If you are looking to find out who does Internet marketing in the Charlotte area, you have to check this out!
Last week we posted a new meeting for the Charlotte SEO Meetup. You can learn about it here. The general idea is that we are giving anyone who does any form of online marketing three to five minutes to explain who they are and what they do. They can also talk about what they are looking to hire out and/or subcontract.
The response was incredible. We only have room for about 20 to 25 people. But we got 25 positive responses in about 24 hours. When we raised the total number of possible attendees, we got five more within the next 24 hours or so.
Looking back at the three day conference, here are the top ten fundamental principles I learned.
1. The real media giants in the online world have not yet risen yet. But they will. Almost anyone can rise to the top in any niche at this point.
2. To succeed online you need incredible patience and tenacity. Don’t try to hit the homerun. Just make steady progress. Yet, do it as quick as you can.
3. It is extremely important to listen to your audience. Don’t just listen to them. Care about them. Show them you care.
4. The larger your audience, the more important it becomes to give your audience what they want. Do not make decisions based on what management wants. Base changes and improvements off what your audience wants. Ask them regularly.
5. Be EVERYWHERE. Use all forms of social media. Put your videos on all video hosting sites. Find ways to do so efficiently using aggregators.
6. Do what you love. Otherwise, you will not have the patience and energy to succeed over time.
7. Finding the balance between selecting the right techology, creating good content, and marketing your content is extremely important, yet a huge challenge. Many neglect one or two of the three.
8. Most “successful” podcasters are basically geeks. The true content and thought leaders may not have emerged yet. So far, the geeks are winning. They are far from rich, but they are winning.
9. Everything on the web is basically commerce or media (e-commerce or new media). At first, the two seem to be very different. Yet the basic principles are actually very similar.
10. Very few people “get it”. It is amazing how few people attended this conference. The field of New Media is very much on the cutting edge and is taking over traditional media, yet no one else seems to realize it, especially big corporations and traditional media.
So the expo is now over and I fly back home first thing in the morning. It’s time to reflect back on if I reached my goals that I wrote out earlier.
Here’s how I did…
1. How to Podcast – SCORE! I totally figured this one out. I’m ready to get the things I need and do my first podcast very soon.
2. Community Monetization Concepts – Not so well. But then again, I may have gotten a shift in thinking on this one. It’s much more important to grow your community. The monetiztion comes later. (Not so easy to explain to my financial advisor – also known as my wife.)
3. Add “Answer-People” to My Network – I got a few contacts. Not as many as I would have liked, but I got some.
4. Learn How and If I Should Do Video – Big SCORE on this one too. I have some definite ideas and know the tools I should use.
5. Increased Motivation to Create Content – Definitely! I’m charged and ready to go. I also signed up for a podcaster/blogger magazine that may help throughout the year.
6. Enhanced Strategic Understanding of how to use New Media for my clients, students, and community. This is another big score! I learned a ton and can’t wait to share it.
Looks like I did extremely well in 4 out of 6. I did moderately well in the other 2.
A great reason to attend trade show conferences is to meet the vendors in the expo hall. It’s not just about getting free pens, t-shirts, and cool pens. (Really Ty, it’s not!)
Personally, I like learning about new companies I’ve never heard of. In fact, I try to gather materials the first day and research them on the Internet when I go back to my hotel the first night. If anything is interesting, I go back the next day and talk with them.
Here are some of the interesting companies at New Media Expo 2008 this year. I have added my comments for each. I bolded the ones I found to be the most noteworthy.
TechSmith – They make Snagit (screen capture) and Camtasia (screen recording) software. They are the best at what they do. Their latest project is Jing (beta). Check it out. It’s free.
Tubemogul – The provide online video distribution and analytics. In other words, you upload your video to them and they send it to YouTube, Viddler, etc. Several presenters spoke very favorably about them.
All voices – An open global community of reporting news from anywhere in the world. This is amazing. They aggregate video worldwide from all news channels, both amateur and professional. They then have a proprietary system that ranks which ones are best.
NOTE: Allvoices is like NPR meets Google meets Digg. Amazing stuff. You have to poke around the site a little to really get it. But when you do, it’s cool.
Mogulus – They give you everything you need to launch your own 24/7 television station. You can have multiple cameras recording in different locations and switch between them online.
These guys are working with Qik so that you can have multiple users with streaming cell phone cameras and switch between them to create a seamless program. Incredible! Oh, and it’s all FREE!
Story Bids – They auction off product placement in-video advertising.
Sound Dogs – Their website may be a little weak, but they have a tremendous amount of sounds available. They gave us free CDs.
Stickam – Live broadcasting over the web. (This is what Leo LaPorte uses for TWIT live.) They have a great new service called PayPerLive which allows you to record a live event and collect a ticket price for users to watch it online.
Veotag – This is a great idea for instructional or information video. It allows you to outline what is in the video so that anyone can skip to the section they want.
Blog Talk Radio – An easy to use web-based service that allows you to use an ordinary telephone to create free, live, call-in radio shows. They are then archived as podcasts.
Viddler – I don’t know that I saw them at the expo hall, but they were one of the most talked about companies there. Use Viddler to show your videos on your own site. They allow you to brand with your own logo and player. But don’t forget to also distribute using tubemogul (see above).
Here are some more miscellaneous tips I learned about getting started podcasting.
These tips mostly come from sessions and conversations while at New Media Expo 2008. But I’m also including some facts I’ve gained in my research over the last few weeks.
When you are just getting started, just go get a USB microphone. Most everyone starts this way and it’s easy and quick. It sounds “good enough”.
Most everyone starts with a Plantronics DSP-400 and they say it worked great, especially if you are doing phone interviews.
Use Audacity to edit your program. Note: Close Audacity whenever you make audio settings adjustments in your operating system (Win XP, Mac, etc.)
Use Soundsoap 2 to remove any background white noise. (Record 5–10 secconds of blank air time before and after talking for this purpose.)
Use Levelator to even out the volume of your entire program.
Be sure to setup a good file system for all files you use in creating your podcast. Save all your original recordings. Don’t change your folder system. Backup all files periodically.
Use Skype. It now works as good as being in person.
Ideally, the participant will use Skype and a USB headset. In fact, I recently read that Leo LaPorte (long time popular podcaster) asks his other participants (on TWIT) to use Skype and a Plantronics headset ($40) and will even mail them one if they don’t have one.
If your participant just wants to use the phone, that will work too. Just use SkypeOut. It is very inexpensive. This sounds good, but not as good.
Note: Brandon Uttley recently pointed me at a great video to watch if you really want to get into the absolute best setup for Skype. It involves setting router settings for optimum results.
You should have your participants review a waiver/release. Here’s a good example.
As you get more advanced with podcasting, it is advantageous to have a slightly more complex setup.
The SM-58 microphone is highly recommended by many for quality and durability. Several other styles and varieties of microphones are available. But don’t bother spending the money until you are sure you want to do this long-term.
Recorders, such as the Marantz PMD-600 will allow you to record without being worried about having your computer crash.
The first session (after the keynote) for this morning is from Rebecca Weeks from Real Girls Media. She is clearly a tallented and professional lady with a strong background in advertising.
She started with a nice fundamental principle of New Media…
Content leads to Traffic
Traffic leads to Branding
Branding leads to Monetization
Your current followers are your best and cheapest source of new readers. Find out who they are and what they like. Thank them. Ask them. Find out what other sites they visit and partner with them.
Interestingly, she is talking extensively about what I wrote about last week, namely Generation V. Good stuff. I agree.
She shared Hitwise information on which websites are the hot ones for social news sites. Yahoo Buzz is taking over Digg in terms of traffic. You need to be pre-approved to get into Yahoo Buzz. She got 500,000 visitors in about an hour by getting onto the home page of Yahoo. Of course, if your site crashes, you will never be invited back.
She spoke extensively about a site she works with called Divine Caroline. It was launced about a year and a half ago and competes with big powerhouses such as iVillage, Martha Stewart, & Glam.
Below are the results of her working partnerships and social marketing. NOTE: All of her marketing techniques were free.
100 daily unique visitors
2.4 million monthly unique visitors
25th largest women’s community on the web
Users stay on the site for 5+ minutes
Users visit 6 to 8 pages on average
Advertisers pay over $15 CPM
Chevrolet, conAgra Foods, Disney, Starbucks, Shutterfly, etc all advertise.
Important points from some other sites:
Befriend the people you admire online.
Research the success stories and the advice from influential leaders on the Internet.
Create weekly round-ups of what others are saying. The other bloggers will note the referrals.
Reach out to other blogs and websites that you can partner with. Simply email or call them.
She partnered with other successful online players in her field as “advisors”. They provided insight in exchange for being mentioned in the About Us section of the site. No cost.
The best part was the final question. Someone asked how she got such an incredible looking site with so many features. She mentioned that she started with excellent connections in the advertising world. She also had a connection with a tallented and professional programming team.
She also admitted to having funding. How much? 6 million!
Today’s opening keynote was from George Wright. This guy is basically a celebrity in this world of New World Media. He saw an opportunity to do something fun and post it on the Internet.
Since then, the “Will it Blend” series has gone absolutely viral and has become the ultimate success story for New Media and Internet Marketing.
Below were some of his comments..
“Will it Blend” is basically a branding campaign. Blending an iPhone was the most popular video. As of right now, it has 5.2 million views in one year on YouTube alone.
Blendtec is located in Utah. They create high-performance blending and dispensing equipment for restaurants, etc. Their good quality products are used in coffee shops and other commercial locations.
Their cornerstone product is the Total Blender. It is a comercial grade home product but had weak branding. Weak brand meant weak sales. So they needed a “big idea” to get it more attention.
One day, George was walking through the “demo room”. He had only worked there a couple months and found wood chips. The CEO had put a 2 x 4 into the blender to see how strong it is. Everyone in the company thought this was normal. LESSON: The next big video might be right under your nose. Keep an eye out for it.
What happened next? It started with $50. George bought a lab coat, six-pack of coke, a rake, and a domain name. He got with the CEO and recorded him blending unusual things and posted the videos online.
The resulting media value is estimated at $40 million. His marketing department now generates revenue. (Amazing!)
ENTERTAINING: Their videos are engaging and fun.
DEMO: It demonstrates the product in each video.
OWNERSHIP: It is created and branded by Blendtec.
REAL: This is based on real people, real situations.
INTERACTIVITY: They take comments and suggestions. (Note: Originally, the suggestions went to his phone. It broke because it vibrated so much.)
YouTube has 58 million views.
Total Will it Blend views are 101 million.
They have 150,000 subscribers.
Sales have increased 7 times over since the campaign.
The sales has grown in commercial products as well.
Brand awareness has grown.
Traditional media picks up on it with very little effort. (National TV, local media, blogs, Newspaper, you name it.)
They now use phrases that allow them to rank on Google for popular terms (Google “chuck norris” and you will get their video.)
NOTE: Small companies can have a BIG online presence.
Advertising is now content. It needs to be compelling.
To end the show, he blended a rake and a cell phone from someone in the audience. Pretty cool.
(Extra comment worth noting: use Revver to distribute videos. It pays.)
WordPress has been a favorite program of mine for a while now. We have several WordPress blogs and they work great. So attending this session at the New Media Expo was a definite for me.
How to go from using WordPress for just a blog to using it for a podcast was something I plan to do very soon. Charles Stricklin from The WordPress Podcast gave this session on the topic. He seems like a very helpful person and I enjoyed talking with him in person afterward.
Here are some important points from the session…
WordPress is the most used blogging platform.
It is free (open source)
It is also very well supported by the community
It has millions of users, designers, and coders.
To hinder hackers and thieves from hurting your site, rename your table prefix or restrict access to wp-content and wp-includes directories. (I doubt I’ll do that.) He also recommended using a limited account when posting. In other words, don’t use the admin account regularly. (This is easier. I should do it.)
WordPress feeds are available for not only the entire blog, but for a particular tag or category. (I did not know that!)
Use Feedburner. (I did know that.)
To assist with the problematic “Digg effect” of running out of bandwidth due to popularity, use “WP Super Cache” plugin.
Veronical Belmont and Tom Merritt handled the first session I attended. It is about how to give your community a voice but also how to handle trouble-makers (aka trolls).
Tips for building an engaged community
Let people email you. Integrate comments from email into the show.
Encourage your audience to let you know when you are wrong.
Interact via contests. Others may talk about it on other podcasts.
Use chat rooms and live stream to interact.
Use forums. They tend to be more thoughtful and good feedback.
Don’t underestimate responding. Be sure to write back in forums. It goes a long way to build community. Engage the audience.
Ask your audience for show ideas.
What about the angry people? (The Trolls)
Let the audience police the trolls. Note that you will need to have a good engaged audience in order for that to work.
Sometimes you can communicate with them and bring them into the fold.
Sometimes you can address their concerns calmly.
There are different types of trolls…
GRUMPY TROLL: They just are a little grouchy all the time. Don’t react every time.
LONELY TROLL: He just wants to be loved and get attention. Give him a little attention.
CRITICAL TROLL: He feels superior and smarter all the time. Don’t bother engaging them. If they are right, give them some slight acknowledgement. But not all the time.
HELPFUL TROLL: He has good suggestions, but wants to help too much. Be nice to them, but don’t get overwhelmed with them. Respond a little. Let it taper off.
HOPELESS TROLL: He just will not give up. They are only there to disrupt. They will not back off or communicate. They just want to have fun disrupting what you do.
For HOPELESS TROLLS, you may be able to ban them. You may need to mention it to the others for the sake of full disclosure.
For some, you may need to go all the way to law enforcement. But that is extremely unusual. Usually, just ignoring them will eventually work. They will slowly go away.
Q&A: Veronica mentioned that she spends about 70% of her time working with her community. That’s interesting because she is a content creator.
Q&A: Tom mentioned that he does not use Ping.fm to communicate with one service to all areas. Both of them use each social network in a different way. However, Tom mentioned that he does use Ping.fm for announcements that a show is started or posted. (Nice idea!) Friendfeed is a similar service that will aggregate.