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What other blogs are saying about you and your products.

Blogs and monitoring of blogs and what is being said about you is a hot topic these days.  How do you monitor? Do you pay to monitor? What tools are available to you to monitor blogs and what is being said about you or your company is all the discussion in the CMO’s mind.

Social Mouths blog had some good ideas of free listening posts for your products and services, beyond the paid services for social media monitoring such as Radian 6 and CrimsonHexagon. 

Here is the short list URLs and Free blog listening tools:

IceRocket

Blog Pluse

Blog line search

Google blog search

Paid Services:

Radian 6

Crimsonhexagon.

Here is the blog I was reading on the subject.

Social Mouths blog 

Do You Know What Other Blogs Are Saying About You?

listeningDo you know if you are being mentioned on other blogs? Did you know there are ways of tracking this? And, why is this important anyways?

In this post, I’ll explain why paying attention to what other blogs say is important and how to be aware of these mentions.

So let’s get started…

Why You Should Care

SEO

When you get mentioned by another blog, the author usually links back to your blog/site and as you know, getting backlinks is one of the most important things you can do to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as they can improve your page ranking. The search engines want to know if your site is relevant.

Sentiment

The next thing you need to worry about is sentiment. Is the comment positive or negative? Of course you don’t want people saying something negative about you or your services. When you track these mentions at least you have the opportunity to participate, maybe try to do something to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. Damage control.

If it’s a positive mention, it is also a good opportunity to engage in the conversation.

Reciprocity

Be human. Be thankful and participate by leaving a comment or giving the post a tweet. Not to make you feel obligated but return the favor if you can, there is a good chance the other blog is somehow related to your topic.

Don’t ignore it, keep this blog in mind.

Let’s Look At An Example

Herbert from Penn State | Outreach Marketing did a very, very nice piece sharing a post from SocialMouths on his “Why Is Social Media Not Working For You” (Thanks Herbert).

Outreach Marketing

OK, so this is an extreme example and it’s not always like this, the mention can be a simple link to your blog or to a specific post. The point here is how to find this, right?

Tools

There are many tools you can use to track these mentions, feel free to share your favorite ones in the comment section of this post. Here a couple you can try:

Go to these sites and do a search based on your blog’s name or URL.

IceRocket

icerocket

BlogPulse (From Nielsen)

blogpulse

Other tools you can use are Bloglines Search or Google’s Blog Search.

Get Alerts

rss readerAll these services and most of them out there allow you to get the search results on RSS. You should subscribe and organize them on your RSS Reader. The point is to get alerts and be able to react as soon as possible, there is no point if you come back a month after the post was published.

Final Tought

The social web gives you the opportunity to engage in ways traditional media can’t but if you don’t pay attention, those opportunities are wasted.

One more thing, when you mention somebody or share a post from somebody else on your blog, make sure you do it properly so you give credit and the other end is aware of it.

Happy Listening!”

Bing has issued best practices guidelines for SEO, SEM

Search Engine Optimization Journal is an SEO Blog that discusses Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Ranking and Positioning for the new and advanced reader and has a very interesting article on Bing and branding your website. I found this article very interesting, since SEO and SEM have become such a part of our lives in marketing. Bing  is recommending that you take an approach that utilizes a robust social marketing element into your daily routine.  They also talk about focus on link building as a key to the success of your website.  I also was interested in the term going “unnatural” in the search engines which manipulates the system in order to achieve higher rankings. Having Bing talk about link building and other best practices will make it clearer as to your next steps with you agency or team.   Good read.

Bing Gets Serious About Link Building

Writing by Nick Stamoulis on Friday, February 26, 2010

I think one of the best things I have ever heard a webmaster blog from a major search engine say is to build your website like a brand. Bing’s exact words state: “Develop your site as a business brand and be consistent about that branding in your content”

Too many people out there get all antsy to have their internet marketing look like a recipe. If it looks like a recipe it is a recipe for disaster. Bing’s official webmaster blog states that it is very important and vital to treat your website like a brand. How would a brand build its image? If you take that step you will build your business the right way rather than just go after rankings. Rankings are important but they are not the only and final goal you should be worried about for your internet marketing campaign. Building business is the most important aspect to your SEO campaign. Bing also recommends taking an approach that really utilizes a robust social marketing element into your daily routine. Link building is very vital to the success of a website but unfortunately it is important to do it in a way that allows your business to grow and not just your rankings. Bing also refers to going “unnatural” in the search engines which states that an unnatural approach is one that blatantly attempts to manipulate the system in order to achieve higher rankings.

Bing’s exact words go as follows:
” So what does it mean to go unnatural? It means you’re trying to fake out the search engines, to try to earn a higher ranking that the quality of your site’s content dictates as natural through manipulation of search engine ranking algorithms.”

Bing hasn’t been the first search engine to come out with this type of best practice’s guide. Google has been doing it for years now just not many people want to follow it. When the top two search engines in the world layout a best practices guide on how you should conduct your search engine optimization efforts it is time to listen.

Please take a look at the Bing Webmaster Post that talks about link building and SEM, it is a great read:

http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/webmaster/archive/2009/11/20/link-building-for-smart-webmasters-no-dummies-here-sem-101.aspx

LinkedIn Strategy for how you connect. Lion, Turtle, HoundDog or Alley Cat.

Have you ever wondered why some people put [LION] after their name on LinkedIn?  Most CMOs are still trying to avoid LinkedIn except for people they know or want to know.  For others, there are strategies to how, what and why.  For myself, found out  I am more of an Alley Cat.  I like to connect, do it often, but want and need a connection as to why I have the contact. I do turn people down that I do not know.   So let’s try an experiment,  here is my linked in http://www.linkedin.com/in/karenkallet.  If you tell me that you came via this CMO Guide to Social Media blog, I will accept you.  However, tell me why you want the connection.  That is the Alley Cat in me.

 This blog from Community Marketing Blog lays out the why and what.  You need to decide which one are you and know if you see a tag on their name this is what it is meaning.

 Are You a LION, Turtle, HoundDog, or Alley Cat? What’s Your LinkedIn Strategy?

LI in Oz2
 LinkedIn is a fairly harmonious place.  People tend to act professional and when there are opposing opinions they typically become a case where people “agree to disagree”.  Things change though when you began discussing LIONS.  Suddenly the conversation isn’t so rosy.  

LION’s, for those who don’t know are open networkers.  They connect to just about anyone.  They see opportunity increasing as the number of connections increases.  Those who disagree see LIONS as simply driving their ego’s by counting the connections, as if the purpose of LinkedIn is to proudly claim to have 1,000’s of connections.

For the record I don’t consider myself a LION, yet I’m an open networker.  When writing my first LinkedIn book I identified three LinkedIn connection strategies.  This year I added a fourth to define how I now connect.

How you choose to connect will impact how you use LinkedIn and in the end your chances of finding success.

Before we look at the four connection strategies I want to make one point.  How you choose to connect on LinkedIn should be of no concern to anyone else.  It’s your network and your strategy.  As long as it works for you thats all that matters.

The Four LinkedIn Connection Strategies:

The LION
As stated above LIONS are completely open connectors.  They seek to increase their connections through actively sending out and accepting connection invitations.  While I’m sure there are a few who take pride in touting the specific number, the majority simply believe that large networks lead to more opportunity.

Steve Burda is a LION with over 30,000 connections.  I don’t know Steve but I’ve seen countless references to his taking time to help others.  So yes he has a large network, but no its not about the number.  Its about having the opportunity to help a significant number of people.  If this leads to new business for him, more power to him.

The Turtle
Turtles are the opposite of LIONS.  Turtles primarily only connect to those they know well.  They see value in having a tight network made up of individuals that they completely trust.  Their networks tend to be highly selective and can be counted on to pass on introductions, much like a private networking group.

I don’t know many Turtles but the ones I do know are like Steve interested in being a productive resource for those they choose to connect to.  LinkedIn is a way to enhance their offline networking making their existing relationships a little more connected.

The Hound Dog
When I first joined LinkedIn I was only aware of LIONS.  I knew right away that LinkedIn added an additional layer of connectivity to those I knew.  I also realized that it could help me meet other local business professionals that I did not know.

At each Chamber meeting they would pass out copies of everyone’s business cards.  After each meeting I would see who was on LinkedIn and then invite them to connect.  At the next Chamber meeting the connection provided a great ice breaker.  It also established connections with those people who only attended a single meeting.

I also used LinkedIn to seek out people I would like to connect with.  Doing this allowed me to establish connections with other business professionals who might help my clients, become a referral partner, and some who were prospects.  This ability to hunt for specific people led me to define the strategy as a Hound Dog.

A Hound Dog is someone who uses LinkedIn to connect to those they know, to connect to those they would like to know, and accepts invitations from those that would be beneficial to be connected to.  

For the first year that I was serious about using LinkedIn I followed this strategy.  Then one day I had a thought, “How do I know whether or not a connection I know could benefit from a connection that I didn’t know?”   The answer was that I didn’t know.

It was that at this point that I changed my strategy for connecting on LinkedIn. 

The Alley Cat
I still only send invitations to people I know or people that I have a specific reason for connecting to.  What changed is that I now accept invitations from just about anyone.  There is value in knowing your connections but there are also unexpected opportunities that develop from establishing new connections, known and unknown.

This connection strategy supports my overall LinkedIn strategy which is this:  I seek to provide value to and help as many people as possible.  Much of that value is provided through the Social Media Sonar blog, sharing tips and strategies with others on how to more effectively utilize LinkedIn and social media/networking.  Sometimes its through being the hub to connect two people.  At other times its through conducting workshops, writing LinkedIn books and guides, etc.  The more people I am connected to the more people that I can share with.

I believe that to create opportunity you have to first be willing to help others.  Then, by consistently sharing value over time, you allow people to move through the Process of Familiarity.  A process that has to happen before someone will choose to do business with you.

What I call the Process of Familiarity likely has been called many things by other people.   The three components are:

  • People need to Know You or at a Minimum Know Of You:  Often connecting or engaging in conversations will accomplish this.
  • People Must Like You or Have a Positive Opinion:  How you interact with others and the value of the content you share will help here.  If people like your content they will like you.
  • People Must Trust You:  Building trust is dependent upon engaging on conversations or sharing value consistently over time.  As people see you on an ongoing basis and are exposed to the value you share the “Like” will grow into “Trust”.

Through this process here’s what I’ve seen happen.  Each week I write one or two blog posts that show people how to utilize LinkedIn.  I then use the tools LinkedIn provides to communicate that there is a new blog post.  People visit the blog for the first time or as a repeat visitor.  At some point they check out my profile and learn what it is that I do and see how I can help them.  

If they like the content they begin to have a positive impression of me and this eventually moves to a sense of trust.  At this point if they ever have a need for my services I am top of mind and they will contact me.

Something else happens as well.  People like to share content on other Social Media sites so at some point they become my social media amplification system.  This introduces my blog to people outside of the communities I’ve built.

Wrap Up
The connection strategy you choose will depend upon how you want to use LinkedIn.  There is no right or wrong choice as long as your connection strategy supports the goals you have determined.  For me the change to an Alley Cat has helped generate 3 to 5 contacts per week about my services.

Which strategy are you using and why?  If you agree or disagree with the post please leave a comment.  Your perspective is as important as mine, so share it with everyone.

Sean Nelson is the author of the Social Media Sonar blog and has written three LinkedIn eBooks including one of the first books detailing how to strategically use LinkedIn to grow your business. “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula”.  He is a Partner in SONARconnects.”

Do free promotion offers work? Follow the line to Dennys

Here is a photo that I took of the Denny’s Free breakfast crowd from the road as I was leaving today.

By the looks of things at my local Denny’s the Free Breakfast  promotion announced during the Superbowl was a sell out.  I drove into the parking lot to go to another business and could not find a place to park in three parking lots!  The crowds were pouring out of their cars, like they were going to the state fair.  The line was out the door and around the building.

 So give them credit for gaining trial.  Customer Engagement at it’s finest.  Customers using texts, blogs and emails all about the promotion is a social media strategists dream.   What about retention, I am not so sure.  Quality service, is in the hands of the wait staff and cooks.  Will people stand in line for free food? Yes… they will.  Will they come back and pay?… Denny’s will need to report of that.  ROI… priceless…

RSS Ranking tool to see how effective your RSS feed is?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a way for those who wish to get a feed of your information sent to them everytime you add content.  If you  have set up an RRS feed, you now should be asking  how effective the feed is?  This tool will help check: http://www.rssmicro.com/feedsubmit.web

What I really like about this tool is that the FeedRank algorithm checks 16 different areas and
measures the quality of the content on your feed.  This is critical to a successful RSS feed from your website, blog or other forms that you are using for RSS.  Here is what they ask you for to get your ranking:

Submit Your RSS/Atom Feed

New! Check your site FeedRank only on RSSMicro

No registration is required, instant results tailored to your feed(FeedRank algorithm checks 16 different areas and
measures the quality of the content on your feed)

What is your FeedRank?!

RSSMicro FeedRank
Learn more

First Name: (optional) Last Name: (optional)

Email: (optional)
Get updated information on your feed by email. We respect your privacy, we do not use your email for any purpose other than your feed submission to RSSMicro.

Feed URL: (required) (Sample URL: http://www.mysite.com/myfeed)
We support RSS Feed Auto-Discovery

Category: (optional)
RSS feed category element (if specified) will take over
Select OneAdultsArtsAutomotiveBlogs (Personal)Blogs (Professional)Books/MagazinesBusiness/FinanceCareersComputers/InternetEducationEditorialElectronicsEntertainmentEnvironmentFood & WineGamesHealthHumor & FunKids & TeensLawLifestyle/ReligionMoviesMusicNewsParentingPeoplePetsPodcastPoliticsScience/TechnologyShoppingSportsReal EstateReviewsTravelTVVideoWeatherOther

 Submitting your RSS/Atom feed URL does not guarantee that the feed will be indexed by RSSMicro.

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13 Steps for DRTV for successful launches.

DRTV is a measurable way to gain brand and sales traction fast and large potential for lead generation.  For the right product or service or cause, it can be a home run. Tie it to social media efforts and you can have a home run.

Here are a few rules to consider:  Successful DRTV needs to fall into the following areas.

The concept of a product or service must have mass appeal,  It must have a large mark up of at least 2.8 to 1.   The medium works well for products, services or causes.  They must be demonstrable and have an initial ask price of $49.95 of less, or can be offered as a free trial just pay for shipping ect.  The DRTV offer must have a high perceived value vs a regular price item, thus a buy two, get one free, or and there is more…. hype is needed .

The product, service or cause must solve a problem, solve a need or relieve a pain point.  The DRTV program needs to show improved quality of life,  saves money, does good in the world and makes you feel better or promises a vision of a better life all do well as DRTV.   Be sure that the product has differentiation with a unique selling proposition.  It should also have up-sell or continuity potential and most importantly for a product, that it can be quickly be brough and sold a retail once the items gains momentum on DRTV.

For more infomation see my other blog on this subject at:  DRTV and Social Media make a dynamic duo.

So what type of products work well for DRTV spots?

Household goods, cleaners and making cleaning easier, home improvement, tools, lawn and garden items, auto care, fitness products,self-improvement, senior products and senior health services.  Another area that does well is coins, collectables, novelties, as well as education and legal services.  Anywhere there is a  service with a short sales cycle.  Religious and charity groups offering to sponsor children, animals or causes  works well. Religious offering of bibles, books of other items of value.

What does not work well for DRTV spots:

Items over $50 ask price, niche items, items that cannot be demonstrated, products that are like all others already in the market. Products that have a multiple step close or a complex close. Those items that have no upsells or continuity to add to lifetime value. Items that cannot eventually be sold a retail, or shipped economically.

So what are the 13 steps needed for a DRTV launch:

1: A good product that has a lot of research and planning behind it.

2: Doing offer developement and pricing,

3: Test planning,

4: Modeling the price points and offer 

5: Scripting and copy writing

6: Video production and post production,

7: Website and landing page developement,

8: Call center set up and script, 

9:  Fulfillment,

10: Media buying

11: Analysis

12:Campaign optimization

13:More testing

1: You start the process again from your bench mark with edits of the spot and trials of different and more effective offers.

Will altering your website change search?

Will altering your website change search.  This question was searched on my blog and I thought it was very important to reply.

 Yes Yes  and YES

Change meta tags and it will change search, add title tags or keywords and it will improve or hurt search.

Change and add anchor tags and it will change search.

Add more relevant copy and it will change search,

Add Metas to each page, it will add relevance to each page

Add an XML site map, makes is easy for Google to search,

Get rid of drop downs and make it easier to have Google search,

Get rid of an all flash, non Flash 4, and make it more of a searchable website and it will improve your SEO score.

Be sure if it is flash you have an HTML version of your site for search

Title tag every photo will improve search

Add videos , and it will improve

So yes altering your website will change search, if done right for the better.

Create more relevant pages and it will improve your PPC score.