Saturday, March 16, 2013
POSITIONING: A marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer. Companies apply this strategy either by emphasizing the distinguishing features of their brand (what it is, what it does and how, etc.) or they may try to create a suitable image (inexpensive or premium, utilitarian or luxurious, entry-level or high-end, etc.) through advertising. Once a brand is positioned, it is very difficult to reposition it without destroying its credibility. Also called product positioning.
Al Ries, the author of Positioning The Battle for Your Mind, the book voted as the best marketing book of the 20th century by the readers of Advertising Age, the industry’s bible says:
“Advertising doesn’t build brands, publicity does. Advertising can only maintain brands that have been created by publicity."
“The truth is, advertising cannot start a fire. It can only fan a fire after it has been started. To get something going from nothing, you need the validity that only third-party endorsements can bring. The first stage of any new campaign ought to be public relations.”
This quote comes from his more recent, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, a brilliant read, which he wrote with his daughter – and partner – Laura Ries.
The most rudimentary form of third party endorsement are testimonials. Don't bury those so deep on your websites it takes a bomb squad to dig them out. Put those right out there where visitors to your site see them immediately.
In referencing PR here, however, I am talking more about getting articles placed in your industry’s magazines, doing radio and television interviews – telling your story to lots of people.
These days, the Internet also enables you to send out “optimized” press releases. In addition to using “key words” in the release, these can also include embedded video clips, links to relevant Web pages, and options for sharing the release on social networks.
Where does your brand live?
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Is my site mobile responsive?
That's the question you must ask yourself and your web designer. This excerpt from Josh Byers' article will help you understand what's happening in today's world of site responsiveness.
Three Ways a Mobile Responsive Website Beats Using a Separate Mobile Site
By Josh Byers
Josh Byers is a media specialist for Copyblogger Media. He's a husband, father, follower of Jesus, and Broncos fan. A good day is filled with Coke Zero, the NBA, potatoes, Mario, serial tv, books, and too many Apple products. Get more from Josh on Twitter and Google+.
The new normal
...Mobile responsive design continues to charge forward stronger than ever.
In fact, Mashable has called 2013 “The Year of Responsive Web Design.”
Yet, for all its accolades — and despite the backing of industry heavyweights — there are some who remain unconvinced that mobile responsive design is the way to go. These folks argue that your website should have a completely separate mobile presence.
I think differently. I want you to believe in mobile responsive design. I want you to embrace it like the internet has embraced funny cats. I want to give to you three reasons why you should choose a mobile responsive website design over a separate mobile site.
1. Mobile responsive design is better for SEO
Writers and web developers know that when Google suggests a certain course of action, it’s usually a smart idea to follow if you care about search rankings.
In an attempt to bring clarity to web developers, Google has specifically said that responsive design “is Google’s recommended configuration.” I’m not really sure what other arguments I need to make at this point, but for the stubborn we’ll press on.
If you employ responsive design, you’ll have more equity in your back-links.
There have been a number of times I’ve wanted to share a link from my phone, but when copying and pasting that link in an email, Twitter, or Facebook, the link copied is the link to the mobile site. Everyone that clicks on this link in full size browser is going to be taken to the mobile site, and if they’re not redirected, they’re treated to content that looks horrible and is not optimized for their screen.
Nobody wants to see a mobile site on their desktop, so they bounce. If you design your site responsively, every link that’s shared is a link to your full site and mobile site. There is no confusion or crossover between the two.
… a single URL for the content helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content.
For a mobile site (actually for every site), SEO and user experience are blood brothers. If your site is unpleasant to use and the user can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll make a quick exit.
This causes your bounce rate to grow, which tells Google your site probably doesn’t have what that person was searching for. Congratulations, you’ve just been knocked down in the rankings for the term that user searched for.
This can be avoided by having a mobile site that looks great and functions extremely well … and has all the content of your full size browser version.
For all that is good and right, please do not use a plugin that “converts” your site to a mobile site. There was a time and place for that, but that time has passed. There are few things in this world more ugly and jarring than visiting a site on my phone and having it redirect to the bland mobile version.
Lastly, we all know that load time is a factor when Google ranks sites. When your site has to re-direct to a mobile url, this increases the load time. A responsive site has no such redirection.
2. Mobile responsive design is easier to maintain
For sites that create a lot of content, it can be a real headache to make sure that all of it is transferred properly to multiple web properties.
Ultimately, you have to spend more time, or you’re paying someone else to spend time copying and formatting content to multiple places. If your site is designed responsively, when you’re finished creating content, you’re finished.
With a responsive design, your site is also future-proof. Many mobile-only sites have to be constantly tweaked when a popular new device comes on the market. Mobile responsive design ensures that your site will be optimized … no matter what the screen size of the device.
3. Mobile responsive design delivers a better reading experience
There are some that will argue this is dead wrong, but if you develop with a mobile first philosophy, their argument goes out the window.
Some content producers think they should curate content by device — only publishing the content that they believe appeals to mobile users, or removing content that’s not “important” enough for mobile. This is a mistake.
Brad Frost, a leading voice in the mobile responsive movement, says:
Mobile users will do anything & everything that desktop users will do provided it’s presented in a usable way. Assuming people on mobile “won’t do that” is a losing proposition. Don’t penalize users with missing content & features just because they are on a full screen.
To be fair, there’s one thing mobile sites have that responsive sites don’t … the “view full site” link.
The reason this link exists is because of the inherent problems with a mobile site. Users want all the content, presented in a way that’s accessible.
The reality of the situation …
If you’re not designing and developing your entire site with mobile users in mind, it doesn’t really matter if you employ a responsive design, or have a separate mobile site.
Data consistently show that mobile devices, mobile usage, and mobile purchases continue to rise at an enormous rate. This data also suggests that this trend will not slow down in the future, but only pick up speed.
To be successful on the web you must begin your process with a philosophy that puts mobile first.
Mobile responsive design is then the natural outflow of this process.
This post is an excerpt. For the full read go to http://www.copyblogger.com/mobile-responsive-design-benefits/
Sunday, February 17, 2013
The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet posted on LunaMetrics by Dan Wilkerson
You no longer have to deal with "what size do I need to make my pictures?" on the following social networks:
Now you can create Facebook Timeline images, LinkedIn cover photos, and more without worrying whether your pictures will fit the dimensions required by each platform.
NOTE: Be sure to read the comments posted on the LunaMetric's site for more info.
Bookmark (or print out) this infographic from LunaMetrics. http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2012/11/12/final-social-media-sizing-cheat-sheet/
Designed by LunaMetrics.
Dan Wilkerson is a Social Media Project Manager with a background in Advertising and PR. Since producing his first commercial at 18, Dan has wanted to get involved with brands. Dan loves solving problems creatively, effectively, and measurably, and has had experience with a wide variety of businesses ranging from tech start-ups to household charities.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
In Book Publishing Today, Size No Longer Matters
By Michael Levin
New York Times best selling author Michael Levin is a nationally acclaimed thought leader on the subject of the future of book publishing. firstname.lastname@example.org Read his blogs at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michaellevin/
Once upon a time, authors wrote big books about big topics, and publication was a big event. The competition was Freudian: whoever had the longest one could brag the most.
Today, however, the closing of the American mind (the title of a 400-page book a generation ago) has given way to the collapse of the American attention span thanks to texting, Facebook and Twitter. Neither authors nor readers seek size from their books.
In the pre-iPhone era, when people used downtime to engage in independent thought instead of engaging in smart phone "thumbsterbation," books took their sweet time to get to the point. If somebody wrote a biography, you'd have to get through 80 pages about what their grandfather ate for breakfast in the old country before the ostensible subject of the book was even mentioned. Thorough? Yes. Overkill? Absolutely. But that's how things went back then, because attention spans were longer and there were fewer media competing for readers' time.
For example, consider Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight David Eisenhower, each subjects of numerous lengthy biographies. Eisenhower, A Soldier's Life, for instance, is 880 pages. FDR is 880 pages.
Today, you can find a 112-page joint biography of FDR and Ike,Architects of Power, published in 2010. The notably terse Philip Terzian effectively summarizes the lives and careers of each man in a mere 51 pages per president. This is a vertiginous drop of roughly 84 percent in length compared with the bigger tomes.
This is not a random event. It's the wave of the future.
Consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the subject of Taylor Branch's definitive 1,088-page 1989 effort, Parting The Waters. By 2001, theAutobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., compiled by Stanford University historian Claybourne Carson, came in at a relatively slimmed-down 416 pages.
The following year, Marshall Frady published Martin Luther King, A Life, 228 pages. Jump to late 2011 and we find The Trumpet of Conscience, a republished collection of King lectures -- just 96 pages.
What's the take-away for people planning to write a book?
|Jon Batson's sci-fi saga stacks |
1:3 to his latest novels.
If you're writing a business book to brand yourself as an expert in your field, keep it under 50,000 words. People read business books to learn something, not to be entertained, so don't inject a lot of filler and fluff. It should be a quick read, rich with takeaways and illustrative anecdotes written in clear, concise language.
You fiction writers should take heed as well; 90,000 words is the new optimum max length, down from 150,000 just a few years ago.
One of my favorite short business books is by Olalah Njenga, 37 What Were You Thinking Moments in Marketing. This 214 page "light-hearted, irreverent account of the author's career as a marketing professional" is a must read.
What's your favorite business book?
Monday, February 4, 2013
One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to improve a relationship (business, romantic, or otherwise) is to speak up and let the other party know you’re glad they’re part of your life.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner how about sending out a message from your heart that lets your clients know you appreciate their business. That you’re honored to serve them and you wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for them. Because as you know, it's all about trust.
When you write it make sure it sounds like you not a greeting card. Put it into your own voice. Tell a story, share why you do what you do. Make it personal, and make it your own. It doesn’t need to be long or complex, but it should be from your heart.
Your customer relationship campaign might begin and end here. Draft your appreciation message this week, put a little polish on it, and schedule it in your email software to go out February 14.
You can decide for yourself if you want to include a call to action. If you do, make sure it comes in the form of a gift rather than as a request. Some ideas you can do:
- hold open “office hours” where they can dial into a conference call and ask questions for a few hours
- throw a little party
- send a favorite recipe
- have a ‘Last Minute’ Valentine’s deal for folks. Use social media to promote it.
- donate to a local charity or favorite cause and then send your friends or clients a greeting card saying you’ve made a donation in their honor
- hold a Valentine’s Day contest that encourages interaction on your company’s Facebook page – create a Facebook tab for this competition specifically. Let customers win something you provide or maybe time together over coffee, tea or a glass of wine.
- send a special Ribbon gift catalog that you pay for, but they pick out the gift they want
Make whatever you do on Valentine’s Day lighthearted, fun, and interesting for your clients and customers.
The key here is be generous, affectionate and creative.
Looking forward to hearing your ideas.