read This:  From the American Express Small Business Online Forum
Could Small Be The New Big?
Mar 31, 2010 -
On MSNBC’s Your Business show recently, there was a story about a young entrepreneur who has grown quite a large retail business. But, he hasn’t grown his business in the traditional “retail” way of just adding more stores.

Being a franchise guy, this obviously goes against what I know about growing businesses. In the franchise world, there’s really only one way to grow, and that’s by selling new franchise units. Do you really think that Ray Kroc would have been successful as he was if he stuck to one or two little hamburger joints?

How about 7-Eleven? Thousands of 7-Eleven franchisees benefit tremendously by being part of a huge “buying” system. In other words, as a 7-Eleven franchisee, you can probably purchase a case of Ho-Ho’s for 15% less than Tommy’s Grocery, Bait And Tackle, that’s located down the road a piece.  That leads to more profit for you. Bigger is better in that case.

As I was saying, the MSNBC’s Your Business show lead off recently with a terrific story about a cupcake guy named Johnny.  Actually, it’s Johnny CupCakes, and Johnny doesn’t actually sell cupcakes. He sells t-shirts.

Johnny only has few stores.  Here’s what Johnny says;
“Without selling out, I've managed to build a multi-million dollar business, completely homegrown. And I've done it without going your typical route. No college education, no start up loans, no investors, no wholesaling or help from giant stores, and little-to-no advertising. I've managed to employ both of my parents, my sister, my neighbor, and all of my close friends so that they don't have to work jobs they don't enjoy.”

Instead of mass producing mass produced looking products, he mass produces unique, limited-edition products. He’s been able to create a product that is so unique; people are willing to stand in line to have it.
Johnny is known for his great looking t-shirts which sell for $35 on up. That’s $35-$40 for a t-shirt.

Johnny’s way of doing business consists of selling unique products at premium prices. Quantity is obviously important, but not at the expense of changing his business model into a 250 store retail chain. So far, his current model works.

In a way, it’s the classic David vs. Goliath story; a “small” store taking on the big guys. 

Here’s another example:

St. Louis entrepreneur David Siteman Garland is developing what amounts to a television network without the television. He’s created a daily online video show for entrepreneurs and marketers.  It’s called A Rise To The Top.  David has had some pretty influential guests on the show, including Chris Brogan, Anita Campbell, Peter Shankman, and Gary Vaynerchuck, to name just a few. 

Is this another classis David vs. Goliath scenario? Is David going up against the big television networks?

Actually, David is smart enough to know that television is still here. He actually has an arrangement with KDNL-TV/DT St. Louis, which just so happens to be an ABC affiliate. His online shows are re-broadcast on the television station Sunday mornings, and four nights a week. (Late nights, actually. Right after the Jimmy Kimmel show)
David’s business model keeps him quite busy, but he doesn’t have to expand his video network like the big television broadcast systems do.  He may have to invest in a bigger server, or buy the latest-greatest video camera eventually, but he certainly doesn’t have to open stations all across the country to expand his network. He can stay “small.”

You can bet that the television stations are watching this “David’s” shows. Online.

Interesting Findings On TV Viewership From Mediaweek & ComScore

Web Video Audience OK With More Ads

March 23, 2010

Hulu is leaving some serious money on the table.

While its parents companies NBC Universal, News Corp. and Disney wrestle with the possibility of imposing a subscription fee on Hulu to offset what they perceive as lost ad revenue from TV, they might be better off simply dialing up the number of ads that run on the site,
according to ComScore.

The Web researcher released new research on Tuesday (Mar. 23) at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Annual Convention + Expo in New York which found that people who watch TV shows on the Web are far more tolerant of ads than perhaps once thought, and would actually stand for more clutter. Specifically comScore found that while sites like Hulu typically serve around four minutes of ads for every hour of content served, users would be OK with six to seven minutes of ads.

That flies in the face of conventional thinking in the industry, which is that users who elect to watch TV shows on the Web are ad-avoiders by nature and don’t understand the value exchange when they consume free content.

During a presentation at the ARF gathering on Tuesday, Tania Yuki, director of cross media and video products at comScore, poked holes in that theory.  “This is not about platform wars,” she said. “TV is the preferred viewing platform for most.”

According to comScore’s research, among fans of scripted, prime-time programming, just six percent are ‘online-only’ viewers who either don't subscribe to cable or simply prefer the medium. Nearly two thirds (65 percent) of the roughly 2,000 folks comScore surveyed are strictly TV viewers, while the remaining 29 percent of respondents are cross-platform consumers—meaning they watch their favorite episodes of Lost or Desperate Housewives on TV--and sometimes online.

The reason most online viewers (71 percent) watch shows on the Web is that they missed a recent episode on TV. And 67 percent of respondents said they chose the Web for convenience, while just 38 percent said their motivation to chose online over TV was that it features less ads.

Thus, sites like Hulu, Fancast and the broadcast network’s own sites would be smart to stream more ads than they currently do. “We [as an industry] are leaving money on the table,” said Yuki.
Besides money, some networks may be missing out on new audiences by not streaming certain shows on the Web, said Yuki. And the networks that are mulling over charging users to access sites like Hulu may be risking fans as well. That’s because according to comScore’s research, online viewing begets TV viewing, since fans can catch up on new series quickly. “Video can result in new audience acquisition,” Yuki said. “Increasingly, it isn’t useful to think of these things in silos.”

Other interesting nuggets from Yuki’s presentation included a finding that younger, more cross platform-inclined users hear about about new shows in different ways. While TV promotion and friend recommendations still drive discovery, among cross-platform viewers 21 percent said they’d found out about a new show via a social network.

Also, among the still-small group of Web-only TV fans, archival viewing is ‘much more significant,” said Yuki. These users exhibit a tendency to stockpile episodes of show to gorge on during marathon viewing sessions—which could provide a unique monetization opportunity. “They are not a group of dissident ad-avoiders,” said Yuki.