Thursday, November 29, 2007

Consumers Define Social Media Marketing

As with everything in marketing, it’s the consumer who defines the market in the end. And we are there ready to give them what they want via what we call MarCom On Demand. Today it’s essential that companies – large or small – deploy an online marketing strategy that engages its customers. People research stuff on the Internet, so they can basically find anything that they want online. They go to chat rooms, and join social networking sites like Linked In, Facebook or MySpace, read blogs, newsletters, news groups, and often interact in online forums, wikis and chat rooms.

We have been out there experimenting with all the latest the social media marketing tools for more than three years – the search engine optimized online marketing strategies and tactics that will draw customers in by way of putting our clients’ info out there on the Internet. It’s working. Many of our clients are now on the first pages of the search engines like Google, or Yahoo. As people are seeking information about our clients’ products and services, we have made sure that every piece of content on the Internet about our clients, such as their website copy, press room, and then press releases we distribute over the wires, and articles that we post in submission sites, are chocked full of the keywords that we have determined are best. We do a keyword analysis for each client, and these are the words being used to pull in information in on by individuals searching the Net.

Nowadays, we have become more like online business consultants at MarCom Broadband, and we have to really know our clients business, and know their customers. It takes hours of research sometimes – just to get it right. Then we use many different social media tools to convey messages for our clients – everything from ghost writing their blogs to writing newsletters. My associate Mike is doing some really cool video podcasts and video shorts for clients that he posts in over 25 plus different video sites, including the big ones like YouTube and Google, as well as on the client’s websites.

Meanwhile I have been busy writing, as I call it, “six ways to Sunday” with topics that stretch from press releases to blog copy to articles that I write in a very special social media format. This includes keywords placed in specific places, and using a specific number for characters in the titles and subheads. It’s all geared for the search engines to be able to read the content – and if your keywords are placed right, Google reads it, then serves it up to people using their engines to find what they want.

The bottom line is -- the days of just simply advertising and pushing PR messages out to people are over. With anti spam software, how many emails to you simply avoid these days? Even the media use the Internet to find what they want, so PR people become less important. It’s now more important than ever to engage people in conversations, get them interested, share knowledge, and let them sell themselves on your client’s products and services.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Value of SEO and Social Media Marketing

The transition that is going on in the marketing communicaitons industry is interesting. There are alot of people who know that their websites need Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and many actually believe that their website designers have already done this for them. We see all too often that web masters use duplicate title tags. For example, each page may have the same name - the name of the company. This does not work because Google sees it as you spaming yourself. Here are some basics below.

Each page should have its own unique title tag with keywords (preferably chosen from a keyword Analysis) done by an SEO pro like MarCom's Mike Keesling. If possible, each page should have its own unique description tag as well. Note: in some content management systems this is impossible to achieve as they assign descriptions on a global basis only. In this case, it is better to eliminate the description tag entirely, rather than use one phrase repeatedly for every page.

This brings me to content building and social media marketing. The purpose of building content on your web pages is so that you will have more opportunities for keyword placement. Flash sites cannot be optimized. And sparcely designed web pages with little content offer no SEO advantage either. At least have other content (clickable) on back end pages. Three deep is about as far as the search engines will go.

Content building is part of social media marketing. I write articles for clients that feature their keywords and link back to specific web pages on their sites with those key words. This way Google sees that there's activity going to their website, and begins ranking their site better. The goal of course, is to get the client ranked on page one of Google.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Reputation Management Online

Have you ever wondered what to do when something shows up online that you wish would just go away? You know - like when you blasted that person's blog comment. Or the time you were being interviewed by the press and said something they took out of context and published online.

In case you hadn't noticed, things have a way of lingering around on the Internet -- and in fact -- they never go away. They just get pushed back to the earlier pages of the search engines like Google -- and if you are lucky -- when it's something you want to just forget about, it will eventually be replaced. The bad news that it's always searchable, and findable. There is even one website where you can find stuff on the very first initial Internet. Internet acrchives - if you will. (I forgot the website address for that.)

The first and MOST important thing is to remember that ANYTHING you post online, anywhere, will remain there, visable for all to see. So be careful what you say in forums, and on other people's blogs in the comment sections.

I do many press releases, if you search for my name on Google, you will find a number of old press releases that I have written and posted. They go back for years. And there is a novelist (romance novels) named Kristin Gabriel, but it's not me. I spoke to her once and asked her if that was her real name. Nope she just invented it for her writing. Now I can't use my name for the book I am writing. It will have to have my niddle name associated with it.

A couple of years ago MarCom had the pleasure of helping one former client with this problem, and it seems that he's not the only one, because we are getting more new business calls regarding this topic. It took about 6-9 months to clean up the mess that was online. We actually used one cool trick. we created a special website only in his name. And we posted a ton of content there that was bout all the good things he has been doing - like charity events, etc. That site was optimized properly, and then we started adding content articles in other spots on the Internet, and built links to his website. It really helped push his negative posts down off page one.

In some cases, when there's a live link on a website with negative content that you want to disassociate from - it may be necessary to approach the person who posted the info, and ask them to remove it.

Another place to be careful - and my associate Mike Keesling would be happy to talk in depth about it - is Another client of ours, T.S. Wiley and The Wiley Protocol, has had an ongoing challenge with an adversary group. All contributions are subject to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and only adminstrators have special privileges, however, updates can become more than definitions, but online arguments. It's not very productive, and at some point can become fodor for legal disputes, especially when companies are concerned. The point here is that some people can use tools like this to try to succeed with smear campaigns. Wikipedia does allow the posting -- "This is a controversial topic and may be under dispute. Please read this talk page and discuss substantial changes here before making them." But in the end, using Wikipedia this way requires a huge amount of monitoring.

When doing reputation management strategies for hte web, we use many of the same tools we use for online marekting campaigns -- such as blogs, article submissions, and PR Web releases. It's all about pushing the negative listings down and replacing them with positive links.

Monday, November 5, 2007

BloggerWorld Conference

This week from Wednesday - Friday, Nov. 7 - 9 the first "BlogWorld & New Media Expo" will be taking place in Las Vegas. (Go to www.blogworld The promoters promise it to be an exciting forum for members of both the new and traditional media. It's open to any blogger, vlogger, podcaster, Internet radio broadcaster, or producer of any other form of new media content. I wonder if their press room is open then to ALL bloggers, or just traditional media.

I am happy to see that the traditional "media stunt" is sill part of this celebration. The conference will play host to the first annual BlogWorld & New Media Expo's "World's Largest Pajama Party." That should serve up some interesting podcasts and photos.

I also wonder if the presenters (there are seven keynote speakers) will be answering some of the questions that we are confronting these days with clients as everyone transitions into the blogosphere. One keynote is with Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and founder of, plus a recent contestant on ABC-TV's Dancing with the Stars. He is the author of the popular "Blog Maverick" blog.

For example one of my questions came about when writing a press kit for one new project. It has come to my attention that many websites are no longer featuring press kits for the media. On eBay, for example, I could not find a traditional press kit to download. As this is a traditional media tactic, is it still important to make press kits available that are journalistically written in AP Style for the media to specifically just "lift" and use the content therein? I think so -- although I no longer believe a had printed folder with paper inside is a good idea. environmentally speaking it's a waste. So a CD/DVD version would be better for handing out at trade shows. Our client Acutrack, Inc. handles that for marketers in its On Demand Production product.

I have numerous blog posts out there to query and find out the answer to this question BTW, and I will post the answers in a future blog post.

I know that from now on many media within the blogosphere, won't pay any attention to anything unless it comes in RSS format. In fact, here is the Shift Communications new media format RSS enabled press release.

Happy blogging.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Big Influencers in Social Media Marketing and PR

I am talking about Paul Gillin's new book about blogging "The New Influencers: A Marketer's Guide to the New Social Media." If you come out of technology like I do, you probably already know Paul. He was editor-in-chief of Computerworld, then started TechTarget. I met him along the way when I worked for several anti-virus companies. But as the book tells us on the cover, "This is essential reading for anyone who missed the blogging train when it left the station." I was on the train, but like many PR professionals, was preoccupied looking out the window watching the landscape speed by while others, like Paul and most all of those mentioned in his book, were conducting.

The problem with recommending this book is that the more people who know all the details about social media marketing, the more competition MarCom Broadband will have. LOL Oh well. I got an earlier start than most, and have been doing search engine optimization and marketing for almost three years now. My first assignment was trying to get rid of negative Internet posts for one client. (Hint: Be careful what you write on the Internet, because it will stick around for awhile.) I am still tripping over some technical issues with blogging. Adding trackbacks, blogrolls, etc. It's easier to recommend to one's clients than to have the time to do it for yourself sometimes. It's that old shoemaker and his kids going barefoot routine. But I'll get there.

We have successfully converted many traditional PR clients to half PR and half social media. Again much of what PR people do best is writing - and its all about content on the web. (See my other blogpost on this topic.) One project in particular that has been a big success is T.S. Wiley, who is an author (Lights Out and Sex Lies and Menopause) and an expert in the controversial topic of hormone replacement therapy, having developed The Wiley Protocol.

Here's one bit of advice that everyone can use. The future is all about change. A new economy is emerging (or for some - has emerged). And if you made it through the tech boom without getting rich, now's your chance again. Study up, be innovative and start blogging. The difference now is that we all must be totally honest, because communicaitons is all about new ways to connect, and share ideas and information in real time.

PS: After finishing the book this morning, I was convinced to start another blog - a special interest blog, which I did, and will divulge it once I have made some posts. (Just a hint, as my friends know, it is about a favorite topic of mine -- real ghosts or "energy" and psychic experiences.)