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How to Market to the “Untouchables”

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One of the BlogWorld presentations I caught was Maggie Fox‘s “Marketing to the Untouchables.” Who are the so-called “untouchables”? They aren’t people who aren’t affected by marketing. They aren’t people who don’t get online. In fact, they are extremely affected by marketing and spend as much time as possible online.

Maybe I shouldn’t say as much time as possible…they spend as much time online as their parents allow.

That’s right – the untouchables are kids – those under 13 who log online and use sites like Webkinz, Lego.com, and Disney’s Club Penguin. There are very strong FTC regulations about how you market to these users, and as Maggie pointed out, the discussion about marketing to children is extremely uncomfortable. Here are some of the key points from her presentation:

  • Kids’ experiences online are like honeycombs. There’s not a lot of social sharing possible, so while they’re online doing cool things, they’re in little walled spaces.
  • This is a long game. Kids have a lot of buying power by influencing their parents, but by building brand loyalty, a business can sell to them 10+ years down the road.
  • They don’t care about things that we care about like taglines, consistency in design, and brand messaging.
  • Everything has to be fun, their friends have to be doing it, and they have to get their parents’ okay.

Maggie also went into details about the three important aspects of marketing to kids:

  • “The Build” – an activity where you build something
  • The Reward – points, prizes, etc. that you get for logging online and participating
  • Integration – some kind of social object that’s taken offline and can be shared with friends in the real world (like a stuffed animal)

Again, this is an uncomfortable topic, but as long as you follow the rules, you can ethically market to kids and build your business.

Thank you, Maggie, for a wonderful presentation! Readers, check out more from Maggie at Social Media Group.

Meet the Blogger: Michael Brandvold, Michael Brandvold Marketing

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Meet the Blogger is a feature here at the BlogWorld blog where we introduce you to some of newest bloggers in various niches. Today, we’re talking with Michael Brandvold, who blogs at Michael Brandvold Marketing. Check out his interview below, as well as the full list of Meet the Blogger interviews (including instructions for participating).

Allison: Thanks for being a part of Meet the Blogger, Michael! Tell us a little about you and your blog.

Michael: I am a freelance music industry consultant based in Northern California. Having launched Michael Brandvold Marketing to leverage my years of experience (over 20) to provide direction to large and small clients in the areas of online & social marketing as well as e-commerce and customer acquisition and retention.

Gene Simmons of KISS first tapped my skills as a pioneering online marketing strategist to launch and manage all aspects of Kissonline.com‘s multi-million dollar enterprise, including their ground-breaking VIP ticket program.

I have also managed the online branding,  marketing,  and sales efforts for U2,  Motley Crüe,  Rod Stewart,  Madonna,  Ozzy Osbourne,  Madonna and Britney Spears,  as well as marketing programs for iconic entertainment corporations including Universal Music Group,  BMG/Sanctuary Records,  Rhino Records,  and Playboy,  to name only a few.

My blog is simply my outlet to provide the knowledge and insight from working with all these clients. I provide very actionable advice, tips and directions for musicians.

What initially attracted you to blogging and why did you choose to blog about music marketing?

I have always had a opinion when it came to online marketing for bands and felt it was time to fully express it. Music has been my passion since I was a kid. I have been in a band, buy I have been a fan my entire life.

I noticed that you’ve chosen to have a static page as your homepage, rather than a homepage that shows your most recent blogposts. What led to this decision?

I guess that comes from many years of building and managing websites. I like to have a static page that I can control to push and promote whatever I need. Though honestly this might change as I am working on a new site template.

What are some of the challenges you’re facing as someone who’s new to blogging?

Probably the biggest challenge was establishing myself as a authority. I know what I was talking about, and friends and clients knew as well. But nobody else knew me from the man on the moon. So I have spent six months really focused on becoming a respected authority.

Establishing authority is something I think is a challenge for a lot of new bloggers. Can you give us some tips/advice on this topic – what have you been doing that works?

I have spent the first six months focused on nothing more than blogging and providing knowledge. Before even thinking about using your blog to generate revenue you need to establish yourself. Gain trust of the community before you start looking for revenue. Blogging, Facebook and Twitter engagement needs to be consistent, and seek out other established authorities and engage with them specifically. Join the communities they are part of, follow the sites they follow. And finally, write about what you care about. Don’t worry about not having an audience initially, just keep writing. The audience will find you.

What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned so far as a blogger?

Write about what you believe in. If you are called to back up something you write that can be difficult if you don’t care about the topic. If you love what you write about you can defend and stand behind your words very easily. Oh, and maybe don’t be afraid of some controversy.

I love that you have a ton of audio content on your blog – it really fits your niche well! Can you give bloggers some tips for transitioning from text-only to producing audio content?

After a few months of blogging the transition to a podcast just felt very natural. Don’t over plan a podcast, just do it. Let it be natural and just flow. Talk about what you might normally discuss with a friend. I have also posted alot of audio clips that I have gathered over the years. Interviews I have conducted, as well as some radio clips. If you can find audio that interests your audience go for it. Be sure to do your best to credit the source.

What blogging topics do you hope to learn more about in the coming months?

Hmm, really good question. I would love to learn more about using my blogging to get speaking engagements and how to translate my blogs into ebooks.

Thanks again for the interview, Michael! Readers, make sure to check out Michael’s blog, and follow him on Twitter @michaelsb.

The Bronx Zoo’s Cobra on Twitter: Marketing Gold in the Making

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As you’ve probably heard, one of the snakes at the Bronx Zoo disappeared earlier this week. It didn’t take long for the snake to start tweeting. The spoof account, which you can find at @BronxZoosCobra has over 184,000 followers as I’m writing this, with more followers jumping on board every minute.

While I’ll admit that his tweets are pretty hilarious, a friend of mine did make a good point that it won’t be so funny if the real-life snake actually kills someone before it’s captured.

Still, it’s pretty ingenious the way the snake is replying to people and promoting NYC locations – there’s definitely marketing potential there if whoever is running the account goes that route. Already, business twitter accounts like @HiltonNewYork and @sesamestreet have gotten some snake love, as have locations like Planet Rose in the East Village, where the snake was apparently doing karaoke (White Snake, of course) and Metropolitan Museum of Art, where “The Temple of Dendur really kicks some asp.”

People following the snake probably don’t even realize the advertising going on here. And, to be fair, the person running the twitter account may not realize the potential either. I think it’s really smart, though – and long after the snake is captured, this could continue to be a great way to promote NYC events. As long as the account continues to be funny, people will continue to follow it. As Super Bowl advertisers learned long ago, people respond will to humor.

In my opinion, if it isn’t already being run by someone at the Bronx Zoo, they should approach the person who so ingeniously jumped on the opportunity and work out a deal. This could be a great marketing tool for the zoo in the future – the cobra could even become a spokesperson…er, snake…for the zoo, announcing new exhibits and promoting zoo events. It could potentially mean a lot of new visitors to the zoo, and that means more profits. It’s a win-win situation.

Again, it’s important to note that the actual problem of the missing snake is serious. According to reports I’ve read, cobras make rattlesnakes look like kittens and a snake like this can stay hidden for a long time before traps can work. They can kill a human in 15 minutes. While the zoo asserts that the snake is somewhere in the building, there’s really no way to know for sure (though I will agree that it is highly unlikely the snake would venture out into the cold with all the nooks and crannies in a reptile house to explore instead). So, although talking about the marketing potential for a light-hearted Twitter account is fun, I do want to send my sincerest wishes for a speedy capture of the snake to avoid any injuries or worse.

Online Marketers Take Note: Over 270k People Want a Petite Lap Giraffe!

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Want to know if a product is going to sell before you even produce it? Get the product on a commercial, create a (fake) online component, and have fans sign up on the waiting list! At least that’s what Sokoblovsky Farms is offering with their Petite Lap Giraffe – and they’re going strong at over 270,000 interested customers.

Of course, you can’t tell if that number is truly accurate. A fan clicks on the button and doesn’t provide any further information! So, I’d suggest if you go this route, you actually have someone sign up 🙂

I’ve seen this website in my social media streams several times today, and I can see why. I’d certainly consider having an adorable mini giraffe in my house (actually I’d rather a mini panda I think). And it seems legitimate. The website has a streaming video (that appears to be on a loop) and some amazing photoshopped images of little giraffes in the palm of someone’s hand and in a bathtub. But the real kicker is the commercial.

The petite lap giraffe is featured in two commercials for DirectTV starring Timothy V. Murphy – and it seems there was such interest in the tiny sidekick, they decided to take the adorable running giraffe and add its own online component.

You never know what aspect of your marketing people are going to latch onto … so it’s always worth staying on top of your campaigns!

How to Monetize the Content of your Blog in Speaking Engagements

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… by Barry Moltz

Make New Things We love to write, but it’s time we learn to monetize our content. Many bloggers try to sell consulting services as a primary source of income. While this may work in the short term, it is difficult to make a lot of money billing by the hour. There is no leverage in consulting services when paid hourly. While many bloggers turn to selling products through their website, an overlooked path to monetizing content is speaking professionally.

Before picking up that big check, people need to have a reason to listen. Every blogger should articulate a strong brand and promise: For example:

  • What have you done?
  • With who (brands more famous than you)? What did they say about you?
  • What have you published?

The most effective place to get content for your speeches is from past blog posts and articles at other sites. Repurposing content from tweets to these articles or guests posts can also be effective. Videos with other ‘bigger named’ people also will extend your brand. Podcasting is now simple with free tools such as Blog Talk Radio. Most importantly, increase your reach by blogging about what is in the general news that day which revolves around your area of expertise.

If you want to be paid as a speaker, your web site needs to have the following:

  • One line brand on what you speak about.
  • What the audience will learn.
  • Video of you speaking.
  • Which type of businesses benefit most from your speeches.
  • Show your expert deliverables: your books, webinars, and ebooks.

Where do you start constructing a speech?

  • Find the two things you want your listeners to learn.
  • What are the 5-7 points you want to emphasize with stories, examples and action items?
  • What is the impactful opening and closing that the audience is sure to remember?

Don’t memorize, but learn the speech. Break it into 3 to 5 minutes modules that you can be comfortable learning. Practice, Practice, Practice Outloud!. Watch video of yourself giving the speech. This is the key un-magic of speaking. Don’t have the arrogance that you can just wing it on stage. Don’t get fooled by watching other professionals that make it look easy. The good people have practiced it hundreds of times.

How much should you be paid? Start small. Do it for free to get experience. Then, charge expenses and a small honorarium (Less than $500). Using these initial speaking engagements as your base will propel you to command four to five figure fees.

Tell us how you made the leap!

Barry Moltz has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. He helps small businesses get unstuck and get back their long forgotten potential. Follow him at www.barrymoltz.com or on Twitter @barrymoltz.

Bonnie Harris on Traditional versus New Media (part 2)

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Yesterday, I posted the first part of an interview with Bonnie Harris on traditional versus new media. Here’s the rest of that interview – some can’t miss information about new media in a world that comes from a different perspective. Check out part one before continuing with the rest below:

Allison: What are some of the differences between what most bloggers doing and how corporate blogs should be run?

Bonnie: I see a lot of blogs that look like they’re just hobbies of someone at the company. They don’t seem to have a strong mission, voice or purpose. Maybe someone likes to write and this is an outlet for that…that’s fine if there’s time for such an activity. I think, however, that without goals that translate to business goals (more revenue, better customer service, etc), most blogs just die.

I also see new blogs that are much too ambitious in the beginning. Unless you have the budget to do a big blog launch, no one will read it for a while. A couple posts a week by a problogger will work just fine to help build some archived content. Get a rhythm going, and a process, get your writing team and editorial guidelines established. THEN worry about great content, headlines, and search. I think most corporate bloggers do it backwards – they’re all gung ho to write the next Copyblogger when really they need to be managing all the components of a blog. Writing is just one piece of it.

Allison: What tips do you have for working with a team of professions at a company who all have access to the blog and social media accounts?

Bonnie: Again, think of the blog like a project. Have editorial guidelines, a calendar of blog posts, a clear mission and goals, and some frequency/content guidelines as well. You’ll find that some people are much more enthusiastic than others. Try to coach and train those people, and don’t worry so much about the folks that don’t want to contribute often. Blogging and social media aren’t for everyone, and you can’t force it. Having said that, if there are guidelines and a clear process, you’ll have a much easier time than you think.

Allison: For those who are interested in introducing blogging and new media to their managers/bosses/clients, what are some of the recommendations you have for helping them convince these old school marketers to get on board?

First of all, I would hesitate using the term “old school” – I think we need to blend new media and traditional tactics in order to be successful these days. Categorizing something as “old school” once again implies that it’s not as good or not as effective.

I do a lot of pilot, three month projects. Then I knock it out of the park during those three months.  And I ask THEM what goals they would like the blog to achieve…with some coaching from me of course. Maybe it’s more traffic to their product sales page. Perhaps they’d like to recruit influencers in the industry to write on the blog.  Most bloggers don’t do a good job of defining goals from a business standpoint. They don’t have to be aggressive goals, you just need to show progress against them. Again, it’s  about understanding how to justify this activity from a business perspective. Most of the time, I hear the person championing a new blog as saying something like “it’s the new way of marketing” or something vague like that. Those kinds of justifications won’t work with someone who has to manage your time and a budget.

Thank you so much for sharing all this valuable information with us, Bonnie. Readers, remember to check her out at the Wax Marketing blog and find her on Twitter!

65% Of Marketers Surveyed Say They Do Not Use Twitter

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For five years now I have been saying Social Media (I still prefer to call it New Media) is still in it’s infancy. Here is the latest proof. In SmartBlog’s most recent weekly reader poll they asked:

What do you think of Twitter’s new home page design?

Surprisingly for some more than 65% of their readers said they don’t even use Twitter.

  • I don’t use Twitter, 65.10%
  • Love it, 22.15%
  • Complaining about it now, but I’ll probably get used to it, 10.07%
  • Can’t stand it, 2.68%

Now when you think about this response for a moment its even more significant. This is a reader poll by a site that has a very social media savvy readership. That tells me the real number of marketers who aren’t using Twitter is even greater.

Just keep reminding yourself every time you think New Media has finally really blown up and hit the big time you have not seen anything yet. Am I crazy?

How to Turn Your Blog Into a Lead Generation Machine

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To generate online leads, you need a steady stream of new, qualified prospects to your web site. These days, that means strong search engine visibility coupled with an active presence in social media.

And there’s no better tool to help you in both categories than your business blog. But like any tool, it doesn’t work by itself, it just amplifies your own efforts. Here’s how to maximize your efforts to increase your online visibility, drive more qualified traffic to your site, and convert that traffic into leads for your sales team.

  1. Spend time crafting a keyword-rich title for each blog post. Every blog post creates a new web page; each web page is another opportunity to rank well for one of your targeted keyword phrases in Google and other search engines. Your blog post title becomes your web page title, and titles are the biggest variable in the search engine algorithm, so don’t short-change yourself here. Make sure your best keyword phrases appear in the first few words in the title for maximum exposure.
  2. Keep those titles compelling. Leverage the “sharing power” of social media by creating compelling titles. People will often “Like” or retweet a blog post based solely on the title, even without reading it first! Although the tool may be tongue-in-cheek, check out the Link Bait Generator for ideas on how to create a compelling title.
  3. Blog for your audience: your prospects and customers. Too many business blogs appear to be where press releases go to die. Although there’s a place in an active blog for company news, for most businesses that’s not what will attract customers. Instead, keep the focus of your blog on your customers’ pain points. Every time you get an email or phone inquiry asking you for your expert advice, turn it into a blog post. If one person had that question, probably a dozen, a hundred or a thousand other people had the same question. Answer it before your competition does. Eighty to ninety percent of your blog posts should be addressing problems that your prospects face on a daily basis.
  4. Blog regularly. Don’t fall into the “I don’t have time to blog” trap. Blogging is marketing, and every business needs to make time to market their services. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, don’t watch “Project Runway” one week (unless of course you have a fashion blog. Then watch it twice.) You should really be blogging at least twice a week, three times when you’re just getting started.
  5. Reach new audiences through guest blogging. If you have the opportunity to blog at someone else’s blog, you are immediately introduced to a new audience. If you get another blogger to contribute to your blog, very often they will promote the post to their faithful readers, who will check out your blog. In either case, the cross-promotion is valuable to help you reach an audience who may never have heard of you otherwise.
  6. Actively market your blog. If a blog is such a great marketing tool, then it should market itself, right? Well, it needs a little help from you, especially at the beginning. Leverage your social media presence by promoting your new blog posts through tweets and status updates. Use tools like Pingoat to push your post to news aggregators. Use social bookmarking & news tools like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon as appropriate. Leave (intelligent) comments at related blogs and make sure your name links back to your blog post.
  7. Funnel blog traffic to your web site. Once you start attracting new traffic to your blog, it’s time to convert those visitors into prospects. You can do this through keyword-rich links to areas of your web site where you offer more information, or directly to a lead generation form. Consider offering a free download from your blog (at flyte’s blog we offer “The 11 Biggest Mistakes Small Business Bloggers Make”) that requires an email registration for collecting leads.

Now it’s your turn: what techniques do you use on your blog that generate leads and get people to start doing business with you? Share your ideas in the comment field below…and who knows, maybe some later readers will follow your link back to your blog!

Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media, a web design and internet marketing company. He writes flyte’s company blog, is an Expert Blogger at FastCompany.com, and contributes to the Social Media Examiner. He teaches courses on web marketing and social media at the University of Southern Maine, and is the “Tech Guru” on 207, an evening news magazine on the NBC affiliate in Maine. You can stalk him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/therichbrooks.

Meet the Milblog Panelists: Scott Henderson

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Scott Henderson is not a milblogger, he’s a Transformer. No, not like in the movies, but a person who helps companies and non-profits transform themselves online so that they can transform their growth. In the Milblog Track, he’s going to be discussing the changes and opportunities on the way for milblogs and milbloggers.

SHmilblog09

His bio is as follows:

During his fourteen-year professional career, Scott has been a major gift fundraiser, foundation executive, magazine editor, marketing consultant, and president of a capital campaign firm. Today, he is the cause marketing director for Indiana-based MediaSauce, helping corporations and non-profits create and implement online strategies to achieve transformational growth.

Recent accomplishments include the creation and launch of www.pledgetoendhunger.com, which helped Tyson Foods deliver 560,000 meals to four different cities for children in need, raised $28,000 for Share Our Strength, and assembled an army of nearly 5,000 childhood hunger awareness champions.

MediaSauce is a full service marketing and communications firm whose strategic philosophy positions the online space at the center of communications in order to create and sustain open dialogue and lasting relationships. Clients include The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Pacers, USA Diving, Samaritan’s Feet, and University of Chicago.

You can hear him speak at 4pm on Thursay 15 October on the “Getting the Picture: What’s Next for Milblogs” panel.

http://www.mediasauce.com/cause/

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