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September 26, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays Part 21

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing We're back for another edition of Women if Internet Marketing, this is "Part 21" this week.  For the past interviews that have been conducted check out our Women of Internet Marketing Section.

This week I've got two veterans of the industry.  One currently works for a search engine, the other has her own radio show.  Both of the women I got the privilege of meeting while I was at SES in San Jose, since they both attended the Women's Luncheon that we held at the Grill on the Alley.  Today, let me introduce you to Laura Lippay of Yahoo! and Cindy Turrietta of EMarketing Talk Show.

Continue reading "Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays Part 21" »

Blogs: Making Your Pitch - What Not To Do

By Li Evans

As a blog gets older, grows in audience and continues to put out content that proves it is an active blog, it's inevitable that the blog will get pitches about stories "they must" cover.  Coming from a PR background, I really wonder where some of these PR practitioners learned their trade, based on the couple of pitches SMG receives a day.

A few weeks ago Lee Odden at TopRankBlog posted a great list of "How Not to Pitch a Blog".  I'd like to add a few more bullets to the list, or give a different perspective or meaning to some of his bulleted points.

  • Blogging Investigate the Blog:   Learn everything you can about the blog, check out the "About Us" section, reader the bloggers profiles, find out if they even take pitches. 
    • Who owns the blog?
    • Is the owner of the blog a writer?
    • Do the contributing writers have their own blogs?
    • Can you contact the writers' individually?
    • Has the blog written about you before?
    • Has the blog written about your industry before?
    • Does the blog or blogger(s) subscribe to your service?
  • Don't Email Blast Your Press Release:  If you want to pitch a story, email the blogger.  Bloggers are rather unique individuals and like the personal touch.  To be honest, we hate the canned automated messages, especially ones that have "Error! File Name Not Specified". 
    • Pitch the blog before you mass email your press release
    • Make it personal - address the blogger individually, point out why you believe the story would be important to them.
    • Don't send the same message to all the members of the blogging team, especially if only one contact email is listed for the blog.
  • Don't Treat Bloggers as Just Another Press Release Outlet: Don't just email the press release.  Unless of course your Google, Yahoo or Microsoft, you will just annoy the writers, editors and owners of the blogs.  Again, it goes back to making it personal. 
    • Bloggers are not just another outlet to mass email your press release too
    • Unless the blog has a general email they say "send press releases to this address", resist the urge to add that email you see to your distribution list.
  • Take the Time and Email and Establish a Relationship with the Blog:  Yes, I know, this takes a bit of time. However, if you know anything about Public Relations, it's about establishing relationships.  A blogger can become an important resource for you, if you take the time and nurture the relationship.
  • Public_relations Remember, Bloggers can Tarnish Your Name, Just as Fast as They Praise It: Piss off a blogger with your email blasts about your boring product launch, and it's likely a blogger will out you, your client or company.  They might even dig for information on something your don't want to be reported.
  • Remember, Bloggers Talk to Other Bloggers:  Especially in niche industries that might not be that large, it is even more prevalent.  Like minded people like to bond over subjects they have in common.  It takes one conversation of "hey did you get that press release from WYZ Company?" and the bloggers discover they were both pitched in the same way.  That gets the ball rolling for other bloggers to just unite and possibly join against you and your PR Strategy.
  • Lastly, Don't Leave Your PR Blog Strategy to Interns: You may think, contacting bloggers is something so simple you can just pass it off to your interns to do.  Resist that urge.  Instead, have the interns do the research on which blogs you should contact and also the research on why you should contact the blog.  The relationship with the blogger should be established by the Public Relations professional within the company, as they are the most experiences about the services, products and reasons the story should be pitched.  Remember in one fell push of the publish button, a blogger can start a campaign against your company, rather than for it, and that could spiral out of control rather quickly.

Public Relations professionals really need to stop and think about their strategies when dealing with bloggers.  Bloggers are NOT your typical news outlet.  Bloggers, in most cases, don't answer to editors, or multi-million dollar conglomerate owners.  Bloggers usually have one boss, their own conscious.  Working with bloggers requires more time and investment, which involves cultivating a relationship. 

Taking the time to cultivate the relationship could possibly be your best break in helping to get your story out to the masses, so don't leave it to just an intern, canned messages or email blasts.  Invest the time and resources and you will find that your PR Blogging Strategy could be a your best bet when getting your story ideas covered.

September 22, 2007

Web Analytics 2.0, Clean Scores, Monkeys Automating SEO, Human Donkey Kong and Much More!

By Li Evans

Smglinkroundup I haven't done a link round up in a while, mostly because during the past few months, I wasn't enjoying search that much or reading as much as I use to.  *gasp*  Yes, it was true, my prior day job had me really not liking what I was doing anymore and I was avoiding my Google Reader like the plague.  But working for people who love search, are passionate about it, understand it and don't want to just use it as stop gap measure to later manipulate it into some commodity that should be sold to the highest bidder, makes a world of difference! :)

So, I've been gathering some links all week, that I wanted to share with the SMG audience.

  • Think_different_web_analytics_20jim Avinash has a great video out on his blog, not only that, he's got an awesome post to go along with it.  In both the video and the post Avinash talks about introducing the concept of Web Analytics 2.0

    No that isn't exactly saying analytics on web 2.0 technologies, it's more of a concept of how web analytics is evolving.  He also talks about his book, which by the way is another great read.  If you don't have it, go out and get it, Avinash even donates the proceeds he makes to charity when you buy the book through his site.  (and yes, that's Jim Sterne in the image, I loved it and wanted to share with this link info)
  • Speaking of videos, my buddy Mike Grehan was interviewed by Ralph Wilson of Web Marketing today.  Mike put the video interview up on his site, so you can watch it from Mike's post.  Ralph emailed me right after SES with a slew of videos including some really funny ones asking SES attendees some really funny questions, unfortunately until now I didn't have the opportunity to really share them.  Ralph's got a Web Marketing Today channel out on you tube, that is easy to subscribe too.  He's got interviews with Catherine Seda, Andrew Goodman, and John Marshall just to name a few, so go out and check them out.
  • Not great with Photoshop?  Is attempting to draw stick figures is a major catasrophe?  Oils & Acrylics just not your thing?  So you think making your own logo is out of the question?  Not anymore! Sean P. Aune over at Mashable has put together a list of 20 sites that can help you create logos, avatar and even fav icons.
    Stick_figures
  • Alright I might be just a little biased, but two great articles I want to share, one from my co-worker, and one from my boss.  Bill Slawski's got a neat article on his SEO By The SEA blog entitled "20 More Ways the Search Engines May ReRank Search Results".  Christine Churchill's asking on Search Engine Land's Small is Beautiful Column, is it "Time for a Site Redesign".  Both articles are very thought provoking and well worth the read.
  • Business2_magazine_front My favorite magazine, the one that I actually bought, you know a real magazine (glossy pages and all), printed it's last monthly run.  Business 2.0 has folded up.  There's been a lot said about why, but I think Mark Glaser of Media Shift says it best in his post "Business 2.0 Closed Due to Corporate Neglect, Ad Woes". This magazine put out some really great stuff, it's why I was a subscriber, and when I wasn't I'd buy the magazine on the new stands.  Luckily the staff still have jobs, most are being moved into Fortune's staff.  However, one person isn't.  Erick Schonfield is taking a position at Tech Crunch as its co-editor with Michael Arrington. Rest in Peace, Business 2.0, you'll be missed!
  • Along with Loren asking if SEO can be automated, both Lisa Barone with "You Can't Automate Search Engine Optimization" and David Wallace with "SEO So Easy a Monkey Can Do It, or Can They?" have chimed in with excellent articles.  I'm with both Lisa and David's frame of mind when it comes to this subject.  Despite what's been said in the comments on Loren's post about what was meant by the page Loren quoted, the idea and pursuit of automating SEO is in part the major reason for leaving my last position.
  • Clean_cores_logo This one if for those germ-a-phobes, neat freaks and white glove wearers out there.  CleanScores, is the site for you.  CleanScores rates restaurants on their cleanliness.  It bases it's score card on the inspections each restaurant gets from the government 2-3 times a year.  The goal of CleanScores is to help decrease illness caused by food.  Currently though, it's only available in San Francisco.  I'm sure hoping it comes to Philly soon, maybe the Bill and the crew at PhillyFoodGuys could hook up with them?!
  • Human Donkey Kong GameAnd last, but by no means certainly least - see I leave the really funny stuff for last.  If you think Johnny Knoxville has it all going on with Jackass, think again!  Jesus Diaz, over at Gizmodo found a treat for us, a real life, Donkey Kong game. No, I'm serious, really I am, they even made the dude dress up like Mario.  And yes, I laughed when the guy got hit on the head with a barrel or two.  Go on, you know you wanna watch, it's just like a "train wreck" that you can't help but watch happen.

So that's it on the links folks, at least for this time around!  If you didn't know, I share links from my Google reader with the SMG audience, and also have a OPML list available of the blogs I do read (yes, I am reading them again!), so check them out on occasion if you are interested in what's going on not only in search, but in the tech world too.

September 20, 2007

SMX Local & Mobile Search Expo Show

By Li Evans

Did you know that there's a search event specifically for Local and Mobile search?  If you didn't you need to check out the SMX Local & Mobile show in Denver, Oct. 1 & 2, 2007.  Its something that we all should start paying more attention too, especially in light of the fact there there are twice as many cell phones in the US than computers.

KeyRelevance Search Marketing's Christine Churchill will be speaking on the Tracking Clicks and Calls to Conversion session, specifically she’ll be talking about ways to capture offline sales. Many companies such as ones with complicated buying processes prefer to steer potential customers to a phone number rather than an online form. Often for these type companies the power of the voice is better than having the customer struggle through a series of online questions.

In her session she’ll be discussing methods to capture these offline sales that are congruent with the company’s budget and tech resources. Offline conversions used to be the missing puzzle piece, but now there are a variety of methods to capture this data.

Christine will be joined on the panel with Michael Murray from AOL, Cid Jenkins form eStara, and Cam Balzer from DoubleClickPerformics. Knowing these guys and their high level of expertise, she assures me that this should be a very informative panel.

If you’re on the fence about going, here’s a little extra incentive – Chris is passing along a special speaker’s friend discount.  Just use the code SMX20OffLM when you register and you’ll get 20% off the regular price. 

Feel free to introduce yourself to Christine if you go to the show, she would love to talk with any of you. In fact one of the benefits of these smaller vertical shows is you do get more time and opportunity to speak directly with the experts.

Here are the details on the show:


    Attend SMX Local &
Mobile!

    October 1-2, Denver

 
SMX Local & Mobile - Denver, October 1st & 2nd, 2007

Produced by the Search Engine Land editorial team, Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Local & Mobile covers the latest tips and techniques for local search. It’s the only event 100 percent focused on the significant opportunity that the local and mobile space offers to search marketers.

See the Agenda.

Check out the Networking page.

Register today!

Propeller is AOL's New Netscape (Digg Clone)

By Li Evans

Guess what, Digg's not the only Social News site that's changing, you might have missed it, but another site just managed to do a hefty change, domain name and all.  If you've gone out to Netscape in the last day or so, you might be in for a bit of a shock.  Gone is the social news page, no more voting on stories at Netscape.com.  The Netscape site has been replaced with something the might look familiar to readers.  Low and behold, it's just a Netscape news page like it use to be, years prior to that guy who started Mahalo came and went from Netscape/AOL.

Netscape_new_front_page

Yesterday AOL/Netscape launched Propeller in place of Netscape's social news.  No fear though, minus a few cosmetic changes - such as the icons being a propeller and the color scheme changing, nothing has really changed.  Logins still work the same, you have the vote/sink options and can still comment on the submitted stories.  It's just a domain name change and prettied up a bit.

Propeller_aol_netscape_front_page

Propeller differs from Digg though, in that they actually pay their top editors and submitters.  Because of that,  you don't have the "Troll Like" audience you do at Digg, you know that younger set that is rabid about Macs, hates Microsoft and anything at all to do with Search Marketing (thank goodness for Sphinn, eh?).  The audience over at Propeller skews a little older, I guess that's because when you get paid to submit stories, that's a little more like a job (that whole responsibility thing ya know tends to set in).  The audience tends to be a little more mature, considerate, responsible and there isn't the "Bury Brigade" on this social news site, like there is at Digg.

I for one, like Propeller (Netscape), perhaps it is because the users are more like minded to myself.  Although I work at home, I don't work out of my basement, and I do have a date on occasion (yes, sarcasm) so maybe that's why Propeller appeals to me more. 

Will this change, sink the original idea of JC's Digg clone?  I don't think so, I think it really gives it it's own identity.  Thinking of Netscape as a social news site for any techie who's been in the business since it was a browser, is tough to swallow.  I for one welcome that change, and I welcome the change to Propeller.

September 19, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Part 20

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing Part 20 is here, for the Women in Internet Marketing series.  If you didn't know, I try to interview two women a week for this series (although we did take a break for the summer), although sometimes when schedules conflict we have one women interviewed.  That being said, we're close to 40 women being interviewed!  Can you believe it? 

Topranklogo This week I decided to make it a "Top Rank" week, yes, puns intended, as I've chosen to interview two wonderful gals from Lee Odden's team at Top Rank Online Marketing.  I had the pleasure of meeting these to women on my flight to SES in San Jose.  I arrived at the gate and figured (correctly I might add) that Lee would be on my flight (since he was last year), to my surprised it wasn't just Lee but his whole team.  What was even more fun, was that they sat one row behind me, so I actually got to talk to our two interviewees during the flight.

Both of these women are relatively new to our industry both, with a little less than 2 years experience, so I thought their perspective on our market would be especially interesting.  No one really ever goes to college to be a Search Engine Marketer, so I was curious how these two landed their positions with TopRank and how they view the industry from a "newbie" perspective.  So today let me introduce you to Dana Larson and Melinda Cayetano.

Continue reading "Women of Internet Marketing Part 20" »

Talk Like a Pirate Day: Arrrg! Avast Ye Mateys, I Need Some Grog

By Li Evans

Li's Pirate Halloween SkullToday is one of my favorite days of the year.  Only because, something I'm rather fanatical about (other than the Eagles), has it's own "day".  What would that be?  Well today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day"!

It's no longer just an "Internet Thing" either.  As I discuss this day with Jenn Laycock, she informs me that both Noggin and Dora are doing something with Pirates today, too.

Well I took a look around the internet to see what I could find, and all I could find was a logo on Flickr:
flickr's pirate day logo

Now Barry over at SearchEngineRoundtable found a Dogpile logo (I still can't get it to come up), and he's got some talented graphics gurus over there, because even SER has a cool Pirate logo,  *wistful sigh*  I wish I was nearly as talented with Photoshop, SMG would be sportin' a Jolly Roger at the top of our sign post!

The best I can come up with, is my little red Escort ZX2:

Li's ZX2

If you'd like to see the rest of my zany collection of Pirate stuff, check out my Pirate Stuff Flickr Set

Otherwise, "Grab a mug o' Grog, sit yer limey arse down and enjoy tha day!"

September 18, 2007

NY Times Goes Free Because of Web Analytics

By Alex Cohen

The New York Times announced that they're opening Times Select to everyone.  Previously, you had to be a monthly or yearly subscriber to get access to articles and opinion pieces by key writers like Maureen Dowd.  Apparently, the number of visitors coming from search engines played a key role...

What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.

“What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others,” Ms. Schiller said.

I wager many of these readers were bouncing (leaving after only one page visit) and that the NY Times wasn't focused on landing page tests to boost conversion.  With such a rich archive of content, opening up the Times Select material could prove a huge boon to their natural search traffic and content consumption.

September 16, 2007

Yahoo! Mash - First Impressions, It Needs Some Work

By Li Evans

Yahoo_mash_logo Yahoo!'s 2nd attempt at social networking, Yahoo! Mash, has taken off with full steam this weekend.  Across my Twitter I kept seeing people asking for Yahoo! Mash invites all weekend.  I had gotten a few a couple days ago, but didn't start digging around till Alex sent me one.

Notice I said this is Yahoo!'s 2nd attempt at this social networking site space?  Yahoo! has Yahoo! 360, that's it's first attempt.  It's pretty popular with the messenger audience - I know this because I've had a Yahoo!360 account for a heck of a long time (in social media time) and the folks who I have as friends - 90% of them come from my instant messaging clique of friends.

Yahoo! Mash, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed.  Yes, it's a beta, but I think I was expecting much more from Yahoo! in this anticipated beta.  This is sort of like Yahoo's trying to be a cool "Facebook-like" alternative to the MySpace crowd.  I just keep coming back to question - Do We Really Need Another Social Networking Site?

Yahoo_mash_flickr_module Yahoo! - if you are going to own this Social Marketing space, why aren't you putting your best foot forward?  This is incredibly lacking, I expected to see cool widgets from your other social media acquisitions integrated into this beta from the get go.  All I get is a Flickr module?  Wow, that's just lame.  There's about 15 to 20 modules - be warned some of these broke my page (granted these are 3rd party created). 

However, beyond the 3rd party apps, I'd expect for something you've released would have had at least some of your top modules have integration to your other great services - like the following:

  • De.licio.us Integration - have a module for your top bookmarks to share them
  • Yahoo! Videos - integrate your accounts for the videos you upload
  • Yahoo! Answers - this is likely your strongest product, why in the world you didn't create a module for this is beyond me!
  • MyBlogLog - Great product, your widget is on thousands of blog, why can't I have widget for here too?
  • Fantasy Football League - Dude! It's football season (if y'all didn't know I'm a rabid Eagles fan), Fantasy Leagues are HUGE!  People could integrate these into their Mash profile and brag at how great a fantasy football team they have (or cry... in my case I'd cry, I'm not good at Fantasy Football)
  • Any Sports Fantasy Leagues you have - NHL soon starts, NASCAR is now down to its "Chase", but a whole new season starts in February, and I'm sure there's NBA fantasy leagues and what about all those college sports?
  • Integrate some kind of Blogging RSS feature that actually works and doesn't cause me to break the page (see error screen shot below).   Cute dog though.
    Yahoo_mash_oops_its_broken_screen
  • Make it easy to integrate what I have in Yahoo! 360, either combine the profile, or import in what I have there and delete the old one.
  • Make it easy to integrate what I have in "MyYahoo", either combine the profile or import in what I have there.
  • Make it easy to access my Yahoo Mail (and Messenger).   If there's one thing I like about using your other Yahoo properties, its that usually in 1 click, I can easily access my Yahoo! email account - I can't do that with Mash.
  • Integrate Yahoo! Games - Allow a module to see how well you do on the games you play.  Many of my friends play your free games, and brag about how good they are.  Mash would allow them to boast the scores, while promoting this property
  • Integrate Yahoo! Groups - Whatever forums I like, allow me to integrate my most recent posts in Yahoo! Groups.

All of these things are Yahoo! based programs, properties and applications.  These should have come standard, who better than your own programmers to make sure these things work and function properly.  Look to the community to adapt your API and create modules like they currently are (Twitter and YouTube are two nice examples).

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in this offering.  I don't really see a reason to use this social network in favor of Facebook, or to switch from Yahoo!360.  I'll keep checking back to see what's updated and offered, but I'm not moving off of what's already working for me, for something this "Beta".

September 13, 2007

Press Releases and Optimization for Search Engines

By Li Evans

Press releases are a great way to announce interesting, unique or important news about someone or something important about your company.  However, the most important thing to remember is that what you might consider important just might not be that important to the world at large.  Understanding who will find this information intriguing enough to call you to investigate a little more and create a story out of your information is the key to creating successful press releases.

There was a time where launching a new website or a new web site design was newsworthy.  That was back in the day when stuffing the keyword meta tag with over a 100 keywords, might have helped you rank well.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), those days have past and  marketers, web site owners and public relations experts need to find more interesting hooks around the more mundane informational announcements that Presidents and CEO's of companies insist are "most newsworthy".

Along with the fact that press releases need to be more creative to catch the interest of the target audience, press releases need to be "found", or "stand out" among a sea of thousands of other press releases that are being released every day.  Since the advent of the internet, the technology distribution advancements has been both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because it makes it a lot easier to reach a lot more perspective outlets for your press release, but a curse in that it's made it easy for everyone and their uncles' cousin to just the same thing as you are.

So how do you stand out?  How do you get your press release found or have it picked up?  Here's a few tips for creating, optimizing and distributing your press releases.

Continue reading "Press Releases and Optimization for Search Engines" »

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