An Eleven-Month Vacation… From Blogging

If you have followed this blog, you may know that I’ve let it slide for about a year. Coming back to it now, I’d like to share a few things I found interesting.

1. Traffic still comes to the site

Now, this site has never driven lots of traffic. 100 page views would make a big day. But even after not adding new content in nine months, or my own content in eleven months, certain posts still get a decent amount of regular traffic. If blogging is part of your business strategy, it’s good to remember that effective posts might bring you traffic for years to come. Inbound marketing is still for real, isn’t it?

2. Google no longer tells you where your traffic comes from

Google now withholds key information in analytics as well as their Adwords tools. They don’t tell you what sites or what keywords bring you traffic. A lot of people aren’t happy about it, but… what are you going to do?  Google has become a near monopoly and they’re flexing their muscle. Over the past year, we’ve also learned about how the NSA the uses Google and perhaps how Google participates with the NSA. Does all this make you like Google less? I wonder how much Google has hurt its brand over the past year, and how much it really matters.

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Is Your Content Radio Worthy?

Business Talks, Spokane Washington's live business radio program, is on the air

Photo credit: Andy Cook

A few months ago, I was invited to join a new business radio program as the producer.

In this case, “producer” meant lining up guests, and practically anything else I want or have time to do—only three of us were involved initially.

The idea from the outset was to spread positive stories from the local business community (the Spokane, Washington area). Like a lot of you, I’ve learned that a company’s ability to tell its story is vital, so accepting the invitation to produce the program —Business Talks—was irresistible.

It’s turned out to be so much fun, I wanted to tell you about it. Continue reading

How Clear Is Your Brand’s Voice?

This man had a distinctive voice. Does your brand? That voice. I heard it, softly, from a table 10 feet away.

It was 1990. We were in a quiet, trendy Hollywood restaurant whose name I never knew and I doubt still exists.

I was with an agency producer, working on a TV job for a large telecom client.

It was the unmistakable voice of an old friend. I wanted to jump up, hug him and tell him my whole family and all our friends missed him.

But I didn’t because he was speaking softly, it sounded private, and I didn’t want to interrupt.

Besides, we had never met, and I didn’t want to scare the hell out of him. Continue reading

Marketing Your Startup Business: A Quick Guide

Building a new business can be scary. Here are some marketing tips.

Marketing doesn’t have to be as scary as other parts of building a new business

One of my favorite marketing blog posts was written in April 2009 by HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah. He called it Startup Marketing: Tactical Tips From The Trenches. 

“If I were starting a company today,” Dharmesh wrote, “here’s what I would do in the first ten days.”

In that same spirit, here’s a rough outline of steps I’d recommend for businesses just getting started. I hope someone who’s starting a business finds it useful. Credit where credit is due, some of these suggestions are pretty similar to what Dharmesh wrote nearly four years ago.

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Are You A Social Media Expert?

Are you a social media expertThe only Facebook company page I ever set up looks the same now as when I left the company three years ago. They’re down to 26 likes. Most are my relatives, who were nice enough to like the page at my request, just to see what happened.

I’m not really a Facebook guy. I have about 100 friends. My Facebook name (please don’t report this TOS violation) is Cousin Barrett. That’s because most of the 100 are cousins, aunts, uncles, other distant relations, people with whom I went to school and whose wedding I was in.

On the other hand, I was using social before it was called social.

I used AOL chat rooms in the early 90s for international soccer discussions and computer advice from Kim Komando. Continue reading

From Sales, A Marketing Lesson

Sunrise on the Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, C...

Santa Barbara. A great place to figure out how little you really know about life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite marketing thought leaders doesn’t have a background in advertising, or PR or social media.

 Jill Konrath is a salesperson deluxe. You may know her as an author, blogger, strategist or as a featured guest on HubSpot’s blogs and webinars. I love her strategic approach to sales.

In this post, she writes about how she learned to ask questions. For her it was a social tool, as in how-to-date-boys social. (Cute post!) 

As marketers, we must constantly ask questions. Curiosity about your customer and your community drives you to understand who they are, how they think and feel, how you can bring them value and how you might develop meaningful relationships.

Jill reminded me of an incident that made me see sales in a new light. Continue reading

Are You Smart Enough For Marketing?

Marketing intelligenceMaybe you’re overly proud of your towering intellect.

Maybe you’re a little insecure about it.

Don’t be either, if you want to succeed in marketing.

My completely unscientific analysis, after 30 years on the job, shows that people who act like the smartest one in the room usually aren’t quite as bright as they think.  Continue reading

Taking Social Media By The Horns, Where You Live

Josh Wade of Nectar MediaThis post is about a social media conference, in Spokane, Washington.

And the guy who’s presenting it.

And a conference where you live.

And you.

Please read on.

This Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at Spokane’s Red Lion Hotel Convention Center, if you’re lucky enough to have a full day and $149 to invest in your vital continuing business education, you can attend Go Social,  hosted by Nectar MediaContinue reading

For Marketing: Dump The “We” Questions; Ask About “Them”

Marketing must be customer-centered

For questions of marketing strategy, the answers usually begin with the customer.

But what if you’re asking the wrong questions?

Sometimes we’re forced to focus like a laser – on our own problems, objectives and processes. It’s understandable. But it can turn our point of view inward, when we should be focused on the customer.

Here are some inward-looking “we” questions that can lead to the wrong answers, followed by the kinds of questions – about “them,” the customers – that businesses ought to be asking.

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I Need Some WordPress Advice

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

It’s time for a new WordPress theme, and I need your help.

Maybe just some pointers will do.

This old theme has served me well for three years. It was free­ – and worth the price. But I’m taking my blogging a little more seriously now, and want an upgrade.

So I’m asking for your thoughts and advice, both general and specific. Continue reading