To Blog or not to Blog – Part Two

29 04 2009

Two of us were talking at the coffee maker about how you can generate ideas for your blog.  For us, we’ve been keeping a list, and when something hits us we write it down.  However, that doesn’t seem to be a very organized or targeted way to generate ideas, so while scanning the internet, we came across this great link to help you generate ideas for your blog:

http://www.ceoblogwatch.com/2009/02/03/blog-ideas-for-2009/

They have compiled a great list of resources, and we felt obligated to share the wealth! 

Happy Wednesday!





To blog or not to blog. For that is the question (or at least Hamlet thought so.)

28 04 2009

Blog most foul, …

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your blog.

 

Everyone has a blog.  Personal, not personal, business related, not business related.  Do you?  People tell you, “get one, your business needs it!”  Really?  Then tell me why, then how! 

 

Here is the why:

 

  • 1. Are you listening to your customers? Are you Googling what is being said about your company? Blogging gives you the opportunity to get your message, or brand, or perspective out there.
  • 2. Is your message, or thoughts unique? – How will your message, or messages be different and thought provoking?
  • 3. Can you say it? – Can you be honest, challenge the thoughts out there?
  • 4. You will be criticized, and you will be challenged. Can you take it? Can you respond in a respectful manner?
  • 5. Can you commit the time? Blogging is not a one or two hour a week prospect. It takes time and people hours. One person cannot do it alone.

 

Here is the how (Our 10 thoughts for a professional blog):

 

  • 1. Your blog needs to be hosted on its own domain (yes, we’ve broken our first rule, but we are fixing this)
  • 2. Spend some cash for a professional layout (it won’t cost that much) and ties with your corporate look and feel.
  • 3. Have at least ten subjects ready to go before you launch, and a deep reservoir of ideas in reserve. This will keep you moving forward and sticking to #4.
  • 4. Decide on a posting schedule, and stick to it – two to three a week should work just fine.
  • 5. Know your purpose for blogging, and don’t blog just to blog. you don’t want to have people come to your site and realize it’s stale content (we are still working on this)
  • 6. Make sure your blog platform is SEO friendly (if you don’t know what this means, you need to call us!)
  • 7. Allow your followers to RSS feed your blog.
  • 8. If linking to another article, make sure that link works. Large print organizations, for example WSJ and NYT, require an account to read their articles. Bad links are bad.
  • 9. Get a few in your organization to commit to blogging, this will keep your content fresh and the responsibility for content on more than just one person.
  • 10. Keep it honest and real; don’t use it as a company sales pitch or brochure.

 

Speak the speech <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speak_the_speech>  …

Purpose is but the slave to memory,

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

                                — Hamlet





YouTube: The good, the bad and the ugly. Or, the power of social media.

20 04 2009

Last week was an interesting week in the internet world.  It was definitely a combination of the good, the bad and the ugly on how the power of social media can affect a brand, push a cause or create an insta-celebrity.

Let’s talk about the goodSusan Boyle.  Recognize the name?  She was the 40ish year old woman who took a risk on “Britain’s Got Talent”.  As she stepped on to the stage and into the spotlight you could see the looks of disdain on the judges’ and audience’s faces, i.e. Simon Cowell.  She then stated she had “never been kissed, lives with her cat .  The audience and judges were incredulous.  As soon as she started to sing, she blew them all away.  By the end of her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” the entire audience and judges were standing on their feet.  In 48 hours, she was on YouTube with more than 3,000,000 views, had spoken to most of the mainstream US and British press and now has the top odds in winning “Britain’s Got Talent”.  She rocketed to insta-stardom through the internet in less than 48 hours after posting of her video.  Rumor has it that she has a recording contract with Simon Cowell’s company (acerbic judge on American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent) regardless of how she fares on the talent show.  Wall Street Journal encapsulates why we are so enamored with her story here:  The Susan Boyle Bubble – Digits – WSJ

The BadDominos.  A video posted to the horror of all germaphobes who have always guessed what goes on in the back of the restaurant with food, but had no evidence.  These two employees posted ‘the nasty things you can do with your customer’s food video on YouTube for their friend’s entertainment.  It went viral and over a million people in less than 48 hours had seen it.  According to the two employees who videotaped themselves, it was a prank.  What wasn’t a prank was their firing from Dominos, the fast response of the food and health inspector and the charges that were filed against these two idiots.  Google them, you can see their mug shots online.  Dominos responded back to the gross out video with a response from their President, Patrick Doyle.  Unfortunately, it received less than 300,000 views on YouTube.  Dominos also quickly filed a civil lawsuit against these two yahoos for “lost sales”.   Can you even quantify the amount of brand damage these two ex-employees created?  High marks for Dominos for their fast response to the “brand emergency”.  For a quick timeline on Domino’s response to the PR nightmare see:   Domino’s nightmare holds lessons for marketers – USATODAY.com

The UglyCNN and Ashton Kutcher Twitter wars.  From ugly to eventually good, the race was on for 1 million twitter followers.  Kutcher promised to donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day in late April if he bested CNN, and 1,000 if he lost. The cable news network agreed to do the same.  Then Larry King posted his own video response, as noted by this CNN article on Ashton Kutcher.  In the following news storm, it’s been written that Ashton Kutcher was the first to leverage Twitter and social media as a whole for the benefits of social change.  Do you agree?   

What still remains ugly, Oprah started her twitter account… Now that Oprah is twittering, is this death for Twitter?





Fun and Games Friday

17 04 2009

It’s Friday!  Which means, your office is probably only ½ full of your coworkers, and you are looking for something to do, or rather… a place to goof off.

We here at Formic would like to help, so we would like to offer up our top 10 list of best places on the web to waste time (besides Facebook and Twitter).  Yes, you all web-waste and you know it!

For your consideration and surfing activities, here is our snazzy list:

  • www.perezhilton.com – sassy, SASSY gossip blog by the queen of all media.
  • www.disapprovingrabbits.com – thought provoking captions attached to cute bunny pictures.
  • www.hotornot.com – this is self explanatory – Hot or Not?
  • www.youtube.com – seriously, you know you want to see clips from Drew Carey’s “whose line is it anyway?”
  • Do you miss the original Pacman? Pine away for Donkey Kong? Then surf on over to http://www.ultimatearcade.com . You can find classic games built in flash and the like, there are also new games added each week.
  • www.cuteoverload.com – too much cuteness contained in one website. Don’t explode from the fuzzy cuteness that abounds.
  • http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/all/ – seriously, some of the best postings to craigslist of all times. You will realize that four hours has gone by in seconds. Then your boss comes around the corner and you are kind of screwed. Whoops.
  • “Ugh, who was that one guy in that one movie”… http://www.imdb.com/ rules for this kind of burning question. More time has been burned here just researching that latest water cooler question “who was that guy who was in “the Fast and the Furious”‘?
  • Are snow sports your thing? Get cheap gear at www.tramdock.com and watch for new deals as soon as the last one sells out! Just keep refreshing your page until the newest deal comes up…it’s fun and can take hours. More daily deals: www.steepandcheap.com.
  • Gadget-y deals: www.woot.com.

With that said, don’t bother us (we are very busy) – we are playing Donkey Kong.

See you on Monday!





Welcome to Tweetsville

15 04 2009

In our last few blog postings Formic has talked about social media.  What is it, how can you use it effectively and how can you tie it into your overall marketing strategy?  Hopefully we have answered a few of those over arching questions for you, but we would like to take it a step further and talk about a few of our favorite social media hot spots.  Today, let’s talk about Twitter.

Let’s Twitter!

You have heard the talk, but not quite sure what it is.  What’s a tweet?  Why should I tweet.  How can it keep me in touch with my customers?  What are the rules of good, effective tweeting?

  • 1. Learn about Twitter. Get an account, lurk for a while and get a feel of the environment. See what other small businesses (or larger) are tweeting about. Follow some people that you know in your industry, market or perhaps something that you do outside of “work”. See who your followers and those you follow are following – then follow all those that apply to your business goals and objectives. I tend to be a news junkie, and most of my favorite reporters and journalists are online with Twitter accounts. I started following them and seeing how they tweet and respond to other tweets. And to be honest, I asked my 17 year old and her friends what it was all about. Don’t have a teenager? I’ll loan you mine for a small fee.
  • 2. Decide why you want to Twitter? Have a strategy in place. Travis Campbell of Small Business Internet Solutions.com has come up with some great rules of the road for a small business to hop on the Twitter on-ramp http://smallbizinternetsolutions.com/rules-of-using-twitter-for-business/ . Having a simple strategy or goal in place as to what and why you want to twitter for your business is a great place to start. Twittering just for twitter’s sake can ruin your brand.
  • 3. How can Twitter keep me in touch with my customers? The blogosphere, ecommerce and the internet in general is a pretty impersonal place to be. Tweeting unique, newsworthy and special things about you and your business keeps your customers interested. You can interact and find out what they are thinking. How is this important? We all know the cable giant Comcast and how badly perceived their customer service has been blogged, reported, listed and the like. Comcast chose to fight the perceptions online using the same resources that their customers were using on the internet. Comcast responds to customer complaints via Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. They have done a pretty good job turning around a pretty bad perception of poor customer service, while reworking their brand by using customer interaction.
  • 4. Be a good tweeter: Be careful not to over tweet or people will start to get annoyed and tune your messages out, and certainly watch what you are tweeting. See rule number two – stick to your strategy and goals.

Here are a few other articles that can help you develop your own plan for “Tweeting”:

And don’t forget to add us to your follow list:

Happy Tweeting!





A Small Business Can Do More, With Less

13 04 2009

“Ringing the cash register” or bringing in new clients is undoubtedly what makes or breaks the bottom line for any business and particularly those of small to medium-sized businesses.    However, getting your target audience to become aware of your product or business offering takes quality marketing, which costs big dollars. But here’s the catch.  If you are a small to medium sized company without an in-house marketing department and a small expendable income to dedicate to marketing your business, how do you stretch a limited budget and get the most out of each dollar?

The answer is simple, move your advertising dollars online.  In this case, less really is more.  Below, take look at the top roadblocks that small business owners report they are facing today, according to a poll of US marketers by Bredin Business Information.

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Many of these challenges would be scalable for a larger business, backed with millions of dollars in funding and the ability to utilize all advertising mediums from direct mail to TV ads.  However, over 90% of all businesses in the United States are small to mid-sized companies with much smaller budgets.  By using online marketing tactics, small businesses (SMBs) can still achieve influential results and send a powerful message to their target audience, without emptying out their pocket books.  Online marketing strategies are highly measurable and designed to target customers even more effectively, so that advertising dollars are spent more wisely.

In 2009, the switch to online marketing efforts is already on the rise and trending significantly upwards.

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Headquartered in Portland, OR, Formic Media, Inc. was designed specifically for the +90% of businesses in America today – your small to mid-sized business.  Formic Media offers customized Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and Pay-Per-Click advertising packages designed to get your business better results for much less.









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