Featured Posts

DSC00064Marketing Misfire Photo of the Week I couldn't resist taking this photo while walking around in Manhattan. I'll leave the company name out of it but this was their main marketing message on the front of the building. They may want to consider...

Read more

video-300x300Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing Disclaimer: I'm am not a professional video producer. If you've read my blog for a few years you'll know I typically embrace the latest mediums in marketing, learn them, and implement them in my teams'...

Read more

Clean ShirtsHome Delivery Dry Cleaning Case Study: How Performance... Many of my readers are marketing professionals so stick with me on this post until the end. Although it looks like a post reviewing local dry cleaners it was actually inspired out of seeing first hand...

Read more

Hotel Video Marketing - Good Tool or Not? I recently wrote about an experience I had in Europe staying at Ibis hotels. I was impressed with their marketing of their services and the backing of that brand marketing by hotel staff. The post was...

Read more

Yoda.sized5 Steps To Analyzing That New Marketing Effort I was recently watching the original Star Wars movies with my kids. An absolute timeless series, but it's amazing how much more suspenseful that was when I was much younger. Graphics and special affects...

Read more

  • Prev
  • Next

Twitter Updates...

  •  

Who Hijacked The Lonely Marketer

Category : blogging

7

Well, very simply – life did. Life hijacked the author of the Lonely Marketer. The Teeter-Totter of balance in my life tilted too far in one direction and needed re-balancing. My guess is that many of you have felt the same thing somewhere on your path where something had to give. I was offered a nice career opportunity that I jumped at coupled with two amazing, young children and an incredible wife. At the same time, I was really hitting my stride with this blog. I was invigorated by the flow of conversation and the thought that I was providing material that other people read and enjoyed. Then, KABOOM! Work was much more demanding. I wanted to spend time with my kids and enjoy their every move. And oh yeah, maybe even see my wife in person, rather than on Skype, once in awhile. Something had to go on hold and unfortunately it was my website.

I come across some of the wonderful contacts and friends I made through this experience once in a while and the common questions is, “where did you disappear to?”. I can’t blame them for asking. I felt like I vanished as well. The subscriber count, the traffic, the mentions on other sites, the links, etc. weren’t what I missed – It was the ability to keep up with the conversation and the people. I’ve kept up with some of you and hope to re-engage with those of you who I’ve missed.

But, it’s time to jump back in. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be staring at a blank screen again with tons of white space waiting for my hands to cruise over a keyboard and fill it with thoughts, stories and insight. There may not be three posts a week as I’d done previously, but I hope to jump back into the conversation with a post every week or so.

I look forward to catching up with all of you and again working together to figure out the maze of marketing options available to us!

Why Not To Blog

Category : blogging

23

Many bloggers preach about the benefits of blogging for business, personal fulfillment, networking, social media participation, etc. The list could go on and on and I 100% agree with all of them. The satisfaction and personal/business gain can be incredible. But, one thing you should know once you jump into the world of blogging is that there are times when you should step away from the keyboard. Here are a few:

  • You’re tired
  • You’re happy hour went a few drinks too long
  • Writer’s block has set in
  • Experiencing a period of high stress
  • No inspiration
  • You’re angry, sad, or just plain grumpy
  • No topic grabs your interest
  • You’re trying to squeeze in too little time to produce quality work
  • You’re watching the kids and trying to write a post
  • Your passion is taking a day off

Remember, no post is better than a low-quality post. Your readers and community are subscribed to you because they value the message you deliver. When that message is compromised for any reason, it may be time to take a day or two off.


One Incredible Year and An Uncertain Future

Category : blogging

23

one-year-anniversary1.jpgOn November 26th, 2006 I made my first post on the Lonely Marketer. It seems that just yesterday this incredible experience began! Honestly, when I wrote that first post I never imagined that anyone would ever read what I was writing. There are all these great writers already writing about similar topics – why would anyone stop by the Lonely Marketer?

Then, I discovered the power of social media. I discovered a great community of marketing and search engine marketing bloggers and how to integrate myself into these already very lively discussions. I found advice, networking opportunities, resources and most importantly, friendship, from this experience. Here are some statistical highlights:

Readers: 917 (at time of writing this post)
Technorati Authority: 344 (14,006th ranked blog)
Most Popular Post: Beginner’s Guide To Setting Up A First Blog Site
Most Traffic: 15,000+ visitors in one day (from above post)
AdAge Power 150 Rank: 89
M20 Client Side Marketing Blog Rank: 4
Chapters Written in Published Book: 1
Speaking Engagements: 4

But really, these stats are meaningless. What I’ve taken away most from this experience is the great people I’ve met and all that I’ve learned. I thought about linking out to all those people, but literally there are hundreds and I was afraid I’d leave someone out. I’ll have to hope they visit and read this post.

I remember sitting at dinner with a group of people in San Jose at the Search Engine Strategies conference. I sat down only really knowing Matt McGee, but left with friends from Search Engine Guide, Pole Position Marketing, and the Worst SEO Blog Ever. This is just one example, but I’ve made more connections than you care to read about. Social media has an incredible way of connecting like-minded people.

With all these wonderful experiences to remember, I don’t know what lies ahead for the Lonely Marketer. With a significant promotion and a growing family I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain the level of content to which my readers are familiar. But know that whatever the future holds, this has been one of the most amazing and gratifying experiences of my professional (and personal) life.

Thank you friends and readers!!


RSS Feeds: Full Or Partial For Company Blogs?

Category : blogging

16

Okay readers, I need your opinion. Should a small business company blog offer a full or partial RSS feed? Having participated in the blog world for over a year now, I’m 100% in favor of the full RSS feed. In fact, myself and others have written about how partial feeds are such a turnoff because we use RSS readers so we don’t have to always click-through to the individual sites to which we subscribe.

But, that opinion is largely drawn from my participation in the marketing blogging community – both search marketing and general marketing bloggers.

What happens when there is not such a large number of bloggers in a particular niche and your audience is comprised mostly of customers and end-user prospects who don’t maintain blogs themselves – or are even that familiar with RSS and blogging? Should your RSS distribution mentality change? Here are the pros, cons and discussion points we’re tossing around:

Why companies should offer a FULL feed:

  • RSS content distribution is meant to give readers the flexibility to consume content on their own terms.
  • Readers may not want to visit your site each time.
  • Content is more engaging when can be presented in full in a Reader

Why companies should offer a PARTIAL feed:

  • One goal is to get people to your site. A partial feed would get more people to click through to your site on a regular basis to see offers or other product information.
  • Customers can’t purchase, request more information, or get additional resources from within their RSS reader.
  • If the goal is truly to interact with your customers via your blog than you need to get them to the site for the conversation.

As I was writing this post, Stoney deGeyter posted about the full or partial RSS feed topic on Search Engine Guide. He makes a great case for why a full feed is good.

BUT, the goal of any small business marketing effort is, of course, a return on the investment and the time. Is a full RSS feed inhibiting ROI efforts or is it lending to a greater goal of community? Is community enough of an ROI factor? I’m just wondering if maybe the rules shouldn’t change slightly when it comes to company blogs.

Your thoughts?


This Is How You Respond To Criticism

Category : blogging

11

Okay, so I just wrote yesterday about how important it is to have original content and not just pass along other people’s opinions or writing. Well, I’m breaking the rules because I was so absolutely impressed with a blog post that I think you should check it out.

If you’re at all connected with the search engine world, you’ve probably read that Google once again adjusted how they rank websites and many sites lost PageRank. If you don’t know what PageRank is, that’s alright – I’ll do a post on it sometime, but right now I want to focus on how Robert Clough of Search Engine Guide responded to criticism of how he handles advertising and links on his site. His post, Search Engine Guide Publisher Responds to PageRank Drop, is in response to Jill Whalen’s post, Google’s Paid-link Smack in the Face. In her post she had some rather unflattering things to say about how Search Engine Guide handles advertising.

The SEO debate is a good one, but I’d rather have you focus on how Robert responds (I know not everyone in my audience does search engine optimization). As a blogger, I’ve faced criticism on this site and have plans in place to deal with negative commentary on a blog I’m working on for my company. I think company bloggers should especially take note on this one. Robert’s response could be a template for how it’s done:

  • His response is controlled with no content indicating he’s about ready to head butt his monitor.
  • He actually ran her post on his site which shows support for her opinions.
  • He acknowledges his respect for Jill (like me, she is a contributor on SEG).
  • He makes his points without diminishing Jill’s opinion which she has every right to have.
  • He defends his publishing methods without sounding defensive.
  • He really spells out his case with clear, concise writing.

That, my loyal readers, is how you handle criticism in blogging. Jill’s post was not bad nor was it an attack. She just happened to strongly point out some views that promoted a solid debate. If you understand SEO, their discussion is excellent. If you don’t, read it and go to school on how to communicate your opposing opinion with your audience.


Hope You Didn’t Miss These….

Category : blogging

5

I’ve been bookmarking quite a few posts lately so I thought it was time to share some of my favorites with you. Below are a few I picked out that I thought you’d enjoy.

  • Life Begins When?: A great new sales management blog written by Tom Schaber has a fun post about the evolution of technology and how that has impacted the lives of sales people. A good resource for small business sales managers! He also has a book coming out this Fall on sales management.
  • A Beginner’s SEO Toolbox: Matt McGee has a very informative post outlining some tools beginners can use to get their feet wet with SEO. It’s simple and packed with useful information.
  • Search Engines for Kids: I was thrilled to see this post by Matt Bailey on Search Engine Guide. As my kids are starting to use computers I want to make sure the environment in which they’re browsing is safe. Nice work, Matt!

Hope you found something in there you liked! Thanks to the authors for the great content.


BlogRush Early Adopters Will Benefit

Category : blogging

4

BlogRush LogoRemember the MyBlogLog craze? Your email box was flooded with emails announcing someone new had added you as a contact. I enjoyed the community interactions and found new sites, but always wondered – “what’s the point?”. Sites such as Facebook seemed to do a much better job.

Well, a new fad launched this last weekend, but this one has a very intriguing purpose – driving traffic to your site. BlogRush has launched itself into the social media scene with a free widget that shows relevant, targeted articles from other sites across the web. You can see it on my right sidebar.

How does BlogRush work? For every impression the widget gets on my site, I earn one syndication credit for a headline on a different site. Plus, the more referrals (people who click on my widget and sign up) I get, the more syndication credits I’ll receive when my referrals start logging impressions. There is alot more math behind it, but if you’re interested you can check it out. I like the fact it will send targeted traffic to my site.

I was impressed with them today. They experienced an explosive launch of the product this last weekend and due to that are experiencing some technical problems. But, they quickly emailed early adopters, asked for patience, and are offering bonus credits to those that stick with them.

I’ll be curious to see where this goes….


Beginner’s Guide To Setting Up A First Blog Site

Category : blogging

106

Beginner Blogging ChecklistOver the last few months, the questions I’m receiving from friends and readers regarding setting up a blog has dramatically increased. Who says this medium is on the downside? So, I thought I’d put together a “Basics” checklist for beginners to use. There are more facets to setting up a blog than I list here, but this should give you a solid base from which to build. I’ve used this same method for both personal and business blogs.


For Starters:

  • Select a memorable, relevant name: Think about your topic and audience and select a title and tagline that you think will appeal to them.
  • Buy the domain: Whether you’re using a hosted or self-hosted version of a blogging platform, buy your name as a domain. Someday, your blog could be very popular and you won’t want to have missed the chance to have your own name.


Decision Time:

  • Select a Platform (from which to jump): WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad are a few to consider. I’m not the one to ask about comparing these platforms – I gravitate towards WordPress every time. Problogger offers a great writeup on selecting a platform – it’s over a year old but still very relevant.
  • Hosted vs. Self-Hosted: For the purpose of this post, let’s assume you’re taking my advice and selecting WordPress. Will you choose their hosted version or will you take their software and install it on your own server space with a web host? WordPress.com offers a very nice way to get things started in about 5 minutes. They host your site and all the setup is done for you. But, this is more limiting and down the road you may wish to have more freedom. Your other option is to download their latest version and install it on your own hosted space on your own domain you just purchased. Don’t be scared off by this option! With this option you have complete freedom over your site. The WordPress.org installation instructions are very thorough. I’m not a web developer and I’ve been able to pick up on it pretty easily. There are even hosts that offer one-click installations!

Claim Your Property:

  • Technorati: Once you get your site set up, go out to Technorati and claim your blog. Technorati is an authority on blog ranking. They track and rank your coveted incoming links. The more links the better your rank and the better you’ll be in search engine results when people search on keywords that could lead them to your blog.
  • FeedBurner: RSS feeds and FeedBurner seem to be a tough concept for people new to the blog world to figure out. FeedBurner is the most widely used RSS feed distributor. What do I mean by feed distributor? Go sign up for a Google Reader or Bloglines account. They are free online readers of RSS feeds. When you subscribe to an RSS feed and select your feed reader, the RSS feed (or blog) that you just subscribed to will now be in your reader. FeedBurner helps it get there. It reads the feed from your site and distributes it to other sources. Those big orange buttons you see on sites lead to a FeedBurner feed where people subscribe. FeedBurner keeps track of your subscribers so you can see how many subscribe to your site. They also offer a decent, free stat tracking tool.

Now, let’s jump ahead and assume you’ve done your research and made all the above decisions. I could go on for pages and pages on the above discussion points, but remember this is a general checklist meant to give you starting points from which to get started.

You’ve selected to host your own blog on your own domain and have gone ahead and installed the WordPress software. You now need to put some structure to your new site. Below is my list of must-have initial plugins with which to start your blog.

Build Your Site:

  • Akismet: This comes included with your WordPress installation. Don’t be a fool – activate it and set it up – quickly. Akismet helps block comment and trackback spam. To give you an idea of its importance, it has blocked over 8,000 spam attempts on this site.
  • Subscribe to Comments: Allows users to register themselves on any given post to receive follow-up comments via email. I very much endorse this plugin as it allows your readers who comment to get updated on your response or the responses of other readers without having to remember to come back and check.
  • WordPress Database Backup: Essential for any blog. Allows you to schedule backups of your database to be emailed to you or saved to your server.
  • WP-Cache: A WordPress page caching system to make your site much faster and responsive. It caches Worpress pages and stores them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and the building the page from the database.
  • A Contact From – The contact form is a module that you can drop on any page or any post and it gives visitors a way to fill out a form and contact you. It is much better than publishing an email address that can be picked up by spammers. I’d link to my contact form plugin, but it has been sold to a person who publishes it in a different language now. Anyone know of a good one?
  • Add This: This plugin puts an icon at the bottom of your posts that when clicked offers multiple options for bookmarking your content. This is important for getting your content added to sites such as Digg, del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon. If you’re a fan of Search Engine Land and Sphinn you’ll want to add the Sphinn button as well!
  • FB StandardStats: This plugin gives your site the capability to track stats via FeedBurner as a backup to Google Analytics or your stat package of choice.
  • FeedBurner FeedSmith: The plugin will detect all ways to access your feed (e.g. http://www.yoursite.com/feed/ or http://www.yoursite.com/wp-rss2.php, etc.), and redirect them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. It will forward your main posts feed, and optionally your main comments feed as well.
  • Google Sitemap Generator: This plugin generates an XML sitemap of your WordPress blog which helps search engine spiders crawl your site. This format is supported by Google, YAHOO and MSN Search.
  • Simple Tagging: Simple Tagging allows you to tag posts with keywords that will appear in the meta tags of the post source code. Thus, making the content more searchable.
  • SEO Title Tag 2.0: This plugin allows you to write a post title that will appear in the title tag for the post. What’s nice about this is you can write a keyword-stuffed title for the title tag and keep a more catchy title for your published post. See Update Below

There are many more useful and powerful plugin – what would you recommend as an essential plugin for a beginner?

Next, you’re ready to start writing and socializing….

It All Starts With Content:

  • Posts: I usually recommend having 5-10 posts written and posted before you go out and start “socializing” your work. By socializing I mean commenting on other sites, linking out heavily to other blogs, and participating in social networks to name a few. If you’re going to bait someone to check out your site you’ll want to make sure you have a good cross-section of content that gives that visitor an idea of what they can expect from you.
  • About Page: Have a decent About page to educate your visitors on what you’re all about. I think it’s important to give visitors something to which they can relate.
  • Make It Easy: Make life easy for your visitors by offering an easy to find subscribe button.
  • Most Importantly – Have Fun!!: If blogging is not fun for you – stop doing it! Your dislike will show in your writing anyway. Enjoy this platform and the great communities and relationships that develop.

Is there more to setting up a blog than what I’ve outlined here? YES! But, I’m hoping this checklist gives beginners something to follow as they dig into setting up their first site.

What did I forget? Is there something you would tag as essential for a beginner?

UPDATE: I wanted to clarify the use of the SEO Title Tag plugin. I did a poor job of describing that plugin. “Writing a keyword-stuffed title” is absolutely not the way I should have described that. I don’t recommend stuffing keywords into title tags to help with search engine optimization. You’ll notice I do not practice that on this site. Rather, I should have described the plugin as giving you an opportunity to optimize a title tag with keyword phrases related to your post. For example, sometimes you may want an eye catching HTML title like, “Essential Image SEO Tips!” that might get the attention of someone in their feed reader. But, you’d want your title tag to actually represent the content to help search engine spiders crawl the page better – something like, “Tips for Optimizing Images For Universal and Blended Search”. Sorry if I mislead anyone! If you have questions be sure to ask. Thanks to Johan and Jennifer for bringing that to my attention!


Are You Ready For Blogger Social ’08

Category : blogging

2

Blogger Social 2008Admittedly, I’m behind on making some announcements on the Lonely Marketer. One of them happens to be that the Blogger Social ’08 event has been officially planned and launched! With the help of Cam, Mike and Luc, CK and Drew have put together an event that is very representative of their emphasis on community. Blogger Social ’08 – to be held April 4th-6th, 2008 in New York City – is ready for you to register.

Wondering what this is all about? From the new Blogger Social ’08 website:

What is it? Blogger social is like no other marketing event because it’s not about marketing and it’s not about blogging—it’s about the marketers behind the blogs.

Neither conference nor summit, it’s one weekend, held once a year, where the online marketing community descends upon a designated city for a weekend full of events designed to allow everyone to get to know one another better—and designed to give everyone free time to design their own meetups, too!

Check out the new site to learn more about this great event!


Overdue Blog Post Roundup

Category : blogging

15

Happy Labor Day! I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve done one of my posts highlighting great blog content I’ve come across. At any rate, below are a few of those I’ve seen and bookmarked that I think deserve some mentioning:

  • 7 Facts About On-Site Behavioral Targeting: If you recall, behavioral targeting and retargeting was a hot topic at SES San Jose. Jonathan Mendez’s post talks about important aspects of behavioral targeting.
  • One Year Anniversary: Maintaining one year of consistent, high-quality blogging is a true accomplishment. Way to go, Valeria!
  • 1,538 Visitors In My First 15 Days and Why I Use the WordPress Default Permalinks: I wanted to highlight a couple posts by Pat B. Doyle – a blog I’ve recently started reading. She has a very straightforward, engaging writing style that is packed with content. I even signed up for her newsletter! She’s producing alot of great content related to driving traffic to your blog.
  • Are Paid Links Evil?: I can’t believe I didn’t highlight Tamar Weinberg (of Search Engine Roundtable and Techipedia) in my recap of bloggers I met at SES San Jose. I did it too fast and left a couple people off! I’ve been reading Tamar’s posts for some time now and always take away some great SEO information. Her recap of the big “Are Paid Links Evil?” debate at SES was fantastic. If you’re a small business owner looking at buying or publishing paid links for your website – tune in to this discussion.
  • The M20: September 2007: Peter Kim is continuing his great work on his top client-side marketing bloggers list. He’s moved the list to its own domain and has added additional descriptors such as company and nationality. Currently, the Lonely Marketer holds the 8th spot!

Well, that should keep you reading this Labor Day. But, I certainly hope you’re enjoying a day off from work! Enjoy the holiday!