Generating fabulous content that gets my clients found online. Lead capture and nurture techniques. SEM and SEO. Implementation, integration, and use of Drupal and HubSpot content management systems.
@ginidietrich I must disagree, at least a little, on this point. Study after study shows that Americans are working longer hours than ever, and that it's affecting stress levels and illnesses. Yes, social media and marketing can be fun, but at what point do we need to start worrying about always being "on"? I don't want to hold a webinar at 9pm, because that's when I'm at home with my family. And it's great if lots of people are commenting on my posts at 5:00am — but does that mean I have to be awake to respond? People are impatient on social media, and want a faster response. Does this mean I have to be awake at 5:00am to respond to comments, be available all day for my clients who work business hours, and then stay awake to do a webinar from 9:00-11:00pm?There can be difficulties/disadvantages to always being connected. Sometimes it feels less like being connected and more like *having to be connected all the time.*
2 years, 5 months ago on Social Media Campaigns Don’t Match When Consumers Are Online
"Trend surfing" doesn't apply to just products. It can affect your editorial calendar, the kind of whitepapers and webinars you create, the events you attend, the people you interview, and so forth.
2 years, 7 months ago on Culture Surfing: How Small Businesses Can Ride the Waves
@HowieSPM We've had a similar problem at our company; if a client doesn't understand the value of blogging, it's impossible to convince them to pay what it takes to have that content written. Fortunately things are changing, but it's been a slow slog.
2 years, 7 months ago on Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough?
@jeanniecw I'm excited about Google Glasses, but those will alter yet again the social and marketing landscape. It'll be nothing if not interesting, that's for sure. :)
2 years, 8 months ago on What's Your Mobile Mojo?
@PaulBiedermann Agreed. I just hope everyone gets on the bandwagon sooner rather than later!
2 years, 8 months ago on 12 Most Tantalizing Ways Traditional Marketing Powers Social Media
Great article! I love that the tips you mention can apply to both mobile app and mobile web design. Mobile users behave so differently, it's important to cater to them just as you would a person who walks into your store or calls you or visits your site on a desktop.
I think the idea of integrating traditional and social marketing is great — if it's done *right*. The best example is the QR code. Most people don't know what it is, and even those who do use them are often disappointed because the code takes them to a homepage that has nothing to do with the ad or offer they saw in a commercial/on a poster/etc.
And since a lot of companies still aren't on the content bandwagon, there's often no real calls to action to lead people from traditional to social. Yes, Wheat Thins puts their Facebook icon/link on commercials, but there's no CTA. Why should I go there? What kind of conversations am I supposed to have? What's in it for me?
It seems to me that a lot of businesses haven't wrapped their minds around social media yet; so how are we going to convince them to spend money on traditional advertising that sends prospects to a social media site that's under-utilized and full of sales pitches?
Ahem. Mini-rant aside, I really like this article. It's a great way to show people that it's poor strategy to lean on just traditional or just social. There needs to be an interdependence, a way to get every member of your audience you can to visit your site and interact and become a fan and a customer. Thanks for sharing these!
I think a lot of businesses never get to the crisis planning point because they feel like they're drowning in all the other "stuff" they should be doing (social media, blogging, building their brand, and on and on). It can be hard to plan for a possible future event when they're just trying to keep their heads above water today.
This can't be an excuse, however. In this increasingly social and connected world, having a crisis plan in place is, well, critical.
2 years, 8 months ago on 12 Most Untenable Excuses Not to Have a Crisis Communications Plan
I want to print this post (and Gini's comment) out and staple it on every tree, lamp post, and bill board in town.
2 years, 8 months ago on Social Media, Collapsed Time, and Our Reactionary Culture
Hopping into "the next big thing" is something that a lot of businesses do, usually to their detriment. Everyone else may be using X social media, but you have to stop and consider whether it's best for you and/or your business. Answering this question involves the points you mention in your article, as well as working out a strategy for using that platform.
Excellent points all around, Ken. Thanks for sharing!
2 years, 9 months ago on Small Business Tip Tuesday: In Praise of Moving Slowly
I think something a lot of people miss is that customer service doesn't start as something grandiose — it starts as going the extra mile for a single customer. It's how you treat each individual that makes up your "customer service."
2 years, 9 months ago on Of Pennies, Trees, and the Importance of Every Customer
I agree with all these tips, but I think #1 is the most crucial. It's frustrating to all parties if one person is constantly having to go to the other with follow-up questions. Spell out what you want.
As for what I could add: Don't delegate responsibility and withhold authority. If you give a person a job to do, but don't let others know, or don't give that person the authority they need to accomplish the task, the whole thing will fail. Fewer things are more irritating than being given a job and no authority with which to get it done.
2 years, 9 months ago on Five Tips for Effective Delegation
@jacksvalentine @KenMueller I agree with you, Nean. We work hard on our company website, but when someone asks what I do, I don't say, "Go check out our website!" and refuse to say anything else. Even if I'm unsure of my sales pitch, I try to say something meaningful.Her being unsure of herself makes me less confident in what she's doing. :)
2 years, 9 months ago on Not So Social Marketing
I'm not a reader of the NYT, but I really like the idea of checking out the photos they share on Tumblr. I think a lot of history buffs (amateur and not) will have a lot of fun with it.
2 years, 9 months ago on Lessons You Can Take from The New York Times Storytelling
I just can't imagine a business owner who isn't chomping at the bit to talk all about their business. Maybe "Anne" isn't comfortable with feeling like a salesperson, or isn't confident that the business will be a success...so she was being hesitant.
Not that I'm excusing her. You should definitely feel comfortable talking about your business over the phone, on social media, *and* in person.
Huge applause to point #4. That's something that I need to do more often.
2 years, 9 months ago on Small Business Tip Tuesday: 8 Annoying Little Digital Chores You Need to Take Care of Weekly
@KenMueller I'm definitely not advocating cutting corners (that's how you end up with terrible stuff). Striving for excellence is wonderful, and is a great chance to stretch, learn, and do better. But we can't let fear of not reaching perfection prevent us from trying. :)
2 years, 9 months ago on Are you Adequate? Bursting with Adequatulence?
This is a tough one. On one hand I totally agree — we should always be striving to do better. But this idea brings up bigger issues.
I've read article after article that shows that Americans work more hours than anyone else. They have longer days, take fewer vacations, and many are still unable to reach "the American dream" of owning a home or whatever their goals are. We're among the most stressed people on the planet, partly because of the idea that we always need to do and be better (which many people associate with doing more, although the two aren't necessarily the same).
Also, and it hurts to say it, but sometimes "adequate" is just fine, or may even be as high as we can go with something. In recent weeks I keep coming back to the saying, "Don't let 'perfect' be the enemy of 'good.' " It's great to reach for an ideal, but sometimes that ideal is unattainable, for whatever reason. But we can't let that get in the way of doing *something* that is good, or even "adequate."
Good food for thought, Ken. Thanks for sharing.
@karyn_ellis Agreed. Automatic playing of just about anything is irritating, and makes me leave the site quickly. :)
2 years, 10 months ago on (Video) 4 Mistakes You Make When Posting Video on Your Blog
I'm not certain you can do this, but if it's possible to auto-play an embedded video...don't. :) Not only will visitors miss part or all of the video, it's irritating to have to scroll around (or click between tabs) to find and pause something that's making noise.
I totally agree about the video transcript. You don't necessarily have to transcribe the whole thing, but you should hit the high points.
Fabulous article! I've never seen this particular metaphor, and I think it does a great job of explaining how both kinds of content are important.
Our company tends to produce more feathers, simply because bricks require more time, which we don't always have. Taking a picture or sending out a tweet takes a few minutes, and blog posts take a few hours; but a whitepaper can take weeks, depending on the topic. We're working on finding a balance, but it's intense and intensive work.
2 years, 10 months ago on Planning Your Content Marketing: Bricks vs. Feathers
I think it's interesting to see the rise and fall of various social media networks, while blogging remains relatively steady (and, at least with many people I see, is just starting to catch on).
There is no marketing magic bullet, and strategies cannot be cookie-cutter. What works on Facebook will not work on Twitter, and what works for one industry will not work for another. The only that works for *most* industries is creating solid content — some free, and some used to capture leads. It's the way my business has grown their sales volume, and we're sticking to it.
2 years, 10 months ago on Will The Rise of the Photo Apps Kill the Written Word?
@ChrisHeiler@HeidiCohen I'm not certain I could get some of my clients to even take a picture! :)
This is all great stuff to keep in mind, especially when going through a lead qualification process. Checking out social media profiles is a good way to get to know leads at least a little, and see if there's some common ground anywhere.
2 years, 10 months ago on 5 Steps to Learning More About Your Customers
I love the technology age we're in, but this is one of the frustrating aspects; there just isn't much of a line between personal and business anymore, and I think there should be. For most people, they work FOR a company, but they are not THE company. I'm essentially the same person at work as at home, but there are of course aspects of my life (family, relationships, etc.) that I don't want to have splashed everywhere, or associated with my company. Not because I think it will reflect badly on me, but because it's really nobody's business.
That's why I like splitting people along platform lines. I connect to my closest friends on Facebook. They're free to follow me on Twitter, but I use that space more as a way to connect with book bloggers and other bookish people — I don't usually post anything insanely personal there, because my personal Twitter account is linked on my profile on my company's website.
As kind of lame as Google is being recently, the Google+ circles are a really great idea. I love being able to separate people along business/professional lines.
Great article, Ken, and another reminder that in this age, we may always be under a microscope.
2 years, 10 months ago on Small Business Tip Tuesday: Don’t Get Caught in the Two Twitter Trap
@Marijean I got one over the weekend. Good idea to link to this in the future. :D
2 years, 10 months ago on 6 Reasons Telling Someone You'd like to Add them to your Professional Network is Lame
Hear, hear! Generally when I get an invite on LinkedIn, it looks just like the one you took a screen capture of. I can't imagine sending an invitation to connect without adding a little something personal — what if the person doesn't necessarily remember where we met? Or if it's been awhile since we worked together? It takes 30 seconds to personalize; why don't people do it more often?
This article has my cynical side ranting. :) "Of course businesses are getting into blogging — it's several years old, and businesses are almost alway behind the times. Can't wait to read this same article in a couple years when it's called 'The Big, Bold Benefits of Social Media for Business" and talks about how businesses are getting on social media."
Okay, a little harsh, but I see my cynical side's point. All that said, I'm glad people are FINALLY getting on the blogging bandwagon!
2 years, 10 months ago on The Big, Bold Benefits of Blogging for Business
@ginidietrich Yea, programmers are definitely like that. As are designers, developers, writers, and every other kind of person I work with! :) We're all friendly and fun, but sometimes we just need to disappear for awhile.
Headphones are a HUGE help, totally agree. Sometimes I just have them on even when I'm not listening to music.
Takes all kinds, I suppose.
2 years, 11 months ago on Privacy and Autonomy for Introverts at Work
I'm loving this article. I'm an introvert as well, but I'd never really stopped to consider the angle you mention; I've always been shy and quiet, but in a "now that you mention it" moment, I'm seeing exactly what you mean about introverts needing to be alone.
Sometimes I just need to disappear into my cave and think or get some tricky work done. I love having a "team room" where everyone is (because it's easier to collaborate), but some days I have to move to our conference room or a desk in the back.
Now the question becomes, what's a good balance (for me and for every other person)? What are some ways that we can work collaboratively for the people who need it, and how can we designate some "quiet time" for people who need to be alone? Good food for thought, Gini, thank you for sharing!
@KenMueller I completely agree — as long as the story is well-crafted, true, open and honest (dare I say "transparent"?). Which is where some companies run into trouble. Hopefully as online interaction and social media become a more normal part of marketing, companies will come to understand the importance of storytelling.
2 years, 11 months ago on Once Upon a Time: The Importance of Stories for Your Business
This post fits in nicely with the webinar I was in earlier today, "Telling Your Story Without Advertising." I think people forget that storytelling was one of the world's first creations ("Look! Here's how I invented fire!"), and that it can have a powerful impact on just about everything, including how and where we spend our money. The sharing of mutual (or varying) experiences is what gets us through parties, ice breakers, job interviews, family holidays, and a million other things. Without stories, connecting is difficult. And since people usually spend time with, do business with, and recommend/refer companies and organizations with whom they connect...it's time for people to hop on the bandwagon, or get left in the dust.