Make front page news by NOT inviting the media (a media relations success story)

We wanted media coverage. So we were, counterintuitively, very careful not to let the media know we would be in town. And we got covered in every media outlet. How did we succeed?

Not a single reporter showed up at our media event. And we were thrilled.

Not a single photographer showed up to capture the moment. And we were pleased as punch.

Not a single newspaper knew about the event. And we received front page coverage in every one! [Read more…]

Top tips to work with a ghostwriter

When you hire a ghostwriter for your book, you still have a role to play. Here’s how to work with your ghostwriter.

Strictly speaking, ghostwriters are hired hands. They take no publishing credit for the book (or speech or screenplay), nor do they share in the profits. The writers are like ghosts. They are there, but not seen.

However, there are many variations of ghostwriting, and sometimes credit is given or profits shared. That remains your prerogative when negotiating with the writer. The ghostwriting contract will specify the terms.

There are many reasons for hiring a ghostwriter, but the two main ones are: [Read more…]

11 ways to hand-craft the best URL structure for traffic and SEO

When building a URL structure, there are many factors to consider. Here are 11 ways to create the perfect URL for both traffic and SEO.

Before you start, you want URLs that:

  • are easy to link to
  • search engines like
  • people can easily remember
  • tell people what your pages are all about

The URL structure is everything that comes after the domain name. Choosing a domain name is important, but that is an article in its own right. We won’t address it here. Choosing whether to use subdomains or folders for large sections of a website is another related debate that we’ll pass on for today. [Read more…]

3 fundamental strategies to get a winning logo

Logo design seems simple. but it’s worth the time to do it right. Here are three strategies to help you get the most out of your logo design.

Everybody has a logo. Little League teams have logos. Hair salons have logos. Big companies, small companies…everybody.

A few of the logos are actually good.

By “good”, I don’t mean that I like them. I mean that they achieve what they are meant to achieve. They are winning logos.

Here are three strategies to help you get a winning logo. [Read more…]

How to promote your blog in 111 easy steps

Call me lazy, but I’m going to throw stuff today.

First, I’m going to throw a list at you. Yes, that means I don’t have to do the fancy writing I love so much. But, wait! Coming up with 111 easy tips to promote your blog takes time and effort. In fact, more effort than letting the words pour out. Just so you know that I’m not really being lazy.

Second, I’m going to throw out a challenge. Tell me how many of these 111 tips you are already doing. Then come back in one month and tell me how many you are doing by then. Let’s see who gives their blog promotion the biggest kick in the caboose! [Read more…]

Are we entering a new age of SEO?

Some people say that we are entering a new age of SEO, that the tricks of the past will become the stuff of legend, and that we will be blazing a new trail through unchartered waters – possibly even the end of SEO altogether.

Sound familiar? Well it’s not all that new a concept. People have been ringing the SEO-is-dead bell for years.

Long live SEO.

However two “facts” are clear. The first is that the basics of SEO have not changed much in a decade. I even wrote about this a year ago, so it must be true.

On the other hand

On the other hand, SEO has changed tremendously. A decade ago, nobody cared about mobile search, and Google was now offering a mobile option (AMP) that works off its own server, rather than off of yours.

A decade ago, people were not talking about bounce rates or time on site as a ranking factor.

A decade ago, nobody was making the connection between SEO and social media.

A decade ago, nobody was speculating how the Internet of Things would change the nature of searching.

And nobody was talking about an end to links as a ranking factor. Today, Brian McFarlane is wondering out loud whether we are already seeing the beginning of a slow decline of link building, an activity that often occupies over 90 percent of many SEO professionals’ time. [Read more…]

Social media is the next frontier in social selling

If you are puzzled by the title of this post because you think you are up on the latest trends and are sure that “social selling” means selling on social media, be prepared to learn something.

Social selling has a long, long history. In fact, Jesus used social selling.

What? Are you saying that Jesus preached on Twitter and Facebook?

Of course not. Social selling has nothing to do with social media. Nothing. You can use social media for social selling, and in 2016, you would be a fool not to. But social selling is about “social”, not about technology (otherwise, it would be called “technology selling”).

In the words of Jonathan Becher, Chief Digital Officer at SAP:

“While technology can help, social selling is about building stronger relationships with potential buyers, based on an authentic sense of empathy and a deep understanding of the problems they face.”

That sense of empathy is key.  If a potential customer feels that you are “one of the good guys” or that you are “one of us”, he will be much more open to buy from you.  There is implicit trust.  So the sooner a salesperson can determine whether you are a Red Sox fan or a Yankees fan, the sooner he can start sharing a common bond with you and bring you on his side.

Consider the difference between sitting across the table or across a desk from somebody trying to sell you something, or sitting on the same side of the table.  Across is confrontational.  Same side is cooperative.  Same side of the table selling is bound to be more effective, because there is the implicit assumption that the salesperson is on the same side as you.

We humans are so easily swayed by us-and-them psychology (which is why successive Miss Universes have failed to achieve “World Peace“, but that’s another problem to ponder at some other time).

Sell from the same side of the table [Read more…]

TrueTwit marketing is evil genius

Why does every story have to have an evil genius? TrueTwit has done something visionary, but you’ll have to get past my rant first.

I am impressed by something TrueTwit is doing these days, and has been for the past month, in the field of marketing. For those who know what I think of TrueTwit, this might come as a surprise. For those who have never had the pleasure to hear me rant on this topic, now’s your chance.

What makes this marketing visionary?TrueTwit is a service the forces people fill in a captcha field before they can follow you. Here is how TrueTwit works:

  1. You follow somebody.
  2. Truetwit sends you an automated direct message (DM) with a link: “To validate click here“.
  3. You click the link, and land on a TrueTwit page
  4. You successfully complete the captcha on that page, and now you are finally following the person that you had actually followed three steps ago.

[Read more…]

Click Here! Two action words worth using

Some people will tell you to avoid linking with “Click here” as anchor text.  But look what you would be missing.

If you are old enough to remember the olden days when SEO was “a thing” – before it became something to carefully ignore with a studious sideways glance – we were all counseled to avoid using generic terms like “click here” as anchor text on links.  “Click here” was a dirty word.

Even I was counseling against that approach, and with two very good reasons.

First, the search engines could see what a page was about by reading it, but they also wanted to know what other people thought the page was about.  So they would read the anchor text of hyperlinks pointing to the page for clues.

If the anchor text said “content marketing for real estate promotion”, the search engines would assume that the page was at least somewhat about “content marketing for real estate promotion”.  The page would therefore rank higher for “content marketing for real estate promotion” and for related phrases, such as “content marketing for real estate” and “real estate promotion”.

Using keyword-rich anchor text made good SEO sense.
[Read more…]

Your website’s need for speed

If it seems like life has been getting faster every day, that’s because it has. And if it seems like the Internet is getting faster every day, that’s because it is. We’ve moved from pedal boats to rocket ships.

As the Internet speeds up, your competitors speed up, too. And that creates expectations on the part of your two most important audiences – your customers and visitors, and the search engines on whom you probably rely to bring you customers and visitors.

Public expectations are pretty harsh these days. With life so fast-paced, is it any wonder that 47 percent of the public expects your web page to load in two seconds or less? Or that 57 percent will abandon your website if it take three seconds or more to load? Or that the reason half your customers don’t complete their purchases, but rather abandon their shopping carts, is due to impatience with load times:

“Roughly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout, and new findings suggest that slow load times are the number-one culprit.”

As long as people can get what they want at the speed they want elsewhere, they won’t put up with a slow shopping cart. Slow pages cut conversions. They also increase bounce rates…and that can affect your search engine rankings.

Does your website have enough speed?

[Read more…]