Sunday, December 21, 2008

Utilizing a Blogger(s) to Spread the Company Brand

A quick example. A friends company found a popular blogger who had spoken highly of the company's brand. Just prior to launching a new product, the company sent the blogger a free sample, inviting him to review it with "no strings attached."

The end result: The blogger wrote a favorable review and generated a flood of comments. So the company got nearly free publicity and feedback. This blogger is a very popular blogger on a very popular blog with thousands of followers as well as content that is syndicated. Product sales surged 35% right after the article/review was written. The traffic to the company's website from the blog tripled (as tracked by google analytics data). Welcome to Marketing Web 2.0.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Twitter Developments

Announced today, Twitter has chose Google Friend Connect over Facebook's Friend Connect service. This means Twitter account holders can use their login ID on any other site also integrated with Google Friend Connect. Google wants their users to sign up for the connect service so they can better keep tabs on how users behave across the web. Whats this all mean? This data can be used now to lead to better, more profitable ads and ad networks in the future.

The score: Google 1 Facebook 0

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Twitter musings

Traditional carpet bombing advertising does not work well in social media networks. Heavy PR (one on one) conversational marketing is too costly. Your spending too much money, time and resources to get to the influencers. Brands who want to be effective with their scarce resources (budgets & marketing department personal), NEED to find out who is the top 5-10 influencer in their market and focus their one on one (conversational) marketing primarily on them.

A few examples of brands & Influencers taking advantage of Twitter: Shaq (THE_REAL_SHAQ), Lance Armstrong (lancearmstrong), MC Hammer (MCHammer), Walt Mossberg (waltmossberg). Get to these guys be it product reviews or endorsements, the larger the social media ROI. Have you seen how many "followers" these guys have on Twitter? It’s ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Las Vegas Hotel/Casino Social Media Review Update

I've been side tracked by high priority projects, biz trips, and various deadlines. This review is on-going and still in progress. It seems that most of these Casinos & Hotels (media relations) are not quite up to speed with the Web 2.0 tools or even blogger relations. Most of my emails and phone calls have been unanswered. This may be due to lack of interest in receiving FREE exposure and promotion. I just think that most of these hotel/casinos run very traditional marketing programs. I did, however, receive input and responses back from a few of these companies that recognize the importance of blogger relations in this new online marketing medium. To those companies that contacted me I give "kudos" and it will show up in my upcoming review. For those hotel/casinos that passed on my invitation, I will go ahead and research the following:

-I will make use of my various search tools and check if they have any type of social media sites up and running.
-I will measure the Twitter "buzz" on various days & nights to check how popular they are.
-I will use my LinkedIn contacts and try going that route to dig up online marketing info.

This is harder than I thought. I might scale the review back a bit and post. Then circle back around and ask the Hotel/Casinos to comment. Then I will rev the review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Las Vegas Hotel/Casino Social Media Review Primer

I'm finally putting together my Las Vegas Hotel/Casino social media review. In this review I will contact 5-10 Hotel/Casino's in Las Vegas and ask them the following questions:

Do they have a Social Media Strategy & how responsive is their PR communications with Bloggers?

What Social Media tools are these companies using? i.e., Tweeter? Podcasts? Video? Advertising on social media sites?

Which Social Media sites are they using to promote their Brand?

How do they measure success?

I will take the first five (5) companies to respond back to me. I will contact them (PR department) first by email, then if they don't respond, by phone. Scoring will be based on the A,B,C,D,F grading system. I'm curious to see if this industry fully embraces the web/PR 2.0 environment. Hang tight people, the review is coming!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Facebook Now The Most Visited Social Network On The Planet

Its official now according to comscore. While this may be true, its MySpace that dominates the U.S. market. The U.S. market is where the advertising revenue is at. Funny thing about all these stats is that they are overall numbers. Who knows how many spammers have MySpace accounts? Until they breakdown the numbers, be weary of reading too much into these stats.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tips On Setting Up Online (Interactive) Newsrooms

With the advancement of internet technology and the increase adoption of bandwidth around the world, the new PR/media relations professional has to make sure to embrace the new web 2.0 platform. Setting up an online newsroom for your company is essential for a few reasons:

1. It’s going to be the main source of credible information about your company, especially when journalists, analysts, and customers are researching at all hours or use your online news center to obtain breaking news.
2. The newsroom is also a great way to maintain control of brand communication (much better for a journalist to receive info straight from the brand rather than another source).
3. Newsrooms can also save in costs associated with sending out media kits or informational product DVD’s. All Media kit information can be converted into PDF format and posted in the newsroom as well as DVD converted into video format.

Most journalists expect to see the basic elements included in your newsroom. Basic elements include:

- Contact info for your main PR contact. Basic facts about the company. Executive bio section. Company’s point of view on its industry. Access to financial information, quarterly newscast of earnings. Easy downloadable images for stories. Images and logos should be in 72 dpi for web usage and hi-res 300 dpi files for print publications. Searchable news release archives. Product information.

Online newsrooms in this web 2.0 world range from the basics to the more advanced media centers with searchable databases, video presentations, and podcasts. These interactive newsrooms can contain blogs, RSS feeds, and SMR (Social Media News Releases). When sending out PR email alerts to journalists, it’s always good practice to put link backs to the online newsroom. Targeted messages using RSS feeds are also great for wireless devices like smart phones.

Other online newsroom features you will want to include are E-press kits. E-press kits include targeted news releases, images, statements and related content. Also include the ability for a journalist to sign up for email “media alerts.” If you really would like to cater to your journalists and media personal, include personal folders in the newsrooms with a password protected area to store information they’ve researched and want to archive for future use. Add special icons to into the press releases or other collateral that will enable the journalists with a simple click to add to their folder.

Break the newsroom into a corporate and consumer section. The consumer section should include news and info on customer satisfaction, feedback, e-commerce, marketing, safety, and service. As you build your online interactive newsroom keep the following in mind:

- Your brand’s newsroom will be a main source of credible information as journalist’s research story ideas or analysts looking for financial information.

- Understand the basics of your online newsroom before enhancing it. Add features and functions slowly. Keep in mind that most journalists today that access your newsroom are technologically savvy. Don’t be afraid to add advance features.

- Always post fresh content everyday (blogs are a good example). Fresh content will have journalists returning to your newsroom to check out the latest news and information.

- Build your newsroom in phases starting out with the basics. A second phase can include features such as RSS, podcasts, video. A third phase you can add blogs, tags, social bookmarking sites and even a technorati or summize (Twitter ) searches to check out all the chatter on a topic in the blogosphere or social media platforms.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Online Advertising: Are You Leaving Money On The Table With Your International Traffic?

It was reported in the wsj Thursday that Internet companies from blogs to large types are now drawing more of their web traffic from overseas. I know from personal experience that this blog’s traffic is more than 50% international. I’ve seen this trend rising the last couple of years (research data).

What exactly does this mean for companies that charge advertising? It means that when a foreign overseas visitor clicks on your site and your running banner ads that get you a monetary % of click thru’s, you are leaving money on the table. How? For example: European visitors clicks on your landing page and you (or the ad network platform you use) serve them a Verizon ad special that is only available in the United States. Is that ad compelling to the visitor? Do you think this International visitor is interested in clicking thru the US centric ad? No way!

Thousands upon thousands of ad revenue is lost and sitting right there on the table. The problem is that if your running a global media company and your serving up US ads, your potential revenue is in danger. Most of the US ad network platforms that websites use, only serve up US ads. What can you do to solve this issue? If your ad network is in house, make sure you serve your clients international visitors a country specific ad. it’s real easy to identify these visitors thru international domains, first-party cookies, and IP addresses. If it’s a U.S. visitor, serve up a U.S. ad. If you outsource to an online ad network that does not have these capabilities, try hiring an international advertising platform company. There are a lot of them that are London based. Need an ad network platform on the Pacific Rim or India where Internet usage is sky rocketing with the arrival of DSL? Try ad companies such as Komli Media (India). Selling internet ads to local international markets is a tough issue right now. Larger companies with resources have sales teams set up outside the US. Companies such as MySpace and Facebook (that now get over 50% of traffic from overseas) are trying to ramp up their sales teams internationally. The majority of Facebook's growth is international. Of the 75 million uniques it added in the last year, just 13 million (17%) were in the U.S., where MySpace is still twice Facebook's size. Internet usage overseas is anywhere from a few years behind to ground zero. As they gain access to telephone lines (DSL) and cable, this customer base will grow exponentially. You have to prepare to exploit your platform to serve these international visitors. Get to them now before your competitor does.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Adobe Teams Up With Google & Yahoo For Flash

Finally. This just in. Adobe will make it easier for search engines to index more content in applications built with its Flash software. As you know from my 2nd post, search engines have a hard time indexing Flash files. Now, with some "optimized Adobe Flash Player technology," they'll be able to "uncover information" in Flash files "that is currently undiscoverable by search engines." This is good news for searchers who now might be able to find more stuff on the web. Its also damn good news for publishers who use Flash applications: more of their content can now be indexed by Google than before, which will increase traffic!

A great move by Adobe. This will give companies and developers even more reason to keep using flash. Probably still wont show up in Microsoft Live Search as they have a competitor to flash called "Silverlight."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Safeguarding The Celebrity Brand Online

I’m sure everyone agrees that there are way too many “Celebrity” gossip websites out there. What I can’t believe in this day and age of a web 2.0 world, is that the individual celebrity publicist, or their agency’s do not really know how to protect their celebrity clients “brand” online. Online gossip websites are notorious for spreading rumors and FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt). FUD is a marketing and PR tactic used in the technology world to influence public perception by disseminating negative (and vague) information. Whether it’s a rumor, or FUD, the main reason for this tactic is increase website traffic and “clicks”. Traffic and clicks generate advertising revenue for these gossip websites and they will do anything or say anything to get their fair share of this revenue. Whether it’s true of not, this type of business model will ruin a celebrity brand. From what I can concur, Celebrities fight these gossip sites with lawsuits or threatening email. Both are a waste of time and money. So you drag a gossip website to court, and spend large amounts on legal fee’s just to get the site to tear down the blog or picture when they will do it again in a few months? Threatening emails or phone calls only will create negative media relations that may never be repaired between the celebrity and the website owner. In fact, it may encourage them to write more rumors and negative content. Old school tactics do not work anymore as there are thousands of these sites to litigate.

So what’s a celebrity to do? Well…………..first off, tell your publicist to stop sending nasty emails or handing it over to your legal team. It will only create more negative content and wasted energy. In addition to the old fashion publicists, celebrities, sports figures, or any famous person that wants to keep his or hers reputation/brand intact needs to hire a person specifically (or agency) to devote their time to defend and even develop strong working relationships with these websites or bloggers. In the corporate world we are seeing the standard media relations departments create groups under them specifically for “blogger relations”. A blogger relations team will initiate contact with all website or bloggers that write about the company. By establishing these relationships, a company, or in this case a Celebrity can get advance “heads-up” on possible rumors or FUD and head them off before they are posted on the web.

Why keep a celebrity brand intact? Because a “rumor” or “bad press” can take off and go viral on all sorts of social media sites. When that happens, sponsorships, scripts, movies, endorsement deals may reduce to a trickle or may even end. The entertainment world needs to start hiring “online publicists” to guard their celebrity investments! The online publicist’s job (only job) is to monitor the internet for ALL information posted about their client. They need to reply to negative (or positive) articles and blogs via the comments section. Develop personal working relationships with these bloggers so that they will double check their facts with the celebrity before posting any rumor or undesirable pictures. Other duties would be to establish official pages on social media websites (like a fan page on FaceBook) where you can communicate with the public on a regular basis to squelch any negative gossip. Again, the internet has matured and a celebrity publicist must also establish new tools in the web arena to successfully create or maintain their clients brand and image.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Week's Traffic Tip

Submit your website or blog to quality general directories. One such quality director is DMOZ:

This "Open Directory Project" is syndicated by many other sites. Including your website or blog in DMOZ will provide you with inbound links. Other directories to include:

Yahoo Search Directory Directory

There are many more you can include. Listing in directories is always an ongoing effort. New directories pop up everyday. Spend an hour a week listing your business or service in online directories. The payoff can be increased traffic.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Measuring Marketing Buzz Web 2.0 Style

Twitter. Love it, like it, or hate it. Whichever you prefer, Twitter is THE talk of social networking and communication nowadays. Twitter is considered a “micro-blogger” platform. Think of it as a short IM typed to the world. Twitter allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter web site, via the Twitter web site. Think of it as text messaging on the web. Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. What makes Twitter interesting is that if you have the right tools, this is one way of measuring your product or brands “buzz” on the internet. One such tool or “application” that will tell you if your new product or brand is the talk of the net is Summize is the twitter search engine that will give you conversations in realtime. It crawls through Twitter’s public timeline in realtime, thread together associated tweets (text messages) and lets you search for buzz words, keywords or whatever terms you might want to search for.

Did you just introduce your newest product? Search Twitter via Summize and see what people are saying about your product. Has your branding campaign been less than steller? Search Twitter via Summize and try to figure out why? Want to find out what people think of your website or blog? Search Twitter via Summize and find out. You get the picture. There are many other applications that leverage Twitters user base to chart tweet data. I have even seen an application that allows you to see trends on Twitter over time (I will cover that application in a subsequent post). Online Marketers must be able to use these Web 2.0 tools to test and measure their company’s overall strategy. These types of tools keep evolving, so always keep an eye out for updates or new applications that will leverage social media sites.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Week's Traffic Tip

Optimize Your meta tags!

Meta keywords tag: it should contain your primary keyword and its common misspellings and synonyms for spiders/web crawlers to pick up. You can have approximately 800 characters in this tag (including spaces). If a term is competitive, it is going to need to occur in your page copy and/or inbound link text for you to rank your page well. An example of a competitive term is "shopping". The meta keywords tag is typically used to highlight a couple of the main keyword phrases on which the page is focused. The meta description tag should be a few sentences of text that uses various versions of your keywords and describes the purpose of the given page.

Meta tags is a very small part of the overall website optimization strategy to bring in traffic. What's important here is that creating meta tags is easy and FAST. Just one piece of the overall puzzle. In the end, write your content for human consumption. If you write exclusively for search engines, the pages will read poorly and nobody will want to look at them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Getting Links To Your Site

  • Reciprocal links. These links are obtained by contacting other website owners and trading links with them. Google and other search engines give very little value to these types of links anymore, particularly if your links are to and from an unrelated site.
  • Directory submissions. There are thousands of niche and general interest directories on the internet that will allow you to submit a link to your website. Some are free and some are not. As with reciprocal links, the closer the directory is related to your site's topic, the better.
  • Article submissions are another fairly simple way of obtaining non-reciprocal links to your site. Simply write (or hire someone to write) a good article and submit it for free to one of the top article directories on the web, such as or
  • Write valuable quality content that other site owners will want to link to on their own.
  • Competitive Intelligence – Analyze the back links of your competitors. Try to get links from the same sites.
  • Submit to Verticals/Topical Guides (local libraries, local chamber of commerce)
  • Use Blogs and RSS – Google loves blogs
  • Create Podcasts or just put up plain old Screenshots – Bloggers love posting them

Monday, May 26, 2008

Quick Traffic Tip

A quick and dirty easy way of getting more website traffic is just a basic link page approach with a keyword.

  1. Get one page indexed and ranking
  2. Write a second post linking to the first (which will also then trackback to the second page)
  3. Use the same primary keyword in both posts
That's it folks. try it out and watch your traffic stats!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why you should be on Facebook

Because its a great business networking platform for self-promotion, branding, advertising and multimedia interaction. Why? Why spend the money and time? Below are a few basic reasons:

1. 70 million active users (potential customers!)
2. Facebook is the 6th most-trafficked website in the world (worldwide customer access!)
3. Facebook is the 2nd most-trafficked social media site in the world (MySpace is #1)
4. Over 55,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks
5. More than half of Facebook users are outside of college (means they have disposable income!)
6. The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older

The demographics are almost limitless for all different products and services. Just a simple Facebook fan page will work. A fan page is an official page for a brand on Facebook. A Facebook page is created and other users can become fans of the page. Put a linkback to your website and its yet another way to increase traffic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Music will be free within 5 years

That's my prediction. With all the pirating in China, and the existence and popularity of peer-to-peer software such as limewire (especially amongst the younger demographic) the profit margins will approach ZERO. Everyone knows CD sales are taking a nosedive. Costs of releasing an album includes marketing costs, royalties, manufacturing, etc.......too many costs associated when sales are decreasing. Where are the artists & labels going to generate any decent revenues?

Music will be free within 5 years (or most music). Artists are slowly finally getting it. Release music for free. Avoid the labels. Make money on your brand.......CONCERTS direct. The revenue will come from Concerts, T-shirts, advertising, website. There will be a bigger cut for bands that have quality loyal following. Ticket prices will go up but thats offset by free music. By making the music free, artists will open doors to more fans and demographics = generating more revenue by reducing costs. I can go on and on in much more detail but work is calling me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to Reach the New Media Influencers

Media is one of the most powerful groups out there. Whether your a big company or a small company, developing relationships with all kinds of media is crucial for your campaign. Knowing how to pitch the media is also crucial. Most online media hate PR flacks. The influencer's such as review site editorial, niche bloggers, or the online and hard copy magazines all have different ways they would like to be approached. For example. I know of one very influential hi-tech gadget blogger that will not look at a PR email blast or a canned email asking to review product. Instead, this blogger wants people to get involved in his blog community first..........then pitch him on his FaceBook wall. He does not have time to read PR email. He wants a 1-2 line pitch he can read FAST and from a person whom he sees in his blog feedback section that's active in his blog.

How do you find the names, websites, blogs or email address of the influencer's within in your industry?

Try these resources:
  • (Enables searching the blog library, RSS feeds, web to research facts, articles, and journalists in your chosen industry).
  • (provides a web-based software suite to help find and manage key journalists, analysts, bloggers).
  • (Cision's MediaSource software enables professionals to compile a general or TARGETED media lists online).
These resources can also have the value benefit of answering questions on how a journalist or blogger accepts pitches or how they like to be contacted. Bloggers are increasing within the media everyday and attract millions of eyeballs. Within my company I have created a "Bloggers Relations" group inside the Media Relations department. We concentrate on these blogs and establish working, friendly relationships with them. When its time to actually pitch the product or service, our blogger relations people have an easy time convincing the blog editorial on our newest product or service.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

SEO SEM quick traffic driving tips

A quick guide on how to drive traffic to your website. Traffic = Revenue.

1. Create a site map! should be linked to from every page on the site. This will help the search engine robots find every page with just two clicks.
2. Build inbound, one way links to the page or pages, preferably from topical sites that have a high page rank.
3. Find the "key phrases" that potential customers are using to find your products or services on your and competitors' pages.
4. Build link popularity (backlinks) = which means that other sites contain links to your site!
5. Update the pages on your website often. Content is KING.
6. Brand your website so that visitors always know they are on your site. Use consistent colors, logos and slogans and always provide a ‘Contact Us’ link on each page.
7. Put a blog on your website and update it every day! Then submit the blog to blog directories.
8. Make sure your website (company) is in Wikipedia.
9. Comment on Blogs
10. Submit Press Releases

Monday, May 5, 2008

PR and Blogging

Whew. I’m back. Finally. I’ve been working on some projects (work related) that needed special “detailed” attention. They took up a lot of my bandwidth these last few weeks. I woke up this morning thinking about my blog and how important blogs play a role in the new “PR”. I have friends at other companies think that blogs are a waste of time and offer no value. Of course, they are mostly in HR and engineers. They think that blogs are just rants and random entries people do in their downtime. What they completely underestimate is the fact in this new world PR order, a blog can become a destination, and aggregate of knowledge and expertise that helps customers (or investors) make decisions while also building relationships with them. Relationships are THE name of the game. Also, a lot of companies are paranoid (legal dept.) that if their employees start blogging, then it can also hurt relationships and even start creating misinformation that could lead to lawsuits i.e., public company stock takes a nose dive via a employees blogging that has “gone off the reservation” and starts ranting and railing against the said company. That is why every company (public) and most private need to have a safeguard in place if it’s to allow employees blog about the company and products on company time. There needs to be a final sign off on all blog posts (preferably a PR or legal) before it goes live. This safeguard is a necessity. Now, if the employee has their own personal blog and they do not write on company time, then so be it. They can write anything they want if it’s their own personal blog. Nothing wrong with that.

Everyone within a company is responsible for Public Relations. Media or investor relations are specific responsibilities of communications professionals. Those conversations are going to happen out there with or without them, and if companies aren’t on the radar screen, then they are missing valuable opportunities. Blogging also helps bring these customers and relationships back to your company site. This additional traffic will help brand awareness, sales (duh), and Google rankings. Need blog traffic? Just write good compelling content. It’s that easy. Other techniques to get your blog up and pumping traffic include: Links to other blogs, Link Building, buy Blog Ads (many sites out there offer this service), submitting to blog directories, or write guest articles for popular websites allows you to tap their brand equity, user trust, and traffic stream for free. So many ways. This is the new PR world order. Go get your company some exposure. Create relationships that go viral. The traffic and exposure will follow. Blog……….because your competitor is already doing it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good Flash, Bad Flash

I love Flash. I love the creativity. The look, and feel of a flash enabled website. But..............and I get this question constantly (as I did about 30 minutes ago). Web Crawlers for search engines do not pick up on the Flash files. So if your interested in website traffic, try not to program in flash (or at least offer the visitor a choice between viewing your content in either HTML or Flash on your landing page). If you NEED to have Flash, then make it it a flash "light" site. Also, in general, a heavy Flash site loads slowly which may piss off or alienate a visitor who is in a rush to get information. If they click back quickly to where they came from (a web search) your web logs will probably not count that click on your sites page. If you do offer an HTML version make sure you use robots.txt file on the Flash side so your website isn't indexed twice. Its just good "best practice".

I can go on and on and on but I'm just too tired at the moment ;)

Monday, March 24, 2008

First Post

Welcome to my blog! I'm using this blog as a "marketing exercise" to keep up with my skills. I think it is imperative for any business, service, or consulting to own a blog. I plan on posting mostly Marketing musings and ramblings when inspiration hits me. Use it any way you like. Post comments. Interact with me. I respect other peoples opinions. This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer. I will (hopefully) provide coverage of my skill set area (Marketing, Economics, Media observations, random thoughts). My current focus is in the SEM area. I love Online Marketing and anything related to it. My current position, at a well-known Hi-Tech company located in the Silicon Valley, is Director of Marketing OPS.

To set expectations, I plan on posting to my blog once or twice a week. I am super busy with my current job and personal life that I don't want to have that "monkey" on my back to post everyday. If this blog becomes real popular, and i get fired up to write every day, then so be it.

I get so many questions about Online Marketing, Site Optimization and website design from friends I thought this would be a great central place to refer them instead of answering questions over and over again. I'm also thinking about publishing a book and will try out a few of my ideas on chapters I have written and gain feedback. So I hope you enjoy reading my blog and rss feeding. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments or whatever crosses your mind in relation to Online Marketing because I dig it!