• Branding

  • Branding

  • Online

Branding

Print

Social Media

Online

Content

Media

12.14.2014

3 Useful Tools for Making Files Smaller

Graphics files and PDFs need to be lean and streamlined especially for appearing on web pages and for easy downloads. All too often a high quality, crisp image is also dense and heavy. However I have come across a few useful free online tools that easily take these heavy files and spit out nice, light useful files.

Small PDF
Reduces the size of your PDF online! This app compresses your PDF in the cloud for free to a perfect size that is still good quality.Just drag-and-drop your PDF file in the box above, wait for the compression to complete and download your file. It's that simple.
Direct Link: http://smallpdf.com/compress-pdf

Tiny PNG
TinyPNG uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your PNG files. By selectively decreasing the number of colors in the image, fewer bytes are required to store the data. The effect is nearly invisible but it makes a very large difference in file size! Just drag and drop up to 20 of your .png files (max. of 5MB each)
Direct Link: https://tinypng.com/

Tiny JPG
TinyJPG reduces the file size of your JPEG images. Every uploaded image is analyzed to apply the best possible JPEG encoding. Based on the content of your image an optimal strategy is chosen. The result is a quality image without wasting storage or bandwidth! Just drag and drop up to 20 of your .jpg files (max. of 5MB each)
Direct Link: https://tinyjpg.com/

11.05.2014

How do You Get Your Corporate Wikipedia Page Up

I'm a marketer hoping to get my company included in Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales created a bona fide global phenomenon with Wikipedia.org. The nonprofit site is used by 36 percent of adults in America alone (How Wikipedia impacts buying and selling.). I know that I need to engage with the community carefully. To that end, I'm organizing the tips that I've come across for how to work with Wikipedia and get an article created and monitor pages about a company. 

Notability
The first thing that I have to consider is the notability of my company. According to Wikipedia's notability guidelines. Wikipedia essentially defines notability based on a company’s substantial coverage in reliable secondary sources.
 
Getting Started
Marketing Sherpa (in Special Report: How to Get Your Company Listed on Wikipedia) has done a lot of research in this area and I want to quickly list the different approaches, which vary greatly, for getting a foothold on Wikipedia.
  • Create your own “Stub” article: a short, quick "just the facts" version of your article. Diana Huff says in How to Develop a Wikipedia Page that Sails Through the Approval Process "It pays to start by making small edits to existing pages to test your skills before trying to create new content." 
  • Propose an article for creation: use the Wikipedia system to ask that someone in the community write about this subject. 
  • Have a member of your community create an article: reach out to someone that you are friendly with in the Social Media sphere
Writing Content
The content of your article must be absolutely neutral and referenced, and meet the main criteria of notability.  Tony Ahn explains in How to Successfully Submit Your Article to Wikipedia, that "Trivial or incidental coverage in a source is not sufficient: It isn’t enough to just be mentioned a couple times. The coverage must provide information that can be used to add depth to a brand’s Wikipedia article. If the depth of coverage in a particular source is not substantial, then you must cite multiple sources. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject is not sufficient to establish notability."

You can take your time and be very particular about becoming familiar with Wikipedia and the style of articles, collecting good references, and vetting your text. Eventually you need to get involved and test the waters. Sal Partovi's answer to the question on Quora "How do you start a Wikipedia page about a company?" was "First of all, if you're going to just jump in and do it anyway, then be very careful to keep as neutral a point of view as possible (harder than you might think), and to reference every single sentence you write."

For my company page, I looked at the company pages for about 5 other companies in similar markets, studying the style and content of the articles.Then I wrote our article staying close to the subjects described in the articles that I found. In reviewing my first draft of article content, I put together all my sources and attributed the information in the article to strong, third party references. If I had a point or claim that I couldn't reference, then I trimmed those parts out. This left me with a draft that was neutral, clearly referenced point by point and notable.

Patience
As one respondent on Quora explained in response to the query How do you start a Wikipedia page about a company?, "Expect this to take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to get authored and accepted." It can be a longer process than expected, validated in the article How to Get Your Company Page Up in Wikipedia saying, "We were trying to publish a company article for a while and believe me we tried hard. Our submission was rejected two times, but finally it got approved."

Diana Huff said, "After waiting about 12 days for a response, I saw that other pages that had been submitted around the same time as mine had gotten their approvals, or challenges, or had been deleted. Eventually, I assumed mine was fine and went ahead and moved it to the public space."

After submitting my first article, the Wikipedia page displayed the message "This may take several weeks, to over a month. The Articles for creation process is severely backlogged. Please be patient. There are 2718 submissions waiting for review."

Jumping In
The delay and patience that I described is due to Wikipedia's Articles for Creation (AfC) project, which was set up with the purpose of allowing people to submit articles for peer review and movement to the main space of Wikipedia. Michael Wood describes how to get your article approved by Wikipedia, explaining that " posting an article to the main space is not against Wikipedia guidelines and you do not necessarily have to go through the AfC process. While it is a good idea in theory, there are many reasons why the AfC process can otherwise hold up a good article from being created. If you are unsure if your article meets Wikipedia guidelines, then AfC could be the way to go."

So I took my article out of the long Articles for Creation queue and manually moved it into the Wikipedia mainspace. Wikipedia explains that this can be done "if your account is already autoconfirmed, you have the ability to move the page on your own."  In the 'Move' option, you just select (Article) and save. This makes the article 'live'.

Should You Write a Wikipedia Page about Your Company
Wikipedia wants the sites content to be neutral, so it takes great exception to having employees of a company putting information about their own company on Wikipedia. While there are biased, agenda-filled marketing promoters looking to leverage Wikipedia's web strength to promote their product, many others legitimately want to play by Wikipedia's rules and contribute a non-biased, notable article about their company (rather than the company not noted at all). Geoffry James noted the absurdity of this situation in his article in CBS's MoneyWatch, How to Game Wikipedia, "in the twisted world of Wikipedia, a corporate updater (even if identified as a real person with a real identity) is assumed to be biased, while any anonymous troll with a chip on his shoulder is considered a "real" person capable of making judgments about what's appropriate to go in a corporate entry."

To address this situation, Phil Gomes penned a post, CREWE Corporate Representative for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement, and setup a Facebook group to explore the issue of  corporate communicators engaging Wikipedia. He lays down four pillars:
  • Corporate communicators want to do the right thing.
  • Communicators engaged in ethical practice have a lot to contribute.
  • Current Wikipedia policy does not fully understand #1 and #2, owing to the activities of some bad actors and a general misunderstanding of public relations in general.
  • Accurate Wikipedia entries are in the public interest.

I published our company's page on Wikipedia. It was not promotional, and simply factual based  on what third parties have reported about the company. The company, for now, is in the Wikipedia directory and hopefully as the company grows and more notable events happen, there will be more to report in Wikipedia.

References

7.22.2013

Marketing Through Facebook

Facebook is an amazing network. Facebook says it now has 1.11 billion people using the site each month (Number of active users at Facebook over the years). This is incredible. But it's still not like shooting fish in the barrel.

Many have said, so how can I use a Facebook page to grow my business?

The Power of Likes
The new measure of popularity is the Like. Forget about subscribers or traffic, a Like offers you far more. This new element is not just a vote a support, but provides a portal into a massive network. With each like, the person, profile, or page making the like exposes you to that individual's network.

If you get 10 likes from 10 different sources that each have 100 friends, your Facebook page has just been exposed to 1000 people. Exposure provides the potential for greater interaction and ultimately conversion.

Your Facebook Page Goals
Intrinsically you don't just want people to be like your Facebook Page content but ultimately to be intrigued and inquire further about your service or product. This means keeping in focus your Facebook Page goals and turning tepid clickers, into potential clients or customers.

It's Not About Me
The problem that many business oriented Facebook Pages fall into is that they nearly exclusively focus on their product or service. They post links to descriptions of their product, pictures of their product, and deeper explanations about their product. Do I want to go out for coffee and listen to someone only speak about himself the whole time?

That is the switch in attitude, where it's not about me. So then what should your Facebook Page content be filled with?

The Facebook Page experience is like a dialog, even considered to be a conversation in a coffee shop. How do I draw in the interest of the other party that I am engaging? You want to provide information that THEY are interested in.

For instance, if your business is real estate, and you have a Facebook Page about this business you may be inclined to post everyday about different properties that you are trying to rent or sell. However most of your contacts, on a daily basis, do not need this service and will probably ignore these posts. You want to engage them with content that they will care about.

Parallel Content
Instead of just focusing on the content or service you want to push, you should bring in related content that would be interesting to a broader audience on a more immediate level. Taking the example of the real estate business, consider what a potential client is looking for. It is not just about walls and a roof over their head, but they are looking for neighborhoods.

Change your orientation from just being another real estate agent to being a lifestyle expert. Focus on the geographic areas where you are dealing in real estate, and share valuable information about those areas. You can:

  • Share insights and reviews about restaurants in that town
  • Announce seasonal cultural events
  • Find interesting and unusual local news 
  • Highlight unique characters and people from that area
  • Share tips for how to better travel in that area (traffic or public transportation)
  • Give ideas for where to volunteer or other community activities

By sharing parallel content, the issues that surround and matter to living in those areas, you are not just a real estate agent but an expert. Once you become an expert, you become an information authority and people want to turn to you for your opinion, insights and ideas. When they rely on you in one area, they will gladly share your posts and recommend you to others. This provides the fuel to ignite your entry into the broader network on Facebook and not just rely on upon your established audience.

Driving a Wider Net of Likes   
When your information becomes relevant and interesting on a more frequent basis the level of interaction can grow. Always look beyond your direct service and see what are the concerns and information surrounding this service that can be interesting to your target audience. This doesn't mean throwing in wildly different subject areas like movie review and real estate, where there is no synergy between the two subjects. But recommendations for local movie theaters can be a nice fit for real estate, emphasizing the surrounding value of that area.

Since running a Facebook Page is like fishing, when you put a small net into the water, you will wait a long time for something to finally come into your net. By making your net wider with more parallel information relevant to your subject area, you increase your chances of catching the eye of unlikely prospects, and getting more business.

What are the subject areas that surround your business that can complement interest in your service or product?

Smoke and Mirrors of Site Traffic

So I came across this request, to do more articles about comic book movies because those articles are showing spikes in traffic. The problem is that the site is selling irrigation supplies. What does this kind of circumstance tell us? A lot.

Analytics Addiction
Some people get a high for different things, and Google Analytics can be another addiction driver. The metrics produced by Google Analytics can be powerful indicators to different behavior in the website. This can help show if a campaign is successful, and what kind of results are being produced by our content development efforts. But when Google Analytics ceases to be a tool and source of metrics to measure our efforts, but the end unto itself, then it loses significance. This is the Google Analytics addiction, getting a high from just watch traffic spike up.

Why is this dangerous? Because it obscures goals and reduces the importance of marketing efforts. Instead of developing content for conversion to promote your business, you get sucked into basically a meaningless effort to keep the traffic spikes up without seeing how it effects the goals of the website.

The goals can be be grow subscribers, get prospects to inquire about the product, or download relevant product content. The folks visiting the site about articles on comic book movies aren't interested in irrigation supplies and won't inquire or share the site with their friends.

Empty Calories
This kind of traffic is essentially worthless, and just feeds the Analytics Addiction. This kind of traffic is described as non-targeted traffic.  Non-targeted traffic is really useless as these visitors are not interested in your content at all. Or as MaAnna Stephenson colorfully described, "Non-targeted traffic is like empty calorie food. It over-inflates your numbers, but you get nothing worthwhile in return."

Myth of More Traffic  
Isn't more traffic better? Don't we want to push up the numbers? Yes and no. Pushing up the numbers for the kinds of visitors that we want who would be interested in our site and product is good. However just pumping up the numbers for the sake of pumping up the numbers doesn't serve the needs of the site.

Off-topic content may pull in more initial traffic, but you have to think about why you want that traffic in the first place. If your site is intended to sell products, will 'off topic' traffic drive sales? Probably not! These visitors are visiting your site despite your products and offering. Therefore the chances of them buying a product or showing interest in a service is very low.

Such misguided measures should be avoided for promoting your website.

Vicious Cycle
As we see simply generating traffic is a self-fulfilling metric. When you diverge from your goals and rate your activity by the simple success of your own actions, then you fall into a vicious cycle that drives you to produce traffic rather than tangible results.

As Milica Pantic (Mitz) observes in How More Traffic Does Not Always Mean More Money, "If you stopped generating the wrong traffic and concentrated on making conversions and meeting your goals you would be shocked at the results you see. Webmasters spend 90% of their time trying to drum up traffic and 98% of that traffic is rubbish, while only 2% converts."

Stay Focused
Ultimately you must resist the lure of 'traffic high' Keep your goals clearly in front of you and focus on fulfilling them. Measure how your traffic is coming to the relevant pages of your site, signing up or subscribing, and actually purchasing on your website. When off-topic content only produces traffic spikes to those specific pages, then you moving further from your goals and becoming self-absorbed.

So how do you drive relevant, targeted traffic to your website?

7.06.2013

5 Quick Ways to Enhance your Blog and Boost Visitors

Recently I talked to a friend about his blog. He was happy with the content and interactions, but felt like the crowd watching his blog had grown stagnant and he wanted to expand his reach for his blog. Looking it over, I had some quick suggestions that he could implement immediately.

1. Limit Article Content in Email Subscriptions
I subscribe to his email updates, and get the full article in my email. Due to this situation, I rarely actually visit his site to read articles (and thus my status as an active reader would not be recorded by analytics for metrics).

So I suggested that he configure his articles so that only an introductory paragraph goes out to email subscribers, with a 'Read More' link in order to bring readers back to the actual article to read on his blog. This way more readers are recorded as visitors, and readers can be encouraged to interact more.

2. CTA - Call to Action
One of the first things that he noticed about me was that I wasn't commenting on his articles (I was reading articles in email). While the articles were written well written and meaningful, the reader was not directed to do anything.

A question should be posed at the end of each article, encouraging the reader to share their impressions. Often the more provocative the question the better. This is a way to better engage your readers and make the post more interactive.

3. A Bit of SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a huge area to learn and implement in a website and can be overwhelming, but there a few steps that can be taken to tap into this side of web promotions.
Tags and Categories based on keywords. When the keywords used have been researched for popularity and competitiveness, then they can be leveraged and hopefully used like a magnet to pull in new followers.

A good tool for evaluating keywords is the Google Keyword Tool (usually associated with AdWords)
The tags that were being associated with the posts in the blog seemed to have been chosen at random, and none of the articles had been associated with categories.

By putting in the time to research a bunch of keywords tools like tags and categories can be leveraged more effectively.

4. Visibility
Maybe I am missing something, but I found it difficult to find articles on his site. The site was set up where the current blog article was the star, and all other posts faded away. The only way to see previous content was through a small list on the right sidebar for 'Recent Posts' (with just 3 links) and the 'previous' button on top of the article. There were no lists by months, or categories.

Also more cross linking is important (especially embedding the links on specifically keywords). By internally linking to other content on your site, you can help keep your readers on your site longer, encouraging them to read more of your stuff, perceiving it as related to a current article. Also internal linking helps SEO by giving the search engine a way of evaluating the hierarchy of your site, by seeing which articles have more internal links.

5. Promoting Others
It is great to do guest blogs on your site. This kind of cross-content development offers a chance for greater exposure and wider promotions, where your guest blogger can also be a content evangelist for your site as well.

Some common issues I see with the guest blogger: in the title of a guest blog, don't write "Guest Blog - Always Dry Your Towel".

This kind of title provides a clue to readers that they should treat this information differently than your usual posts, and undermines the potential for synergy from the guest post. Rather, you should be more aggressive in promoting your guest blogger, with a title like "Jerry Addams Says Why You Should Always Dry Your Towel", then indicate as a subtitle to the author name at the beginning of the article that this is a guest blog.

Also, to get the attention of others bloggers in your ecosystem, you can write articles (really reviews) about their blogs and how you have been following them and what you like about them.


5.24.2013

Can You Outsmart Google?

I got the following question recently.


A while ago I put Google Adsense on a web site I did.
Every time someone clicks on them, he gets some revenue.
What is to prevent someone from (unscrupulously) clicking on the ads, say, from different computers, so that he can earn a lot of money? 


Yes of course, it is an obvious scam that Google had to address.  It is not only wrong but terribly risky.
Google, for instance, would see the frequency that clicks come from similar IPs.
Even by going to a variety of different computer, the amount of different computers in different geographies required to outsmart Google would not be possible to undertake on an individual level, and eventually patterns would be seen by Google.
The punishment could definitely mean that Google removes the site from their index, dooming the site to never being found, let alone appearing in ranking.

For all the ways Google uncovers fraud see: How Do Google Adsense Detect Fraud Clicks



4.29.2013

Which Story Is Your Brand Telling?



AdWeek's Tim Nudd recently talked to creatives and explored archetypal plots reflected in leading brands.

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/7-basic-types-stories-which-one-your-brand-telling-144164