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Unbounce CTA conference – September 2014

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Unbounce put together their first kick-ass Call-to-Action (CTA) conference (cussing really got the point across in a ‘no-bullshit’ kinda’ way) in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was in Vancouver that we learned how to create a successful landing page and post-click experience for our clients.


 Behold 25 Tweet Takeaways ~


Google Launches New Pigeon Update

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Google recently pushed out a new algorithm update for local search, which Search Engine Land dubbed the “Pigeon” update.

Why “Pigeon”?

Depending on how your site has been affected and your recent SEO efforts (or lack thereof), some might argue it’s the proverbial kaka that you may have to deal with in the local search results.

But more likely, it’s based on the heart of Google’s search technology, PigeonRank™, a system for ranking web pages developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. PigeonRank’s success relies primarily on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon used for thousands of years to carry brief written messages.

But, I digress.

Google confirmed that the update started to roll out on July 24th for US English results. The aim of the update is to provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results, with enhanced distance and location ranking parameters. Google also said there were relevancy improvements to distance and location ranking. And unlike Penguin and Panda updates, this is not a penalty-based update, but a core change to the local search ranking algorithm.

  • Local listing packs disappear for a large number of keywords
  • Local rankings are expected to depend more on website authority
  • Local carousel stays as a way to gain extra exposure

Google Pigeon UpdateSEO expert, Mike Blumenthal, noted that 7-local listing packs have disappeared, many real estate related searches have dropped out, while SEO and web design local packs are back after being dropped in 2009.

Search Engine Land reported that the Pigeon update solved Google’s “Yelp problem”:

It looks like Yelp and other local directory-style sites are benefiting with higher visibility after the Pigeon update, at least in some verticals. And that seems logical since, as Google said, this update ties local results more closely to standard web ranking signals. That should benefit big directory sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor — sites that have stronger SEO signals than small, individual restaurants and hotels are likely to have.

In a sense, this update has reduced organic duplicate results, and while the overarching impact is still unclear, there’s speculation that Google is attempting to better align desktop and mobile results.

The assumption of local intent has now been dialed back in a number of cases, so local companies that were experiencing good local pack rankings – despite having a poor SEO website presence – will likely have to step up their game.


1.    Create a Google+ Local page for your local business so that you’re included in Google’s local index.
2.    Use a local area code on your Google+ Local page. It should match the area codes traditionally associated with your city.
3.    Make sure the website URL, name, address and phone number of your business match your Google Places/Google+ Local page. Google cross references this to verify everything matches.
4.    City or state should be included in your website’s title tags.

One could speculate that Google *might* be doing what another web powerhouse did recently, working out to their financial benefit. Facebook just experience its biggest financial quarter to date. Did Google just pull a “Facebook”?

Time will tell, but let’s hope not.

Someone once said (attributed to Scott Adams but most likely originated elsewhere), “Accept that some days you’re the pigeon and some days the statue.”  Keep up with your site’s SEO, local search and updates to make sure you don’t get – you guessed it – pigeon-holed.

Don Draper Marketing: Mad Men, Then And Now

Monday, July 7th, 2014

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.” ~ Don Draperthumb---don-draper

We all know Don had his issues, but marketing and branding a company certainly wasn’t one of them. While the advertising and marketing landscape has changed drastically since the Madison Avenue days, Don had some pearls of wisdom about branding, promoting, marketing and sometimes (NOT all the time), even humanity.  Viral posts didn’t exist during the real Man Men days, but these marketing cliché’s are still relevant in the inbound age.

But first, let’s go back to his musings on advertising and happiness.

Sure, billboards still exist. And occasionally those ‘Next Exit Gas/Bathrooms’ signs do capture my attention after two bottled waters. But we all know great marketing includes gathering data, testing and optimizing. And it’s a helluva lot easier and cost effective to edit a landing page or Facebook ad than it is to create a new billboard.

While there have been somewhat recent studies suggesting that billboard advertising is still effective, this is dependent on several factors and “studies” are just that, studies. These are usually smaller investigations or analyses of a subject or product. Digital marketing is inbound marketing, which allows those looking for what you’re selling, to find you.  With Google Analytics and numerous social media software insights, we can capture ALL the data.  After analyzing this data, we can find out what’s working and what’s falling short, tweak the campaign and come through with higher conversions/sales.

But what the anti-hero’s point was that when done well, marketing and advertising gently suggests what to buy, making you feel – on some level – happy. The advertising business is about people and shared values, now more than ever.  Smart businesses today find a way to connect with that passion and that happiness.

The brooding character also said, “Even though success is a reality, its effects are temporary.”infographic---don-draper-200px

While this is slightly antagonistic, there’s truth in the statement given the increasing competitive landscapes. The focus has to be on tomorrow. With this way of thinking, it urges those marketers to continue to research, observe, strive, measure, test and optimize – ensuring more success, longer.  Your competitors are constantly thinking of new promotions and trying to capture your audience. It’s vital to stay on your toes, constantly learn and engage your audience with interesting, educational and valuable information.

“You are the product. You feeling something. That’s what sells. Not them. Not sex. They can’t do what we do, and the hate us for it.”

Consumers are making purchases based on how the product makes them feel about their identity. Sell more than just a product.  And to do that, it takes a village.  Advertising, web design and digital marketing agencies are no different.  Even creative genius, Don, didn’t act alone. He often relied on his advertising protégée, Peggy.

Together, we are creative. We create ideas, promotions and reasons that your product is different. We find ways to have potential customers view your service as if they didn’t know how they lived without it. Our programmers are constantly navigating the changing technical landscape and absorbing the latest updates, ensuring your online presence will pop and entice savvy consumers.  And don’t hate us because our designers rock. It’s what they were born to do.

“Change is neither good or bad, it simply is.”

If Don only knew how irrefutable this statement was. Well, in a way he did…because the writers did.

Change is the only constant in the digital marketing and advertising world. Within marketing, lies branding and good branding must appeal to human nature. Marketers use stories and images to evoke emotion and build relationships, while aligning with the brand.

It’s human nature to want to connect. And everyone loves variety and adventure, to some scale. Consumers are using a slew of social channels today not only to connect, but to grow and to contribute. We want to feel like we’re making a difference. Today’s competitive landscape requires that digital marketers stay ahead of the curve and often, designing the curve itself. We’re all publishers to some degree and this helps incite change. It just is.

“What you call love was invented by guys like me…to sell nylons.”

Don’s just a ray of sunshine, isn’t he? But seriously, let’s think about how the ability to construct objects of desire affects business. The wide-ranging power of effective branding campaigns can propel a business by making it recognizable and trustworthy. A brand carries meaning and associations, like love or family. Remember the ‘A diamond is forever’ campaign?  Of course you do.

Today, marketing is more truth telling and educating than convincing.  And with more information in the hands of the public, the more enlightened consumers will be.  Don and the crew at Sterling Cooper told consumers what to buy. Today, consumers want to know why they should buy it.

Unlike Don, consumers aren’t jumping into bed with the first shiny product or sexy commercial they see. Content and engagement is the ‘getting to know you’ phase. And consumers are getting to know brands and products through Google and social media. They are getting in committed relationships with brands.  Be the educator and project an image of transparency and humanity.

“Nostalgia: It’s delicate but potent.”

Ever cried at a commercial or an image on Facebook? Come on, I know you have. The theme song to ‘Cheers’ used to get me every time. Emotion is an important component in moving people to become advocates of your brand.  Use powerful storytelling and case studies to foster emotions. Add nostalgic posts and remind your audience of things that care about and love. Social media is visual, so use quality and eye catching imagery whenever possible.

“If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.”

Today’s marketers can create a dialogue by utilizing digital and social media channels. Smart digital marketers listen and respond to negative press. Blogging and bloggers are a huge part of the web conversation; they are thought leaders. Understand your audience and their issues. Facilitate the creation of genuine content that they will find valuable. Don’t just contribute to the noise.

While work-day binge drinking may be out, it’s not only okay to bring a little marketing “madness” to your business, it’s crucial in standing out above the rest.

Social Media Day – June 30th!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Mark your calendar. This year marks the fifth annual Social Media Day, created by Mashable!socialmediaday.logo.blue

On June 30th, #SMDay, thousands of people organize hundreds of meetups across the globe. From Austria to England, and Argentina to Peru, social media enthusiasts gather every June to participate in this global movement.

Mashable launched the event in 2010 as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening constantly, all around us.

What can you do?Digital curate create

Embrace the 4 C’s of digital:

  • Creating

  • Curating

  • Connecting

  • Culture

Engage in the conversation with the official hashtag: #SMDay

Here are some recent social media statistics:

  1. According to Erik Qualman, author of “Socialnomics”, in 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 will no longer be here.
  2. Facebook has 1.28 Billion monthly active users
  3. 75% of the engagement on a Facebook post happens in the first 5 hours.
  4. Weekends are the most popular time to share Vines.
  5. 40% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile.
  6. B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads.
  7. Twitter has 255 million monthly active users
  8. Google+ has 540 million monthly active users
  9. Instagram has 200 million monthly active users
  10. 20 Billion+ photos have been shared on Instagram to date
  11. Pinterest has 40 million monthly active users; 80% are female

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The choice is how well we do it. – Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics

Facebook fun fact

Kate Spates steps away; Nicole Middleton named new director business development at Graphtek Interactive

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Kate Spates has resigned her position as president of Graphtek effective June 20, 2014 to focus on family and philanthropic activities, announced CEO Mike Cheley.  Spates’ role in the company since Image Marketing Concepts merged with Graphtek in November 2011 focused on business development. She will remain a trusted advisor and continue to be an active supporter of the firm’s efforts. Nicole Middleton, account manager, has been named director of new business.

“One of the motivating factors for the merger was ultimately to allow Kate to gradually phase out of the day-to-day activities of the business.” said Cheley.  “With the school year ending and Kate’s increased involvement in Children’s Discovery Museum, College of the Desert Foundation and the Warburton Golf Tournament, now just seemed like the right time.”

Spates noted, “I found a great partnership with Mike Cheley and his team at Graphtek Interactive. We merged the companies because it was such a natural fit. IMC’s strength in customer service and business development and Graphtek’s powerhouse technology and creative teams combined to create one of the region’s leading and largest web development companies. My three-year commitment has come to an end and I am pleased to have been part of merging these two companies together.  I’ll always care about Graphtek and will continue to root for the success of the company and its clients.”

When asked about her future plans Spates replied, “I plan to spend time with my girls. They’re at an age where ‘mom time’ is important and I want to be there for them. I’ll continue to work with the charities I have grown close to and may do a little consulting, but I am at a point where family is going to be my top priority.”

Middleton joined Graphtek in 2013 after working with Lamar Advertising for six years. A University of Tennessee-Knoxville graduate, she holds a degree in business administration. Middleton is known for nurturing long-term relationships with clients and using emerging technologies to market businesses to varied audiences. She is a board member of the Indio Chamber of Commerce and is active in Leadership Coachella Valley, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior League and the American Advertising Federation – Palm Springs, Desert Cities chapter.

“It’s an exciting time at Graphtek,” Middleton said. “We’re in an expansion mode, hiring more account managers and production coordinators. I look forward to working with Mike to help grow the business.”

Established in 1998, Graphtek Interactive is a Palm Desert based web development and digital marketing firm providing local, regional and national clients with design, development and marketing services.
Graphtek employees

Pictured (left to right; standing to kneeling): Ed Lowell, Howard Johnson, Erin Peters, Nicole Middleton, Kate Spates, Mike Cheley, Jamie Steinberg, Jay Sant, Michelle Levine, Alan Schmidt, Sarita Serup, Tammy Garcia, Cole Slankard, Paul Hasas

Drive More Traffic – AND REVENUE – with Social Media

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Last week, I had a friend who posted some amazing underwater shots and images taken from his surfing expedition in Costa Rica. It spurred a string of admirable comments asking how he took the pictures and what equipment he used.

“Amazing shot, dude! Who took that?!”Social Media Business

After all, he’s no professional photographer.  My surf buddy then linked to the GoPro Hero3+ and explained some of its awesome features, like the waterproof case and the ability to take pictures up to 30 frames per second.

I shared his pictures with my friends. And from there, one of my friends shared my post and linked to the mighty camera’s webpage with the comment: “Want.”

Not only did this spark a positive discussion for the product, two purchases were made within the next week from friends who saw the post and decided to do the research.  These two friends didn’t know my surf buddy, but were connected twice removed, in a six degrees of Kevin Bacon sort of way.

This is the power of social media.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get these people to want to share your brand?

This Kevin Bacon social power is undeniable and far reaching.  Facebook is one of the most popular with 1.19 billion monthly active users as of September 2013. Potential customers are monitoring mentions and conversations of your brand. And they are doing more of the work of generating traffic than ever before.

“It’s an unpredictable social game—stories I think people will share languish, and stories I wouldn’t personally share flourish. In fact, some of HyperVocal’s most shared stories didn’t even start on our own Facebook page, they just started bouncing around Facebook without our push.” Slade Sohmer, editor-in-chief, HyperVocal

According to the 2013 State of Digital Marketing report Webmarketing123, more marketers at both B2C and B2B companies report they are not only generating awareness and leads from social media campaigns, but that those leads are converting into customers.Why does social media matter for business?

However, there’s been some concern over the latest Facebook algorithm update in regards to how much of our message is actually getting seen.  In an effort to combat ‘spammy’ posts, Facebook made the News Feed alteration. Also meant to avoid duplicate content and to match members’ actions and preferences, this update reinforces the need for high quality and original content.

Facebook updated the algorithm to surface more “high quality” content from news organizations. Facebook is a constantly shifting target, the only thing constant about Facebook is change.

Today’s Facebook is more book, than face.

I’m not going to stop writing it. Focus on content and support with images!

Their change is in response to user feedback in hopes to minimize the “spammy” company content. “Like-baiting” is one such spammy method that was found as being 15% less relevant that stories that achieve the same type of engagement organically.

Many complained that we missed seeing our friends’ posts and that they were getting buried by random company advertisements.

“Like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive.

From Facebook:

The improvement we are making today better detects these stories and helps ensure that they are not shown more prominently in News Feed than more relevant stories from friends and other Pages. This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares.

Facebook is also measuring “spammy links”, those links that may try to trick people into clicking through to a website with only ads or content/images that are continuously sent. Much like Google wants to give you the best possible website (content), Facebook is aiming to deliver quality content/images and more of what people want to see on the social network.

This isn’t necessarily all bad news. And what’s better? There is now a strong “Reddit” effect on Facebook regarding organic sharing on personal pages. If your content is good, the rest will take care of itself.

What can you do to increase your social currency?

1.  Showcase your product doing something out-of-the-ordinary, unexpected, or extreme.

By finding your product’s inner remarkability and by making people appear to be insiders, you may be able to use social to your advantage and generate what every company loves – buzz.

Snapple, the soft drink company, rolled out with an ingenious marketing strategy of inserting remarkable facts under their bottle caps. The facts are so unbelievable that the first thing many people do is share them with a friend.

2.    I’ll say it again: deliver quality content (and imagery!).

If we’re doing our job to deliver compelling content, we shouldn’t have to beg people to share content.” Micah Grimes, social media editor, ABC News

Impressions are earned through social media when search engines recognize the content is shared and highly relevant to a keyword.

People love to share their opinions with others. It’s the reason social networks have exploded these past few years. The more you post quality content, engage and share on social media, the better your search results will be.

And it can help you build a larger, more loyal customer base.

Work it. Own it.

You don’t have to be Kevin Bacon to get your story out or find new customers.

People are talking about your products whether you realize it or not.  Don’t just be part of the conversation.  Own a part of the conversation and develop brand advocates.

How Infographics Can Increase Branding & Traffic

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

While there is no denying that words are an exceedingly powerful tool in creating a brand or driving relevant traffic to your site, they are but a piece in the overall marketing equation. Why does your brain crave infographics? As humans, we are very visual creatures. And in today’s society of online A.D.D., marketers need to be clever and savvy in how they grab the attention of potential customers. thumb---infographic

While the digital form of infographics is relatively recent, explaining an idea in image form is nothing new. Infographics are the smart new digital way of communicating ideas, data and knowledge.

Did you know the world’s information is currently doubling every two years? It’s no wonder people experience information overload.

The use of visualized information has increased drastically.

  • 9900% on the internet (since 2007)
  • 142% in newspapers (between 1985 & 1994)

From 2010 to 2012, infographic search volumes have increased over 800%.

In 2013, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Gareth Cook, was brought in to edit the first volume of The Best American Infographics.

So, why do infographics work?

  1. We live in the information age: In one day, we create 1.5 billion pieces of content, 140 million tweets and 2 million videos. But we have less and less time and attention spans to read and take in as much content as we want. Most people decide to stay or leave a site in just 2-4 seconds. With infographics, it’s much more likely your content will be remembered.
  2. We are Visual: An infographic collects data, organizes it, and turns this information into an easy to understand visual. A well-researched and designed infographic empowers readers by breaking down complex ideas into visual groupings. Stunning images or well-designed charts simply make a bigger impression.
  3. Demonstrate & Convince: Want to learn how to do the Moon Walk? You could read about it, but it would be a lot easier to view an infographic with step-by-step pictures. An infographic also can easily tell a story, behind the statistics of just about anything you can think of. They make it easy to understand even complex concepts.
  4. Brand Awareness: Infographics have company logos embedded for instant brand awareness. And built on the same principles of content marketing components, it should tell a good brand story.
  5. Earn Links: Because of the visual appeal, infographics are easily shareable on all social profiles. They allow sites in niche industries with minimal natural linkage to earn links from other markets. Infographics can provide global coverage, at a much smaller cost, than print media ever could.
  6. Become an Authority: The research required for an infographic will help you become the expert in the topic or industry.
  7. Measurable Results: Infographics are meant to go viral. Good infographics equal enhanced search visibility and increased SEO. Infographics offer quick measurable results from social shares, backlinks and traffic.infographic---infographic-200px

Some fantastic examples:

  • 50 Years of Space Exploration: Massive infographic that displays the last 50 years of space exploration. Designed by Sean McNaughton and Samuel Velasco for National Geographic.
  • Grand Mosque: This is an infographic press release from the Gulf News (Dubai)

Information has to be digestible for it to go viral. Generate a unique connection with visitors with creatively designed, animated and educational infographics. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Eye Popping Landing Pages

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Why do you update your website, create quality content, post in social channels and optimize your pages?  You not only want visitors to your website, but ultimately an increase in sales and profits, right? Once they arrive on your page after your carefully crafted search optimization, you want a landing page that converts.landing page thumbnail

Landing pages are a concise and customized web page specifically designed to capture a visitor’s information through a lead-capture form. Landing pages allow you to target your audience, offer them something of value and convert a higher percentage of visitors into leads. Oh, and all the while, capturing their information.

Key Components of an Effective Landing Page:

1.    Headline: You only get one chance to make a great first impression. A great landing page headline sums up the offer and grabs the visitor’s attention. It’s crucial that it clearly demonstrates what a visitor will get from the page. Supporting headline: Your main headline should be short and succinct. So, your supporting headline give you the opportunity to extend and support the main headline.
2.    Copy & White Space: Bullet points can be used to demonstrate clear takeaways and benefits and are easier to digest. This should also include a reinforcement statement and keywords that you think your potential customers are searching for. What is your unique selling proposition?  Also include social proof, like customer testimonials, statistics of your product or service or awards from reputable organizations.
3.    Hidden Site Navigation: Choices should be minimal on landing pages. Attention should be focused on one offer.
4.    Image: A picture is worth a thousand words. Use this help visitors gain a better understanding of what you are offering and/or selling. Also called the “hero shot”, the use of images or a video will make the page more visually appealing.  Specifically, using an image with a person makes your business more relatable and personable.
5.    Lead-Capture/Conversion Form: Also called a Call-To-Action (CTA), this encourages people to try or purchase your product. Make the CTA bold and easy to find, and make sure it’s above the fold.
6.    Social Sharing Icons: You want more leads, don’t you?  Make it easy for your visitors to share the offer with their friends and community.

Some other tips?

–    Color matters – Most B2B companies find success with blues, whites and grays. Not convinced? Test!Landing Pages Infographic

–    Eye direction matters – Did you know there’s a natural pattern to the path most users’ eyes follow on a page? Eye tracking provides loads of great data about how people engage with your landing page. According to EyeTools.com, an individual eye path, called a heat map, looks like little more than a totally random smattering of points, or hot spots, scattered over the page. If a heat map demonstrates that readers’ eyes are focusing on unimportant areas of a page, it’s time to alter the design.

The biggest reason your business should consider a landing page is that it can increase your conversion rate.

Online advertising that uses landing pages typically sees a conversion rate improvement of at least 25%. Testing can double this number. Source: Omniture

What is a landing pages purpose? In 2006, Seth listed 5 overarching reasons why landing pages exist. These reasons still hold true:

1.    Get a visitor to purchase your product or service
2.    Get a visitor to refer or tell a friend
3.    Get a visitor to click to go to another page
4.    Get a visitor to give contact information & permission for you to follow up
5.    Get a visitor to comment or give feedback

Below are 5 benefits from utilizing landing pages:

1.    They are simple to create: If you have a website built, then you likely already have all the key elements you need to build out a 1 page landing page. You may need a new graphic and some slightly different copy, but the skeleton is already there.
2.    Capturing user information: By optimizing landing pages to fill out a form, you can analyze the data and have a baseline of information about that lead before reaching out.
3.    Tailor to the promotion: Direct visitors to a page that highlights exactly how the product or service will help them.
4.    More conversion opportunities: A conversion happens when a visitor comes to your website and decides to buy a product. The more landing pages you have on your site, the more opportunity you have to convert visitors in to leads. And of course, the SEO benefit can’t be ignored as the landing pages also get indexed in search.
5.    A/B Testing: Creating multiple landing pages and tracking the performance can increase goal completions and conversions. Try different copy, pictures or placements of arrows (or no arrows), different color buttons and CTA placement on the page.

Not all visitors are the same, except that every visitor coming to your landing page has a problem that needs solving or is in need of information. What is your premise and emotional hook?  Make sure you are maintaining ad message momentum. It’s easier for your visitors to find the offer they are looking for on a landing page, with one offer, than on a cluttered website home page.

Where are you sending your traffic?

“Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and everyone with a website is a direct marketer.” ~Seth Godin

Hashtags: Keeping Up with the Conversation

Friday, February 21st, 2014

In 1988 hashtags were firstly used on a platform named Internet Relay Chat. It was one of the first protocols on the Internet that was used to send messages in real time. For most, it was an afterthought on our telephone keypads and then a way to ensure your voicemail was delivered. Now, the pound sign is a typographical symbol with lofty ambitions.thumb---hashtag

Six years ago, Twitter’s users invented what’s now known as the hashtag and has found its way into commercials, football games and even spoken language. In 2007, developer Chris Messina proposed, in a tweet, that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol.  The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link.

So, why are hashtags now a big part of our society?

The role of business in society is all encompassing and social media has forever changed the way we communicate.  Hashtags are the little links that brings it all together.

The social scene is massive and often overwhelming. The hashtag adds clarity and direction and allows for wordplay, humor and sometimes, even poetry. Their flexible and versatile and it improves the chance that other Twitter users will find your tweet in targeted Twitter searches.

Those who can adapt to society around them tend to be the ones who evolve and create new ideas. Will hashtags soon become an official piece of #punctuation in formal writing?

We’re taught at an early age, with cognitive development, in preschool and beyond, that social interaction is crucial. Social networks and hashtags particularly, create influence and an opportunity to learn and find information. #RealTimeLearning.infographic---hashtag-200px

The hashtag gives the writer the opportunity to sarcastically undermine their own tweet. Can I answer my own questions with hashtags? #Yes. Be thoughtful and choose relevant hashtags.

Here are a couple of examples:

Shoulder pads make me look awesome. #kidding

Need to go to #NYC for a wedding. Advice on #CheapTravel?

So why should your business care about hashtags?

Hashtags imply categorization, classification and commentary. Deliver metaphors in just a word or two.

Hashtags like #SMB or #smallbiz are great to seek information, resources and current news of the small business variety. The #marketing and #sales hashtag contains a lot of business-related content. Use a branded hashtag if you have a very specific message to convey.

Curious which hashtags are trending across social media? Hashtags.org tells you which tags are hot in real time. Third parties like Webstagram provide helpful breakdowns of the trendiest hashtags.

Language has evolved before and will inevitably evolve again.  Will your business keep up with the conversation?

Blogging for Business

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” thumb---blogging

In today’s online world, blogging allows you to engage your target audience, attract new customers & establish credibility.

With the release of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, frequent, fresh, high-quality content is critical for increasing your website’s ranking.

Blogging is one of the easiest ways to improve your organic search performance because every time you write a new post, you create a new URL for your site.  Every new URL is a brand new opportunity for your website to be ranked in search. Building rich content means more traffic. And fresh content is still a key to beating out your competitors in the search engine results page. Search engines are looking for active websites on a particular searched term or topic.

Make sure you create UNIQUE content.

Search engines will penalize you for duplicate content, which is content also found on other sites.  In your blog posts, it’s important to use keywords that you want to rank for.


Blogging allows you to build your brand as an expert. Display your talent and knowledge in articles that demonstrate why someone should hire you or purchase your product. Build trust with consistent, honest and helpful content. Blogs provide another source to deepen the connection with your customer. Customers want to feel they have a personal connection with your company. Today’s marketer helps customers solve a problem or find a great solution.

What’s a cool side effect of blogging? The process encourages you to stop and think deeper.

Create content that’s creative and interesting. Ask yourself, would you want to read it and share it with your network?

Search engine algorithms can detect if a blog provides a good user experience. Utilize tagging features and make sure the author, title and publish date are easily identifiable.  With the increasing number of people accessing information on mobile phones, it’s important that your blog is viewable on mobile devises.  Make it responsive!  If your blog isn’t responsive to mobile and tablet devices, readers are more likely to find similar information on another site. Include social sharing icons so that search engines and potential readers or customers can recognize which articles are popular.

  • Make it unique
  • Make it optimized
  • Make it responsive
  • Make it social
  • Make it creative

From Fortune 500 companies to smaller shops, millions are utilizing blogging because it provides endless opportunities for your website to rank in search.

Blogging helps you stand out among your competitors. Just ask Google.