Google Instant - Don't Bury the Lead!

February 11th, 2011
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Google-Instant_screen-shot by KarlKasca, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  KarlKasca -
Title: Google-Instant_screen-shot

What's Google Instant?

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"Google Instant" (launched in September 2010) "instantly" shows web search results as you type.  According to Google this should save web searchers 2-5 seconds per search (Google Instant Press Site FAQ).

- Note: You need to hit your enter key or the Google Search button to actually go to the results page (but you can see the results as you type).

  • UPDATE: Recently I've found Google Instant to sometimes be anything but instant, at least in Internet Explorer (IE).  And yes, I cleaned my browser cache and defragmented my hard drive, so those shouldn't be issues. Even after this, searches in Google Instant in IE can be slow and using the back button can be slow as well. You might this this is an internet connection issue, but if I go to another brower it's fine. Maybe this is something that will be fixed in IE 9.
  • But if you find Google Instant to be slow occasionally, then there's an easy way to turn off Google Instant and Autocomplete (formerly called Google Suggest):
  • Solution: See "How do I Turn Off Autocomplete as well as Google Instant?" near the bottom of this post for the humorously named "Elmer Fudd" solution to this annoying problem. And "no worries" about trying this as you can always change your preferences back at any time.

Note: The rest of this post is from a newsletter tip I wrote right after the release of Google Instant titled: Google Instant -> Don't Bury the Lead!

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What's "Autocomplete?"

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Google Suggest was renamed "Autocomplete" and uses "predictive text" to show you possible searches as you type. For instance if you type in "city of" (without the quotes) I see "city of los angeles", "city of hope", etc. below the search box.

"City of los angeles" is shown in the search box and "los angeles" is grayed out. Autocomplete shows results based on what people are searching on, pretty much "real time".

  • Tip: Use Autocomplete for researching current trends or "real time" market research.
    • Type in "true" and you'll see hits for "true grit", "true blood", etc. today because they're hot topics. Tomorrow? - Who knows.

Is Google Instant regional?

  • The definitive answer: "Maybe". The reason I say this is that while I was typing in the "city of" search query above I didn't see any text or results for "city of pasadena" (where I happen to be at the time - see the image above).
  • According to the Marketing Over Coffee (MOC) podcast, the answer is "No": If you type in "university of", you could see results which aren't in your local geographic area at all. In my case I saw a lot of University of Phoenix results (with a local Pasadena branch), other local universities and Arizona. And UCLA and USC were nowhere to be seen - yikes!
  • Bottom line: It may be a mix of hot topics, local search results, keyword optimization, and paid search.
  • Tip: Go Local by listing your business and website in Google Places
  • Also be sure to list your branch offices according to Marketing Over Coffee.
  • According to MOC, about 25% of search is local (so this is big!)

~~~

  • Top 2 to 3 results: You're "dead meat" if your search results aren't in the top few results.
    • Reason: People won't scroll down to view results which are further down the results page.
    • Depending on people's screen resolutions, they may just see the Autocompletes, some ads, and several search results on their screen.
    • Tip: Use search engine optimization (SEO) to attempt to have your site's result appear near the top.
    • Strategy: Use great keywords/phrases in your article titles (not to mention the title of your website).
    • Mega-Tip: Don't "bury the lead" - Try to have the best keywords/phrases at the start of your titles (or lead paragraphs) rather than at the end.
    • E.g., "Best Job Seeking Tips from Northern Light search", rather than: "Northern Light search yields Best Job Seeking Tips."
    • Reason: Since every letter (and word) a searcher types into the Google search box influences the search results try to have the most typed (popular) words first which are the most representative of the content (in your article or on your web page).
    • Note: The impact of Google Instant on SEO is being hotly debated on the web right now and these are just our best ideas at this point.
    • Many blogs are suggesting and contesting whether "long tail" searches (long searches with many keywords) are dead.
  • Who will win the battle for the letter "k": Kohls or Kmart?
    • If you just type in the letter "k" Kohls appears to be winning the retail store wars right now.
    • While Amazon is winning the letter "a" (followed by AOL, Apple, and AT&T).
    • Should you try to bid on Google Adwords for partial search terms, like "Boston flo" (for "Boston flowers")?
    • "No" right now, according to Marketing Over Coffee, but this is being hotly debated on the web.
  • 3-Second Rule:Apparently Google Instant search results appearing for less than 3-seconds don't count as "impressions" from a paid search standpoint.
    • Meaning: If you use Google Adwords for advertising on the web you shouldn't be charged for views of your results unless they're seen 3-seconds or more and/or someone clicks on your ad.
      • Note: Don't hold us (or Marketing Over Coffee) responsible if this isn't the case and you're charged anyway!
  • Google Instant only works in the main search box on Google's home page: Not in:
    • The Google Toolbar, internal site searches on websites, slow connection or low bandwidth situations, mobile phones (at least right now).

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Why did Google launch Google Instant?

According to Search Engine Land it was to counter Bing's Decision Engine with little or no publicity expense.

  • Tip: Consider launching simple and low-cost PR campaigns after the dust clears from your competitor's mega-campaigns.

~~~

Karl's Bottom Line on Google Instant:

I'm using the Google Toolbar which doesn't use the Google Instant features mentioned above.

Reason: Many people may find Google Instant useful, but even as a power searcher I find the dynamically changing search results to be a distraction (even though the Google Instant About FAQ says this should not be the case).

  • Tip: Consider using the Google Toolbar (which has lots of strong search features anyway), or turn off Google Instant, or use Bing or Yahoo search engines (which look like oases of serenity compared to Google Instant's constantly changing hyperactive results).

How do I Turn Off Google Instant?

The Official Google Instant (FAQ) answer: "people who do not want this new interface can turn it off by clicking the toggle to the right of the search box."

Note: But the official method doesn't always work or last, so here's the real solution:


Google_Elmer-Fudd-search-option by KarlKasca, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  KarlKasca -
Title: Google_Elmer-Fudd-search-option

How do I Turn Off Autocomplete as well as Google Instant? (the "Elmer Fudd" solution)

Credit goes to the post by "wwwallyh" (Level 13) on page 1 of Google Web Search Help Forum:
"How can I PERMANENTLY switch to Basic Version of Google Images Search?",
  • Basically at the Google.com web page you click on Settings > Search Settings and select "Elmer Fudd" in the Interface Language drop-down menu.
  • Then just reverse this process and choose your language of choice, e.g., English to return your Google searches to normal.
  • And if you don't see the "Settings" on your Google search page (as in the Chrome browser), then go to: http://www.google.com/preferences.

~~~

Hope this helps!

Take care and best success,

Karl Kasca

NOTE: This post on"Google Instant -> Don't Bury the Lead!" was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week which you can subscribe to by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
- Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.
See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for informative tutorials and videos on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...


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Increasing Website Traffic with Photos - 5 Tips

February 7th, 2011
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Awhile back I spoke to the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) about The Power of Social Media and I emphasized to them how powerful photos are in attracting potential clients or customers. Here's how you can leverage the power of images for your business.

There are various ways you can use pictures or photos to build traffic to your site or your business:
(and don't miss the coolest Tip #5 below!)

 

1) Use nice photos in your blog posts, website, or eNewsletters.

Link back to the original photo and give credit ("attribution") to the photographer and source of the photo.

Strategy: People like to pass around links to content with nice or interesting photos, so this is a way of virally increasing the reach of your business.
  • Flickr is a great place to find free photos for these uses. Just go to Flickr's Creative Commons (CC) page, select the use you need (e.g., commercial or non-commercial with attribution), and download the photo. And don't worry about what the types of attribution are because they're all defined and illustrated on the CC page.
  • Another great site to get no-fee Creative Commons photos isFlickrStorm. Just click on "Advanced", select the type of CC photos you'd like and then search.

2) Post Twitter tweets with a link to interesting or topical photos.

Strategy: Since people love photos, they'll click on your link to check out the picture. While at your photostream they may check out your Flickr profile (make sure you've filled yours out!).
  • Extra credit: I also used Bit.ly to shorten the photo link in my tweet so I could track the number of times it was clicked: http://bit.ly/90CwbK.
    • This way you have analytics and statistics about your photo link tweets so you can measure how successful they were.
  • Note: TweetPhoto (now Plixi) and TwitPic are helpful apps for sharing photos on Twitter, or you can use photos you've uploaded to Flickr.

3) Use images that help make points graphically in your PowerPoint presentations.

Then upload your presentations to Slideshare.net, Scribd,or Docstoc.

Strategy: Your presentations look better, you can include expert content to make points, and you give credit to the original author of the image.
Side benefit: You look like more of an expert as well - everyone wins!
  • Example: I used a slide by Laurel Papworth to make a point about Social Reputation in my The Power of Social Media presentation (see slide #14).
  • Note that Laurel titled her slide and included her copyright, web address, and the applicable Creative Commons (CC) license info.
  • This made it very easy to use in my slideshow and all I had to do was include the link to Laurel Papworth's Flickr photostream.
  • Note: I also like Slideshare because you can link your Slideshare presentations to your LinkedIn profile. There's even a Slideshare Facebook app (application).

4) Create your own slides (or graphics or images) which others can use in their slideshare presentations.

Just turn around #3) above and re-direct it to your images (slides) and photos. Make sure you've made it easy for people to give you credit, like Laurel Papworth did above.

Strategy: This makes you an expert, allows you (and your business) to be found, and increases your reach via others' presentations (to audiences and uploaded to Slideshare.net, etc.).

5) Coolest tip of all (courtesy of Christopher Penn of Marketing Over Coffee): iPad Wallpaper Campaign: Take your own photos and optimize them for iPad (or iPhone or Twitter) wallpaper.

Strategy: iPads are the coolest thing around right now and people will jump on photos to download for their iPad wallpaper.

--> Chris said that he had thousands and thousands of traffic-driving hits using this strategy!

Bonus Tip: How to attribute a Creative Commons photo from Flickr - The proper way to credit photos from Bobbi L. Newman, Librarian by Day.

Get the right code for Flickr images so you can easily insert attributions in your blog posts and web pages:

Take care and best success in your career, business and Life,
.
Karl

NOTE: This post on "Increasing Website Traffic with Photos" was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week which you can subscribe to by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
- Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.

See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

 
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Groupons - Why they're Powerful and some Business Considerations

January 14th, 2011
Groupon Sign Up by maryspecht, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  maryspecht - Title: groupon

Recently @AlbertMaruggi had a great Marketing Edge podcast and post on "2011 The Year of The Groupon".

Albert Maruggi interviewed Julie Mossler, a spokesperson with Groupon, about "the benefits to businesses that use the group buying, deep discounting, pay for performance service."  I highly recommend listening to this podcast and viewing the Groupon video there.

Here's my experience: Some time ago I walked to The Huntington Library in San Marino (near Pasadena in Southern California) and there was a table set-up in front for "Groupons". 

When I asked about it I was told that if I signed up before midnight that night I could receive an annual membership to The Huntington for $60, instead of the usual cost of $120. Hey I'm no math wizard, but that's 50% off!

That's a great deal, no matter how you slice it. The bad part is that this was a deal-of-the-day and it expired a long time ago (sorry!).Bob Knorpp's The Beancast also had a thought-provoking discussion about Groupons:

The Beancast said: "Anything that moves traffic in retail these days is a good thing. And group coupon services like Groupon have been the darling of the Internet."

What's a Groupon?

Basically Groupons are group discounts. Groupon calls this "collective buying power".

A Groupon is group coupon which only works if a minimum number of people "buy" the deal that day by midnight. If not enough people sign-up it's canceled. If enough people do sign-up then you print your Groupon and use it like cash for the particular deal it applies to. You can see more about how this works in Groupon's FAQ.

Once you're aware of Groupons you'll probably notice them on web pages all over the internet.

And this is great, but The Beancast pointed out a few of things you should keep in mind in you're considering using Groupons for your business:

  1. It's great that there's a minimum, so your business is assured of at least a certain number of people partaking of a particular offer. But on the other hand, what if the whole world showed up? Would you or your staff be able to handle the increased amount of traffic?
  2. One person on the podcast said it's possible that a business might have to turn into a virtual call center the day of the deal. So again, would your business be staffed for this?
  3. Would your business be able to provide the number of items or services promised in the deal? If not, then this might result in bad customer service ratings or relations for your business.
  4. Is the Groupon-type business model sustainable? In other words, just because you increased your internet and real business traffic for one day, or one deal, would this translate into increased customers or purchases long-term?


These are all great questions and you should check out The Beancast podcast for the full discussion. But in a nutshell, you should be aware of the possible pluses and minuses of Groupons before your business tries them.

Have you used Groupons as a consumer or a business?  Did you have good or bad experiences? If so, let me know...

And since I was talking about libraries at the top of this tip, you may also be interested in my tip on "Why Links to eBooks can help your Online Marketing" and how to find no-fee eBooks you can read on your iPad, Kindle, iPhone, Blackberry, Smart phone, etc.

Hope this helps increase your business (and website)!

Take care and best success in your business, career, and Life,

Karl Kasca

NOTE: This post "How Groupons can Energize your Business - online and offline" was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week which you can subscribe to by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
- Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.

See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

Photo Credit: maryspecht

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How to Have your Business be Found and Taken Mobile with Google Places

January 14th, 2011

I was thinking about a great tip my business partner, Rick Henkin, wrote about "How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly".  But beyond that it would be great to have your business be found (literally) and taken mobile using Google Places.

Awhile back Google relaunched its business-listing feature related to Google Maps and renamed it Google Places (formerly called Google Local).  It's advantageous to list your business with Google so it can be found more easily in Google searches as well as in Google Maps.

Google Places by abraham.williams, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  abraham.williams Title: Google Places

How to do this:

  • First sign into your Google account (if you already have Gmail or Google Docs, etc. then you should already have an account).

  • Then go to Google Places and "claim" your business listing by adding your business location and information.

  • After this Google will verify your business listing by mail or phone.


By the way, don't worry if you have a home business or an address you don't want specifically located on Google Maps. Once you've set-up your listing, you can hide the actual street address.

Google only allows one business per address, but you can list multiple locations for your business.

Very important: See the Google Places Quality guidelines to assure that your business listing is verified easily. For instance, don't use a URL or phone number in your business name. Also be sure to check back at Google Places in a few days to see if your account has been verified. If not, you may need to fix your listing and re-submit it for verification.

How to take your Business Mobile

Once your business is listed in Google Places you can create free Coupons which your customers can print-out and bring to your store, or can be viewed on their mobile phones and shown to people at your store for discounts, etc.  Of course people will also be able to search for and find your business from their mobile devices or from home.Not only this, but you can even see what people are searching on to find your business, so you can make strategic business decisions based on what you find out in your Google Places Dashboard.

For more information see the short Google Places video.

There's also a new paid feature called Google Tags so you can promote your business listing in Google Places/Maps by highlighting it with a yellow marker. Note: These tags do not affect your search engine ranking in Google's search engine results.

Google Tags: promote your business on Google search and Maps
New! For a limited time, you can activate tags for free, and cancel anytime. Learn more or call 877-613-4501 to speak with a sales representative.

And now you can:

Advertise your business on Google and Google Maps with new Google Boost.

Google Boost is set up from within your free Google Places account. Google Places helps your business get found on Google Search and Maps.

Boost is currently available for select categories in select locations.

So what are you waiting for? - Go list your business right now (it's free)!

And for more information on local business listings for Yahoo and Bing see: Increasing Your Online Visibility- Facebook Vanity URLs & Bing, Google, and Yahoo Local Business Listings.

Hope this helps your business (and website) be found!

Take care and best success in your career, business, and Life,

Karl Kasca

NOTE: This post "How to Have your Business be Found and Taken Mobile with Google Places" was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week which you can subscribe to by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
- Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.

See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

Photo Credit: By abraham.williams

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Why Links to eBooks can help your Online Marketing

July 20th, 2010

Image of Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eBook Reader from goXunuReviews on Flickr.com

Let's face it, eBooks are hot!

Column #1 of the LA Times Business section (print version) had an article this morning titled:

"E-books reach the next chapter"
- "Amazon.com says it's selling 80% more downloaded books than hardcovers"

But the interesting thing is that I knew this last week:

At my weekly networking group's meeting (BizNet of Pasadena) one of the members, Phil Leddel (Long Term Care expert), happened to be speaking about great books he'd read during his life.

To make his point, he carried in hard copies of all of the books...except one.  The reason he didn't have a copy of the last book is that every time he buys one he gives it away, because he feels it's so important and helpful for people's lives.

The last book was: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Emil Frankl.

At the end of the meeting I mentioned that there are places online where you can find some of the greatest books ever written - for free.

- Not only that but there are places on the web where you can read significant portions of books you have to pay for.
- Not only that, but you can even search inside these books to find exactly what you're looking for.

Several people immediately said: "Karl, please send me the links to those sites."  So I did. I emailed them the links.

The Reason eBooks can help your Online Marketing

They're hot and as mentioned in the LA Times article above, people are buying them like crazy for their Kindles and iPads.

And if you think that this only applies to Kindles & iPads, you're wrong.

Here's a comment I got back from one BizNet member:

"Great!  I am always looking for another site to get books for my Sony Reader!  Thanks!"

So Sony Readers are out there too as well as a plethora of other devices*, not to mention the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and all of the Smart Phones out there.
* Here's just the Top Ten Reviews of eBook Readers.

How eBooks can help your Online Marketing

Here's the Strategy:

  • Based on your people's interests or fields, suggest either no-fee, low-fee, or free looks inside books of interest to them.
    • "Your people" are those who relate to your website, blog, business, or what you have to say to them (eNewsletter subscribers,
      blog readers, clients, etc.).
  • Find eBooks of interest and then tell your people about them, either with your eNewsletters, blogs, website, etc.

And if you really love books and sharing them with others you can do this on the GoodReads social media website as well!

Where do you find these no-fee eBooks?

There are plenty of places online claiming to have no-fee eBooks, but Project Gutenberg is the real deal.

- And of course you can always do a Google search for device-specific or other eBook websites as well.

No-fee eBooks by Project Gutenberg

http://www.gutenberg.org/
-"Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other..."

Most of the classics of humankind available here in plain text, html, etc. for no-fee.

Websites with no-fee previews (of some) books

Google Books
-Fee, but you get no-fee peeks into many books.  See below for more on this...

Amazon - No-fee eBooks

http://amzn.to/a1X8Hc

Examples of free previews:

Google Books Preview:
- "Man's search for meaning" by Viktor Emil Frankl
- Note: "Search in this book"

Amazon Preview:
- "Man's search for meaning" by Viktor Emil Frankl
-Note: "Search inside this book"

Hope this helps your online marketing (and maybe you'll find a great book too)!

Take care and best success in your career, business, and Life,

Karl Kasca

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week which you can subscribe to by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
- Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.

See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

Photo Credit: goXunuReviews .

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Why We're Attracted to Live Video

March 30th, 2010

Video is great and live video is greater. This would seem to be the consensus given the recent emergence and popularity of Chatroulette (chat roulette), the website where you can have a video chat with other people randomly onscreen.

Chatroulette (chat roulette) - "Live" video...as live as it gets on the Internet

The best way to illustrate Chatroulette is with the example of Chat Roulette Funny Piano Improv #1 by Merton.

First Merton posted his Chatroulette video showing a split frame with him playing the piano and composing lyrics on-the-fly about the other person being shown randomly in Chatroulette:

Merton's video (above) was wildly popular, but a number of people thought that Merton looked like musician Ben Folds. So Ben Folds created his own Chatroulette video: Chatroulette Piano Ode to Merton.m4v which was performed live before an audience at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 20th, 2010:

Live versus Scripted/Edited Video

There's a huge difference between live and scripted or edited videos. "Live" evokes that visceral feeling which comes from knowing that something is being seen or recorded as it happens (really happens) as opposed to something which is being read from (like a script or a teleprompter) or rehearsed or edited and produced.

Scripted Video - Example

Someone told us that our "The Solution Movie" (above) feels "corporate" to them, even though it's primarily aimed at small to mid-sized businesses with websites, blogs, or podcasts.  See what you think and let us know with a comment below...

Scripted Video with "Live" Feel - Example

Ripmedia Group's video (above) produced with Animoto has a much more "live" in-your-face feeling about it.

Edited/Produced Video - Example

The video above was a 3-camera professional video shoot with a "live" audience for the demo video of my "How to Know Anything at Anytime" speech. Courtesy of Susan Levin's Speaker Services.

Reasons Why We're Attracted to Live Video

  • Reality is well...real...and "live" by definition.
    In an age of rather passive online interactions (many via text), living via others' live videos becomes attractive to us.
  • We value the ability to improvise.
    Anyone can read a script or teleprompter (doing this well  is another matter), but "going live" without a safety net is a whole different level (again, doing this well is another matter).
  • Seeing other people face their fear...and overcoming it.
    People fear speaking in front of an audience more than they fear death.By the way, if you feel this way I can highly recommend Toastmasters.
  • Video-recording speeches or any live action is another level of fear.
  • Doing something live and having no record of it is less threatening than having it preserved forever with all of it's little mistakes which others can view...forever (yikes!).
  • We admire the ability to "let go".
    The moment just before you jump into the pool, or step off the platform to zip-line, or begin a speech, or press the record button of live video...these are the moment's when we're the most "alive". By watching live video, we share and vicariously connect-with that aliveness being lived and shared by others.Image of Karl Kasca zip lining in Costa Rica
  • "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."
    According to Wikipedia, it's the thrill of breaking taboos. This is especially true with Chatroulette, as people may literally be showing you their various body parts. Also, part of the agreement to enter Chatroulette is that you *may* be recorded.  So there's that additional dimension of "fear" of having your live video viewing become something of a phenomenon viewed around the world (via YouTube) as shown above with Merton's and Ben Folds's Chatroulette videos  above.

Live Audio

And before there was live video there was live audio and live audio recordings.

One stellar example of this is Amanda McBroom and Lincoln Mayorga's "Growing Up In Hollywood Town" album. The original Sheffield Lab release was done Direct-to-Disc which meant that it was recorded straight to vinyl (just as the old 78 records were).

- Just listen to part of the first cut (literally) titled Amanda and you'll understand immediately why this is amazing...especially knowing that it was a "one-take" recording without additional editing/production.

Bottom Line

"Just do it!" as Nike says...but just be aware that the world might be watching...and it might be recorded for zillions to watch for millennia to come.

And if you're lucky your video, or live video, will become a "viral video" and catch on like Merton's and Ben Folds's videos did!

Comments?

Have a comment? - If so, let me know...

About Karl Kasca

As my Twitter bio says: "Husband, bunny-dad, EVP-IOP, blogger: AttractMoreVisitorsblog.com & nmmucla, UCLAx marketing instructor: Social Media (SMM) & New Media (NMM), speaker, #iopnews", or you can see the link above for more info.

~~~~~~

Note re: "Crystal clear video": If you want to know how/why the YouTube videos are so clear see: Crystal Clear Video on YouTube.

Photo: Karl Kasca zip lining in Costa Rica on Flickr.com. More photos like this...

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Radical Price - Fee soon to replace Free as Internet Marketing model

March 15th, 2010

Image of Please Pay Here photo by StevenDepoloFee: Finding Value

Recently C.C. Chapman recorded a Managing the Gray podcast called "Finding Value". In this podcast C.C. predicted that paying for information/services ("fee") would begin emerging as the new internet marketing model, rather than getting everything for free.

Spoiled to expect Free

C.C. argued that we've all been spoiled into thinking and expecting that everything we see and consume on the internet is...and should be...free.

His premise is that at the end of the day we all need to put food on the table (and it takes actual money to do that).

Vs. "FREE: The Future of a Radical Price"

In his book ‘FREE: The Future of a Radical Price’ Chris Anderson (the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine) made a case that we can give away some of our expertise (information, services, etc.) for free and because of that people may eventually buy something from us, like a freemium (pro/premium paid) version of our product.
- Note: For links to "free" versions of Chris Anderson's eBook see my blog post on: "Free vs. Value - To Abridge or Unabridge - That is the Question" (scroll to bottom for links).

But what C.C.'s saying is that this is fine, but at a certain point people just need to start getting paid for what they produce and their intellectual property.

He said that everyone falls into the routine of giving friends and others free advice and consulting...which at the end of the day perhaps could (and should) be charged for.

Can't we just barter...

I'd also make the same case about bartering: That bartering's great and a "win-win" for all involved, but it doesn't pay your electric bill (unless you're fortunate enough to be trading solar energy back to your electric company).

Bottom Line

As a content creator on our IncreaseOnlineProfits.com website I'd support C.C. in his wish to have creative content be compensated.  But the reality is we'll have to wait and see if his wish becomes a trend, and if that trend becomes a reality, and if that reality becomes the norm.

And the dirty little secret is that we all give away far more than we get.  C.C. mentioned that he freely gives away his podcast info, which he charges his clients for,  because he knows that his podcast listeners are really engaged and actually put his ideas into practice.

I think many of us feel (and act) this way: We're passionate about helping those who value our thoughts, advice, and information enough to put them into action.  But as C.C. said, at the end of the day there are bills to pay and mouths to feed.

It'll be interesting to see how this evolves (or not) in the coming year. What do you think?

Caveat

Please note that I've paraphrased C.C. Chapman's comments and tried to catch the spirit of his argument in portraying it above. My apologies to C.C. in advance if this portrayal isn't perfect/literal. For C.C.'s actual words/thoughts, please check out his Managing the Gray podcast called "Finding Value".

Comments

Agree or disagree with this - just let me know...

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/ / CC BY 2.0

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The Power of Stories in Internet Marketing

March 2nd, 2010

Image of "Stories" by Peter Morville's Flickr stream:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/3220948306/

From "Once upon a time" to "it was a dark and stormy night" we are used to seeing, hearing and loving stories.

Snippets of personal stories in the lead paragraphs of news/magazine articles draw us in and get us to read further.

Stories in emails are so powerful that some people, like my Mom, even print them out. After she passed away I found a whole stack of emailed stories. Stories she valued so much she wanted to keep them in hardcopy form (not just virtually in her inbox).
- Note: That was a story (yikes!).

Since the earliest times...to now

This feeling or need to experience stories has been ingrained and embedded in us since the earliest times of human existence. From the first time a fish was caught there must have been a "fish story" which went with it relating the fisher's experience back to family, friends, and community. Not to mention "the fish that got away."

From oral to written...to digital

Beginning with oral traditions of passing stories along via storytellers to the written word in newspapers, magazines, poetry and novels and now via everything online from 140-character Twitter tweets to 1-2 minute YouTube-type videos to long meandering blog posts, ebooks (written & audio), Hulu-type videos/programs/movies, etc. (even run-on sentences like this one!).

A story of Olympic proportions - the Olympics!

As mentioned in Bob Knorpp's The Beancast: Episode 92: Telling Olympic Stories:

The Olympics were front and center on our topic list. The apparent success of the games for advertisers seemed in stark contrast to the vitriol being handed out to NBC for aggregating content into prime time. It made for a very interesting discussion.

When did the Olympics end? - I don't know. Why? Because we time-shifted the Olympics by recording them on our DVR. In any case, I watched the sports-part of the Olympics in super-fast-forward as my wife blazed through them to get to (you guessed it!) the personal stories of the athletes as told in short profile pieces and interviews interspersed throughout the programming.

Oh, and we watched the figure skating at normal speed as well. Why? Probably because of the romantically-told tales of the skaters backgrounds and stories in getting to their level of achievement and the games.

Why stories? - We remember them...and retell them

My Grandfather told me this story and I always remembered it (not verbatim, but the essence of it - that we need to get our message out):

The Codfish and the Hen

The codfish lays a million eggs,
While the helpful hen lays one;
But the codfish does not cackle
To inform us what she's done.
And so we scorn the codfish coy,
While the helpful hen we prize;
Which indicates to thoughtful minds
That it pays to advertise.

- Anonymous american rhyme.
CASS CITY CHRONICLE, Cass City, Michigan, January 5, 1923

Now that you've read the little story above, you'll probably remember it.  At some point in the future you'll probably end-up telling it to someone else to make a point or amuse them. And the story continues...

Retelling stories make them viral...

As mentioned recently in Eric Tsai's 5 Tips to Engage Social and Mobile Customers on TheCustomerCollective.com:

5. Tell a story, create passion – Reporters loves a great story because they know readers love them too.  Often times a great story can get viral because well, it’s a great story!  The increasingly social web has vastly increased the fragmentation of media. Leverage sequential advertising to tell a story and lead your prospects down a path of related messages with continuity of the call-to-action. Each engagement touch point should evoke a compelling response with fresh information and unique impression.

This is like what Napoleon Hill said in "Think and Grow Rich":

The  subconscious  mind  is  more  susceptible  to influence  by   impulses  of  thought  mixed  with  `feeling' or  emotion,  than  by  those  originating  solely  in   the  reasoning  portion  of   the  mind.  In  fact,  there  is  much evidence  to  support  the  theory,  that  ONLY emotionalized  thoughts  have  any ACTION  influence  upon the  subconscious  mind.

So the formula for (a story) going viral is:

thought + emotion = Action

Story + passion = Viral, where "going viral" is the action

You could also say that this is "The Secret" of viral stories (videos, etc.).

Details of Stories can change, but you still get the point

Note that the stories can change a little but you still get the point. The story of the Codfish and the Hen (above) is also related in Thoughts on the Business of Life (Forbes, 1999) but with the codfish laying ten thousand (10,000) eggs.

10,000 vs. 1,000,000 eggs is a big difference, but the point's the same: a lot of eggs...versus one.

It's actually part of the power of stories that they can be told differently, or mistold, and yet still effectively make the same point.

How to use Stories in Internet Marketing

At Harvard, he studied with Marshall Ganz, who has helped spark a resurgence in grass-roots organizing in Democratic campaigns, including Obama's historic presidential run. From Ganz, Green learned the importance of sharing personal narratives in building social movements.

  • Copywriting
    - Use stories in articles, emails, eZines, sales letters, web pages, etc. to make and drive home points. See Social Proof & Testimonials below.
  • Email marketing
    - Using personal stories in broadcast emails helps personalize you and the information being given.
  • Facebook
    - It's all personal stories, isn't it?
  • LinkedIn
    - Status updates are (or can be) short stories.
    - What not to do: While you can tell your personal narrative within your LinkedIn profile, don't make it a fictional resume - stick with the truth and the facts.
  • Social Proof
    - As Robert Cialdini said: People will do things that they see other people are doing.
    - Anecdotes and examples can help make points (see Copywriting above).
  • Testimonials
    - Personal stories told by the individuals themselves, either in text or videos (even better!) which can be used on web pages, sales letters, etc. See Copywriting above.
    - Just remember to follow the recent FTC guidelines on Testimonials: FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials.
  • Twitter
    - A tweet can be a very short story.
    - Or a series of tweets can tell a story.
    - Hint: If you use hashtags, then people can see the whole story when they search on the hashtag.

What's a story?

It's a narrative describing some event or sequence of events. Basically a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Depending on how you're using the story you may also want it to have a point. Toastmasters are usually master story tellers and you can get more information here: Leading by a Tale: How to put storytelling to work in your organization by Caren S. Neile.

So what's your story?

Have a story or a comment you'd like to share? - Just let me know below...

Image credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/ / CC BY 2.0
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Top Ways to be Found Online

February 15th, 2010

Man's eye magnified with magnifying lens

Everyone wants to be found online, but what are the best ways to be found?

Businesses want to have their companies/ websites/ blogs/ products/ services found and job seekers want themselves to be found.

1) You need to have a great strategy to be found online.

Easier said than done. You need to think about where "your people" are and how they might go about finding you (or your business). Then just assure that you have a presence there. Again, easier said than done.

2) Profiles: Create profiles everywhere

Create profiles for yourself and your company at LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Plaxo, etc.

Also create business listings for your company in Yellow page sites for businesses, especially the "Local" search engine site: Google, Bing, Yahoo.

See "Increasing Your Online Visibility- Facebook Vanity URLs & Bing, Google, and Yahoo Local Business Listings" for how to do this.

Cool resource for many more yellow page sites (including international ones and social local neworking sites like Yelp): http://www.locallytype.com/pages/submit.htm.

3) Create Content and keep creating it

What do I mean by "content"? - Any text or item(s) that people want, e.g., things they want to know or learn "how to" do, blog posts, tweets, eZine (electronic magazine) articles, website articles, videos, podcasts, etc.

Here are some places you can post this content: Flickr (photos), Slideshare.net (presentations and documents), Twitter, YouTube (videos), your blog (using WordPress.org, WordPress.com, or Blogger/Blogspot), your website.

Tip/Trick: Keep the emphasis on "valuable" content. What do people want to find/know? Answer that question, given your company's or your own expertise and then write about it in interesting and engaging ways.

Hint: Use great tags so people can easily find your great content.

Note: Extra credit for supplying solutions for what people need...and are trying to find. One way to do this is using Google Suggest. Remember Google's "Parisian Love" Superbowl ad?

4) Announce what you created

Tweet about it on Twitter, do status updates in Facebook and LinkedIn...as the content applies to "your people" (and those people).

Note: If you send it to them and they're not interested, you risk them ignoring your posts, or worse yet unfollowing/unfriending you.

Example: Write a blog post (content), then post a Twitter tweet about it and a LinkedIn status update.

Tip/trick: LinkedIn works with Twitter, and vice versa with the "#in" hash tag at the end of  your Twitter tweet.

5) Comment: Leave valuable comments everywhere.

Comment on blog posts, podcasts, etc. Especially things which are hot topics which people are trying to find.

Tip/Trick: Great ways to find hot topics/trends?

Google: Google Trends

Twitter Trends: 15 Fascinating Ways to Track Twitter Trends

Technorati: Top Videos & Hottest blog posts

Forums: Boardreader's popular internet: videos, instructions, articles, etc.

6) Show what you know

It sounds simplistic, but if you "show what you know" and if you're showing what others are seeking then you'll be found...and thought of as an expert.

Experts are more becoming more trusted than "peer recommendations" according to today's Los Angeles Times opinion piece by Gregory Rodriguez: "Talk about your Buzzkill: Breaking through the noise of social media," which cites Edelman's 2010 Trust Barometer.

This means that being an expert is cool again.

How do you become an expert? Know your subject and post about it: valuably, frequently and consistently.

Note: It may help to have some credentials, but the LA Times opinion piece said that experts and academics were gaining influence, so there is a distinction between being an expert and being a person who studies/teaches the subject in a college or university.

Re: Social media: And yes, the rumors of the death of Social Media are a bit early with this barometer, as social media is really about disclosure, transparency, authenticity, and trust. For more on this see "For more information" below...

7) "Just do it"

Nike had it right. By just doing it, you're getting your "expert" voice out there where it can be found...and establishing your "expert" .

For more information on "How to be found Online":

Download: "The Power of Social Media: Gaining the competitive edge through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!" (click link & scroll down for download links)

Or see:

Of course there are many other ways to be found online.

If you have any favorite ways to be found online, please leave a comment below...

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8 Simple Ways to Attract Visitors to your Website

February 9th, 2010

Image of paperclips attracted to magnet
Here's a list of eight ways to attract visitors to your website, blog, or podcast:

1) Have something people want or value on your site.

Perhaps easier said then done. But think of things that you'd want and find valuable and then post similar things on your site.  "Content is king" so have great content people are seeking. If people like your content they'll recommend it to others. See #8) Intention below.

2) Make it presentable/attractive.

Make it look nice. Use easy to read fonts like Arial and Verdana as mentioned in Ralph Wilson's Text Font Readability Study. Use nice graphics/images/videos which people are attracted to or intrigued by. If people like the look and feel of your site they'll forward it to others. Consider Web 2.0 design for your site, e.g., "focused, clean, and simple", easy navigation, bold logos, bold text introductions, larger text, etc.

3) Use key words/phrases.

Key words are the words searchers use in search engines to find what they're looking for. Use a few key words and phrases in the title and body of your posts/articles. Note: Don't overdo this!

4) Promote it

Once you've posted something of value to your site, let the world know about it!  Tell your Facebook friend/fans, email your list, tweet about it on Twitter, submit it to Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, or other social bookmarking sites.

5) Ask others to Promote it

People like helping other people. Sometimes all you have to do is ask them and they'll give your content (post/article/podcast/video) a boost. 

Be specific.  Ask them to tell their friends. Ask them to forward your email. Ask them to retweet your tweet: "Pls RT", etc. Use your social media/networking connections and leverage them for your success. Try to do this in a nice unobtrusive way by helping others with your solutions.

Ask other sites to link to your site, especially education, government, and organizations which are highly respected and have high authority ratings. These inbound links can give great "Google juice" to your site in the search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

6) Have a great Title

As mentioned above use a few carefully chosen keywords in your title. Make your title intriguing - something people will want to click on...and pass along to others. Try to limit the length of your title to 60 characters with spaces. Of course, match your content to your title and try to deliver what you promised. And note that you'll want to assure that your Title is also placed in the <head> section of the HTML source code of the web page. Do this for your home page and every page of your website.

7) Have a great Description

Having a great description is a three-fold process: First, describe your article using keyword/phrases in the first paragraph of your article/post/content/etc. Second, enter a description if your blog platform (or plugin like Headspace or widget) allows you to. Or if your site's content management system (CMS) allows you  to add a description/teaser, then add one. Third,  enter a meta description for your web page (note that the second step may have automatically done this). A meta description is a short description of your article (150 characters with spaces) which is placed in the <head> section of your page's HTML source code.

8) Have Intention

Intend to have a great site with valuable content, e.g. posts, articles, podcasts, videos, etc.  Intend to have/write/create/video/record something really interesting, creative, and unique.  Intend to write something worthy of being found, which people want to find, and they're pleased/satisfied/happy when they find it. And if you do it right, then this sense of intention will result in a better site/articles/posts which people will be attracted to.

Bottom Line

Just remember, Google wants to deliver the best results (answers/solutions) to its customers: Searchers who are asking questions with their search queries. So make sure that your post/article/podcast/site is something people want/desire/need, describe that using keywords/phrases and deliver on the promise of your title & description and people will be attracted to your site. There are many more ways to attract visitors to your site, but these should give you a good start.

Resources

For a free download of 77 ways to increase your online profits go to: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com and see: IOP Insider News.

To see how these 77 great tips of Internet marketing can help your site, just view The Solution Movie (90-seconds):

Note: The Solution Movie is a Marketing Over Coffee award finalist.

Comments

Have a better way of attracting visitors? - Please leave a comment below.

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