Archive for 'blog'

Sure, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham and Seth Godin have it in the bag.  They release a book…and voila, the audience is there.

But for most authors, especially non-fiction authors, the road is a bit more rocky.  They usually don’t have a ton of support from their publishers (if they aren’t self-published), they’re most likely still working a day job and odds are, they aren’t loaded.

So how do they get our attention?  How do they convince us to jot their book’s release date on our calendar?  Well, the irrepressible and irreverent Andy Nulman did it like this.

And yes, I put it on my calendar.  You?

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Make trade events deliver in 2009 (Cece Lee)

Tradebooth
Drew’s Note:
  As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares her insights via
the blogosphere. So without further ado
Cece Lee.  Again. Enjoy!

As companies prepare to reduce travel and marketing budgets, marketers will be seeking ways to get the most out of the physical events that they’re committed to in 2009. Physical events, such as product demonstrations, summits, conferences and trade shows, are an integral part of one’s lead generation efforts.

When you prepare to attend a conference or trade show in 2009, the goal is no longer to set-up your booth at a conference. It’s how do you create a PR strategy to fully take advantage of your time at that event?

Public relations is a cost-effective way to promote your participation at any conference or trade show. When married with your in-person presence, you can make the most of your participation in 2009.

Here are three ways to maximize your participation:

Research speaking opportunities at the conference
Speaking at a conference is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. While securing your exhibit space or sponsorship, ask about speaking opportunities – either as part of your participation or how to submit a topic for consideration.

In the case the conference has a speaker proposal process (a call for speakers or proposals), the key to securing a speaking opportunity depends on relevancy, timeliness and educational value of your proposal. Research key issues within your industry or consider inviting a customer to present with you at the conference. Also highlight the top three or five action items that attendees will learn from hearing your presentation.

After submitting the proposal for consideration, continue following up with the organizer to inquire about the status and get feedback about your proposal. Through these conversations, you may be able to amend your proposal accordingly or uncover additional opportunities that you were previously unaware of.

Unfortunately, organizers receive about 10 proposals for each speaking opportunity. While you proposal may not be accepted initially, don’t assume that concludes your efforts with the organizer.

Due to family emergencies, illness or urgent business meetings, speakers do cancel occasionally. Check in with the organizer about 1 month before the conference to inquire about cancellations. Or due to your conversations with the organizer, you may get a call the day before the conference to step in for a speaker!

Write and distribute a press release
An event based press release highlights the what, when and where of your participation. By posting the release on a free or paid newswire, you increase your online presence as a newswire can distribute your release to an average of 12 – 20 online websites.

Due to the distribution of the release, you also have to consider the search engine optimization impact of the release. Evaluate which keywords drive traffic to your website or are frequently search terms for your industry.

To increase the relevancy of your release in search engine searches, incorporate these 5-10 keywords in your press release. Furthermore, hyperlink key phrases to related pages on your website. Like keyword relevancy, search engines also look at the number of external links pointing to your website.

Besides posting the release on your website, the press release is also a great opportunity to connect with your customers or prospects. While they may not be able to attend in person, this provides an excellent way to stay top of mind when they are ready to purchase your solutions and services.

Connect with media and bloggers
While you’re inquiring about speaking opportunities, ask about previous or anticipated media attendees at the event. Since these reporters (I include bloggers as reporters) are taking time to attend the event, you know that they are interested in the event’s content.

In case the organizer doesn’t have a media list, then reach out to local media about the upcoming event or do a quick search on Alltop.com, a website that lists the top blogs on specific topics, to find a short list of bloggers writing on your industry.

Before contacting each reporter directly, first research what she has written on in the past. Does she look at products only or does she write trend pieces? She may have also included pointers on how to contact her such as likes and dislikes. By arming yourself with this information, you can send a targeted email introducing your company, why she would be interested in your company and invite her to meet at the conference.

While I don’t suggest attaching any press releases or photos, I do recommend including a link to a relevant press release or offer to provide photos to enhance the article visually.

Conclusion
I don’t believe that physical events will disappear as marketers reevaluate their budgets. Rather, it’s how can you do more with less. Public relations is an inexpensive way for you to get the most out of your event participation.

Cece Lee is the author of PR Meets Marketing blog and senior marketing communications manager with ON24. While not writing posts for her blog or working, Cece enjoy taking care of the newest addition to the family – Snowy, a white goffin. Note: The thoughts expressed in this posting are not representative of ON24 and are personal views of the author.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew’s Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.


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Best Posts Summary WordPress Plugin

Long time reader Aseem Kishore has recently released his first WordPress plugin, and it is an interesting one. As you probably know I recommend people to write monthly roundups on their blogs, including the most popular posts of the previous month. This technique is useful for several things, including:

  • To give some link love to your popular posts
  • To let your readers check the posts that they might have missed
  • To highlight your best content
  • To have something to write about on a slow day

The only problem with it is that it requires some time. In fact I used to post roundups every month, but lately I am busy with a lot of projects and ended up forgetting them.

The solution? WP Best Posts Summary plugin. The plugin will basically generate a list of popular posts for you automatically, based on the number of comments of page views that they received over a specified time frame.

It comes with many customization options too: you can decide how many popular posts you want to have, from what categories they should come, how many words the excerpt should have, and template to use and so on. Worth a look.


Copyright by Daily Blog Tips.

Best Posts Summary WordPress Plugin

Link Tips: 16 November 2008

I haven’t done a Link Tips in a while, but since I collected some links over the last couple of weeks I decided to pull one today. First of all there was an interesting guest post on John Chow titled How Planning Can Make You Broke. It is the story of how Alex Shalman managed to create a full eBook in two and half days, and how he used it on a interview to promote his content and boost the number of subscribers on his list. The moral of the story is: action rather than planning! Worth a read.

The second link I want to share with you is titled Web Publishing: Strategies To Help You Stand Out From The Crowd. A guest blogger on SEO Book is offering some nice ideas that you can use to add some flavor to your content or website as a whole.

I am sure that most of you guys use Gmail. The best thing about Google’s email service is the customization options and the advanced features that it packs. Sometimes we don’t even know what is possible to do with that neat piece of script. Thinking about that the Quick Online Tips blog wrote an article titled 5 Little Known Gmail Tips. If you use Gmail check it out.

Now many of you have heard about the benefits of submitting your site or blog to web directories right? The problem is that the worth ones are either too expensive (e.g., Yahoo! Directory) or take too long to get accepted (e.g., Dmoz). The guys from Search Engine People knew about this problem, so they compiled a list with 25 powerful web directories where it is much easier to get listed. I will be trying some of them myself.

Finally, Kevin Muldoon from Blogging Tips wrote an insightful article about the evolution of blogs. Some mainstream publications have started to suggest lately that blogging might be dying. I disagree completely with that view, and I think Kevin is right when he suggests that what we are experiencing is rather an evolution of the blogosphere.


Copyright by Daily Blog Tips.

Link Tips: 16 November 2008

The internet is a fast-paced environment. People can come to your website at any hour from a wide range of locations, each of them with different intentions or needs. Unlike physical retail stores, you can’t see who is coming in and browsing around. You don’t know much about the people reading you. How can we develop a rough profile of all these individuals?

You already get a glimpse of them everyday when they interact with your website. Some may register for an account, leave a comment or send you an email. But many are ‘invisible’. They get to your site, see what you put out, click on a outbound link and disappear.

What you currently know about these individuals comes from a combination of visible user actions (e.g comments/emails) and statistics (e.g visit frequency/visit length). Is this knowledge sufficient for most businesses or bloggers? Yes. But I think it would be tremendously helpful to learn even more about your audience.

In marketing and advertising, we proactively define our target audience. We start with our end goals and then structure our website/ads with the right buzz phrases, pitch, style, keywords and angle to appeal to people we want to attract as a consumer/user/reader. Gathering information on visitors to our website makes us more effective marketers.

It is helpful to analyze and construct a general profile of your audience, however shifting it may be, because it provides you with information that will allow you to better improve your content scope, site usability, conversation rate or marketing campaign. Let’s split this process up into two sections: statistical analysis and data collection.

Statistical Analysis: Start Working With What You Already Have


Image Credit: Mint

Depending on the stats tool you’re currently using, you can get a lot of information on how visitors are using your website, where they come from and what they are looking at. There are obviously a lot of different metrics to look at but I’m listing what I think is more relevant to understanding visitors in general:

  1. Visitor loyalty, bounce rate, recency, time on site. These sites measure one critical thing: the level of engagement. They reveal how often people visit your site, the last time they used it and the depth of their visit. While these numbers aren’t a definitive interpretation of on-site user actions, they are a gauge of their enthusiasm.

  2. Visitor Location. This allows you to make cultural and linguistic assumptions of your visitors. If you know you receive the most visitors from a few specific countries, you might want to create landing pages/offers or content with a geographic focus.

  3. Visitor search terms/keywords. This includes both search engines and on-site search boxes. The clearest indicator of visitor interest, search terms tell you what they want to get from your site and it reveals information gaps you can fill up. This is where data collection gets specific. If you consistently get a lot of queries for a specific phrase, you can safely assume that there will be visitor interest in content or offers related to it.

  4. Traffic source. This includes search engines, referrer sites, type-in/bookmark traffic and ad campaigns. Pay attention to referrer sites: it reveals what visitors are reading or using. Traffic sources also tell you where to improve for greater visibility.

Take some time to look at these statistics. Instead of only looking at them at each single point in time, it makes more sense to regularly study them to see how they trend over the lifespan of your site or the course of a marketing/ad campaign. On the whole, they will give you a good idea of what users want and what draws their attention.

How to Get More Audience Data: Using Polls, Surveys and Features

Now for the fun part: the active solicitation of user information. Instead of simply monitoring web statistics, you create opportunities for visitors to voluntarily reveal personal data and opinions. These can be achieved in several ways:

  1. Polls. An excellent and informal way to get information on user preferences, they are very easy to set up and maintain on any website. The questions asked can be diverse and they are a good way to gradually accumulate a lot of information without being too invasive. Run a poll for two weeks and change the questions to pull in more information. They can be integrated on a regular basis alongside articles or they can be left alone on a visible corner of the website.

  2. Surveys. Depending on their length and how they are created, surveys may be more labor intensive. Some visitors will avoid them if they are too long. They are ideal when bundled with competitions or special offers which provide incentives for completion. Short surveys can be used for exiting visitors or as a follow-up after a user completes a specific purchase or opts-out of your payment plan/subscription.

  3. On-Site User Features. If you’re running a community, social media service or even a blog, you can get more information by simply offering more user features (ways users can interact with each other and your site). For example, allow users to input more biographical info in profiles or give them the option to favorite/rate your blog posts and the contributions of other users. Features also add value to users and increase their engagement with your site. Think strategically about what data you want and create a feature that allows users to indirectly reveal it. Facebook is a good example of a site with features that generate a lot of mineable data. Of course, it is always good to have an appropriate privacy policy and allow users to opt out easily from their side.

  4. Audience Feedback. To understand your visitors, its useful to ensure that you monitor your feedback channels. Comments, emails, incoming blog links, mentions on online communities and even tweets allow you to get an intuitive feel of what people think about your website. Subscribe to the right feedback channels (Google alerts, blogsearch etc.) and track them daily. Either do it yourself or get someone to be the official feedback/community coordinator. Audience feedback is often unsolicited, although you can easily get more comments/emails by specifically asking for them. This provides you with clues on how to better cater to your target market.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, some of these methods can be applied online and offline simultaneously. For polls and surveys, you should be able to find some plugins or software available for your site platform. Alternatively, you can always use external online services like SurveyMonkey, PollDaddy, 4Q and Wufoo.

After obtaining this data, setup a system which allows you to segment and compare your findings over a period of time. This can be a simple spreadsheet or something more sophisticated. When combined with the visitor statistics you already have, it’s easy to understand your audience, allowing you to to better accommodate their needs or interest.

Can you think of any other ways to get more audience data?

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How to Understand Your Audience: Data Collection & Analysis

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