Kudos to client & local cable station WMCT TV

Last night I attended the first annual Employment Options Celebrity Roast. This year’s celebrity was former Massachusetts State Representative Steve LeDuc. The Roast was emceed by Channel 5’s Ed Harding, and included videos, powerpoint presentations, and roasters. Roasters included Steve LeDuc’s friends, former employees and former Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Thomas Finneran.

WMCT TV Marlborough Local CableMarlborough’s local cable TV station, WMCT TV was there in full force. Five employees, 4 cameras, pre-recorded videos, and more. I learned from WMCT TV staff that they had been preparing for weeks; creating and editing original videos, and coordinating efforts and scripting the evening’s festivities with David Greenwood of David A Greenwood Associates (PR) and Toni Wolf, Executive Director of Employment Options.

As a spectator, it was a learning experience to see the amount of staff and equipment it took to record the evening. Witnessing what that took, I can not even begin to imagine the hours it must have taken to prepare the videos that they showed last night. They had produced the “Person on the Street” interviews, the “Let’s Cut Live” segments with Heather Unruh (Channel 5) and Dan Guindon (WMCT TV),  the Steve LeDuc bio, and…all the other videos.

My hat is off to them this morning! Great job WMCT TV…So proud to have you as a client! I hope you are making CDs of the Roast!

Top Blogs and Top Bloggers

Yesterday, Jason Falls tweeted about the Top Ten Blogs (over the last three months) on each of three public blogging platforms: WordPress.com, Blogger.com and Typepad.com. Across the blogging platforms, the blogs about politics, pop culture, pornography, religion, and the law topped the lists.

Even though your subject matter is different, take a look at these blogs to see what top-ranked bloggers do to engage their audiences. In this case, engagement was measured by PostRank Labs using a formula that included measuring the number of comments each post received, the number of retweets and digg, stumbleupon, etc recommendations were received, mentions in other blogs, and other social networking activities. Basically, PostRank attempts to measure the number of conversations that where generated as a result of reading the blogs.

Jason’s post:  A First-Ever Look At The Top Blogger.com WordPress.com & Typepad.com Blogs?

Experimenting with foursquare

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been attending the online 2010 Social Media Summit. I want to stay on top of the latest trends in social networking and social media so that I can provide clients with relevant and timely data, but, also so that I can use what I learn for my own websites.

One of the up-and-coming social websites that was discussed last week was foursquare. Tristan Walker from foursquare said that foursquare is a “mobile social application” that, from a consumers point of view, “make cities easier to use”, and from a vendors standpoint, helps them “acquire and retain customers”.

Consumers
You open an account (free) with foursquare. As you go through your day and from one venue to the next, you log into foursquare and “check in”. When you check in, foursquare can tweet your location to your followers, make an entry in your Facebook, and make the information available to your foursquare “friends” (oh, yeah, building foursquare community). The default is to perform all three, but, you have the ability to (un)check any and all for each check in.

Home page at foursquare.com

The more places you check in for the first time and the more times you check in to a (repeat) venue, you earn points, and ultimately, prestige awards from foursquare. For example, if you are the person who visits a vendor most often, you receive the “Mayor’s badge” for that vendor. There is actually a dashboard panel that displays the statistics of your points, the badges you have earned, where you have been and how frequently.

Vendors
Foursquare’s appeal to vendors then is that vendors can use foursquare’s prestige awards as incentives for foursquare “members” to patronize their establishment. So, for example, a vendor might offer a free meal, haircut, or round of golf to the person who becomes the foursquare “Mayor” of the venue.

Conversely, if a vendor is not getting any “check ins”, they might offer a special in order to get the ball rolling and get some visibility on foursquare.

So you see that it is a win-win system for both consumers and vendors.

~

So, since the session, I created an account on foursquare and started to check in periodically. I don’t check in all the time because that just doesn’t balance with me. If you want to know where I am every part of the day, shadow me in person.

So, the reason I am writing this post is to let you know that it is fun, and I can see how it will become addictive – and probably more so than Twitter and Facebook. Afterall, you have your cell phone with you all the time, and, you are on the move when you are checking in. You can log on to foursquare and find out where your (real) friends are and hook up with them. You can have races with your friends to see who can check in where first.  You can challenge each other to see who can win the most Mayorships in a certain amount of time.

Mostly, it was fun checking in and seeing where my friends were checking in. The snag that I ran into was…foursquare didn’t always get the GPS signal right, so, I couldn’t check in. Last week, I was at Panera Bread in Marlborough, MA and foursquare insisted that I was in Ontario Canada and kept showing me Michigan and Ontario venues. I moved from Panera’s to the other side of the parking lot and it showed me the same places. While at other venues, I checked in, and the check in “recorded” screen didn’t display, so, I checked in one or two more times until I saw that screen… and, of course, as I look at my statistics, I was checked in multiple times for some venues that I only visited once.

Curiously enough, a friend (@mannismacneil) sent me a link to this blog post made by Doug Gross on May 11, 2010 –  Foursquare tweaks make it easier to ‘check in’. It begins,

For anyone who’s ever tried to check in somewhere on Foursquare, only to mutter, “No! That is NOT where I am,” help is on the way.

So, it is not a perfect system yet, and from a consumer’s point of view, it is downright disappointing when you have been on a roll checking in. It discourages you from checking in for the next “x” amount of time. Foursquare is going to have to talk vendors into providing some really great incentives in order for consumers to overlook these “inconveniences”.

As the product matures and the tweaks are worked out, I see a beautiful marriage between consumers on the go and vendors incentivizing them to visit their establishments. Win-Win! I like it!

What about you? Do you have a foursquare account? What is your experience…pure fun or a little frustrating?

11:00 AM UPDATE –> So I posted this at 7:40 this morning and 3 1/2 hours later @brett tweeted about Andrew Davis’ blog post about a vendor taking up with foursquares.  Finally a Brand Harnessing the Power of Location-Based Media

Sole Proprietor Doing it All

It’s been an interesting day so far.

This morning, I was catching up on the social networking websites and followed a link to a blog post that has ignited passionate responses. The post was written by a sole proprietor and talks how he outsources work to the Philipines, and how he recently read a book by an outsourcing expert and he is now convinced that he has’t been doing enough outsourcing and should start doing more immediately.

So my brain was thinking about being a sole proprietor and how I might outsource in a way that is aligned with my “doing business” philosophy. 

After the social networking websites, I started doing research for a client who wants to offer a subscription service on his website where subscribers could watch 1/2 hour and hour-long videos. I’ve been looking at Vimeo, Brightcove, vzaar, and reading blog posts that review each of the services. I even put the question to my Twitter audience, hoping for recommendations.

I have more online video services to research, but, in the midst of it all, I found this video. It is one of Vimeo’s Staff’s favorites. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think about someone that is (has to) doing it ALL him/herself…like sole prorietors who chose to or have to due to circumstances.

If you’re a Do-It-All Yourself-er, you’ll enjoy this metafor in video. Here’s a guy who is doing it all himself, changing it up to be more creative, leveraging things (sounds) that he just made, stretching his abilities, finding balance…

(Reggie Watts) Out Of Control from Jake Lodwick on Vimeo.

Thnking of how many times Reggie switches it up, reminds me of a full day of doing business as a sole proprietor.

4 Tips for Using Keywords in your Blog

I created this post about tips for using keywords in your blog because the name of the game on the Internet is getting found, and YOU can help yourself get found every time you write in your blog. Here’s how.

Assumptions

  1. You’ve created your list of keywords. Each “keyword” is really a keyword phrase not a single word. For example, if you are a blog developer located in Marlborough Massachusetts, your primary keyword phrase might be “blog developer in Marlborough Massachusetts” or “blog developer in Central Mass” or “blog developer in MetroWest Massachusetts” depending on the geographic area you are targeting. You do not have “blog”, “blogs”, nor “blog developer” on your keyword list. Those terms are too broad.
  2. Your list of keywords is visible. Maybe you have the keywords written in a composition notebook and you open the notebook to that page every time you write in your blog. Maybe the list of keywords is posted on your cubby wall, on your desktop in a file, or maybe it’s written on a sticky that is stuck on your monitor.  Why do you need to see your keywords everytime you write in your blog? They keep you on course.

    Your keywords are to your blog as your mission statement is to your business

     

Tips:

1. Look for opportunities to use your keywords in your post.
First write your post. Then review the post looking for opportunities to replace words with your keywords or to add keywords. For example, the phrase,

With 6 years of experience we understand…

is very generic and would be more powerful from a “getting found” perspective if the type of experience were mentioned. The following phrases give the search engines more information about you (using the blog developer in Marlborough Massachusetts example from above). 

With 6 years of experience developing blogs we understand…
Having developed blogs for 6 years, we understand…
As blog developers with 6 years experience, we understand…

and even better – to really focus in on your target audience, each one of these phrases is more powerful when the type of blog is added.

With 6 years of experience developing WordPress blogs we understand…
Having developed WordPress blogs for 6 years, we understand…
As WordPress blog developers with 6 years experience, we understand…

2. Use your keywords in the post’s Title.
After writing the post and reviewing it for opportunities to use your keywords, add your title. Include one of your keywords in the Title.

3. Use your keywords in defining the Categories, Sub-Categories and Tags.
Keep them short and meaningful. Maybe when you chain them together, they ‘complete’ a keyword term.  For example, in this blog, I have a category named ‘Blogs’. I could create Sub-Categories like ‘Design’, ‘Development’ and ‘Maintenance’, and then the Category + Sub-Category combinations would make the keyword terms ‘Blogs Design’, ‘ Blogs Development’ and ‘Blogs Maintenance’, respectively.

4. Use your keyword terms in your All in One SEO Pack fields for each post.
Here you repeat the keywords you used in the Post and Post’s Title. Choose the ONE most important keyword to use for the All in One SEO Pack Title. You can use more than one keyword in the description and keywords.  

Ideally, a post is focused on ONE keyword (like “blog developers”), so, your task is to find different ways to express the same idea in the different sections available to you on the Post Data Entry screen.  When you focus on one concept, you are clearly “branding” your business with the keyword concept. When you use too many keywords in one post, you end up diluting the strength of all of the keywords because there are too many associations.

 How about you? What tips can you share about using keywords with your blogs? (Click the title of this post to bring up to the page that displays the post with a Comments area below. Let us know!)