Why I Love Negative News

Allot of bloggers dislike negativity blogging. What I mean is that I tend to see more success stories than tales of failure and despair. When it comes to trashy criticisms of value judgments, I too don't like them and can do without.

"Try this SEO Reseller Program from Rowe Digital."

I just finished reading an article entitled It Pays to Provide Support with Social Media. It covered customer service and social media. But, it only listed how great a tool this medium is for a business. I believe articles like this are, of course, useful and interesting; but, i'm concerned about the lack of articles about the negative impact or lack of ROI from social media and other internet marketing mediums.

The mass interest of the people is of "possibilities," not limitations, and seems to have caused bloggers to write about these possibilities. The final reaction in this positive-news-chain is a lack of realistic expectations about utilizing internet-marketing mediums. Many business owners are viewing it as indispensable to their marketing efforts, when, for many companies, this is far from the truth.

All I'm saying, is that I would love to read about internet marketing failures and disasters. And, our desires to only hear the positive isn't always helpful. Finally, these macabre stories could prove beneficial to companies. I love learning from others mistakes and, at times, place it at the foundation of the learning pyramid.

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Driving Me Crazy: Experience causing unnecessary fear and doubt

Seasoned managers and employees can be overly cautious when developing or proposing a project, worrying about minuet details as if they were life or death situations. These "Gurus" sometimes develop theories about how situations should be handled, based on shallow (meaning one or two experiences) or negative experiences. The problem is they don't gauge the severity of the negative effects and the probability of it occurring.

This short and possibly familiar scenario, in a way, demonstrates the above concept.

Driving Me Crazy 

(Grandma and grandson are driving down a wide open road on their way to the granddaughter's ballet recital)

Grandson: Grandma... We're on an open road. Why are you driving so slow?

Grandma: Better safe than sorry

Grandson: Sorry for what?

Grandma: I don't want to get into an accident

Grandson: Ugh! We'll be fine Grandma
Grandma: You kids are never cautious

(The car pulls up to an intersection with a stop sign)

Grandson: Grandma! You can go now
Grandma: I'm waiting for that car

Grandson: It's not even close to us
Grandma: Better safe then sorry

Grandson: We've got to get to the recital before it starts
Grandma: Oh! We won't get there if we're dead


Grandson: GO! GO! GO!

Grandma: I once hit a car because they rushed to pull out

Grandson: I doubt the car that you hit was this far back. You've got enough time to go
Grandma: Oh, don't worry about it

(Other car passes and they turn right onto the next road)

Grandma: See... We're ok. It wasn't worth the risk

Grandson: Grandma, I love ya, but you're driving me crazy
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Finding a Niche: My New Blog for Science Communication

You've heard it a million times over: find your niche for blogging. I've done just that. For my latest blog I've teamed up with a friend, Max Englander, a recent graduate from Cornell University in Philosophy, to write about topics in Science Communication: writing, presentations, journalism, editing. I have some experience in editing peer-reviewed articles and presentation design with a researcher from Cornell and Max is one of the smartest and most dedicated people I've meet at that University.

I've also been talking with a few friends from Cornell's science department about contributing articles. 

Check out the blog at allsciencecommunication.blogspot.com. Read More!

Keywords... Glorious Keywords: Tell a Story and a Little More

Search Engine Land posted a useful article suggesting a technique for brainstorming keywords. The premise behind the technique is that during the initial brainstorming session, some important words can be missed, with this comes missed opportunity.

This is glorious! "Tell a story," wrote bgTheory, a company dedicated to PPC education & training. I think this idea is glorious because of it's simplicity and accuracy. When people are searching an entire context is amid. And, this context contains different words to describe what is needed for the solution.

Geddes states the story has four layers, or "keyword types:" Explicit, problem, solution and product name/number. Here is his a screen-shot from his article, explaining
Again, I think this is glorious. But, I want to add one category: "general solution." I know when I'm on the information hunt, many times I know the general solution to fix the problem, but not the specific. I believe there is some serious traffic potential from words found under these keywords/phrases. Read More!

Link Marketing for SEO: Getting Those .edu's:

Getting links to your website or specific pages is tricky. And, some strategies can be uncertain or costly: link bating, creating viral content and press releases are a few examples. 

Find a Freelance SEO Expert to help, but I suggest volunteering for an educational institution. On-campus research facilities might find use for your companies resources. Obviously, one link isn't worth time-consuming volunteer work. If you are already contributing, ask for a link on their site.

Also, offer internships positions with as many Universities/colleges, and schools in those institutions, as you handle. Many times, they will create links to your website on the internship pages. You can take it further by making a section of your website giving students suggestions for getting internships and getting a job.

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new writing: screw those cap's

i've notice that many writers are nixing the capital letter. this isn't in all mediums, mainly, it seems prevalent in graphic designers' websites, blogs and some advertisements. i love how it changes the physical appearance of the piece. also, lower case letters are easier to read, decreasing reading time. but, what about clarity?

there are a wealth of situations when the cap' is useful: influencing word meaning and feeling.

first, proper nouns can get lost in a sentence. especially if the proper noun is also a verb, confusion can ring-in. an example is:
no caps:
he looked to grant dick for the young lady's guidance

He looked to Grant Dick for the young lady's guidance
ok, that might be extreme. but, please look past the lewd and see the concept.

using en dashes might reduce confusion with long proper nouns, letting the reader know that the words are all one part of a whole.

as for a word's feeling, a word with all caps can create a powerful emphasis: a written yell. it could be argued that quotation marks are a substite. but, quotes can be awkward when used too much. take a look at this site. it has examples of bad use of quotations. some hilarious, some stupid. 

overall, the confusion is minimal and not frequent. and, surely, creativity is important. the most frequent uses of capitals are heavily useful, but unnecessary: beginning of a sentence, after quotations, after a colon if it's an independent clause. so, i say, use this refreshing style.
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Motion Charting: How Long I can Tolerate Her Complaining

This is a motion chart from Google Documents, with four focal points: tolerance, annoyance shown, actual annoyance and length of time. And, each circle are different things i've heard girlfriends complain about: parents, friends, work, school. There's a correlation here! Notice that over a few year I seem to have less tolerance of all complaints, but some less than others.

Set the "colors" to Unique and the "size" to Annoyed Actual.

This was a fun way to learn motion charting
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South Park Craps Out Mouth: Do Marketers do the Same?

Turns out that you can find wisdom in anything. This clip from South Park has a valuable lesson for all marketers. Stop spitting crap out of your mouth! And, this crap is getting spewed from a lack of knowing, or a gap in information.

Follow Cartmen's logic. It's obvious to most of us that there's something missing (e.g. knowing the digestive process). Well, when there is something unknown in business, the same situation can occur: it could be not knowing the competition, audience, product, or the medium. And, lately people don't seem to understand the medium they're using, more than anything else.

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Attention to Detail

"I have attention to detail." I've heard this phrase many times. But, I'm not certain that people understand its meaning, or they use it loosely.

All it means is doing the job/task the right way and having the experience to understand common mistakes. If you don't have "attention to detail," you're doing it (what ever it is) wrong.
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Generation M2: Interviews with 8-18s About Media Use

This video contains interviews with several youths about how they spend time on the net.

I certainly multitask while page skimming, but not like these kids. How can an average internet advertisement reach this market, even if these kids are almost always interacting with the media. Advergames might hold their attention long enough to create a meaningful interaction.
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Funniest Animation Promoting Condom Use

I'm not sure where this ad comes from, but who cares. It's hilarious!

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Tim Ferriss on Building Traffic to a Blog

Tim Ferriss, if you don't already know, is a best selling author for the Four Hour Work Week, Princeton graduate and popular blogger. I enjoy reading his blog and, when I get a chance, watching videos of his presentations. In this presentation, at WordCamp San Francisco, in 2009, Ferriss tells his secrets to becoming a successful blogger, covering the topics of search engine optimization (SEO), research, writing and others.

One, not moderately interesting, point he addresses are reasons to blog. Which I find is the same reasons why I'm blogging, to generate feedback and interesting contacts. I think of it as going to a bar, but filtering out conversations you don't want to have.

Not in the order Ferriss uses, he heavily focuses on blog writing, referencing Tucker Max, another best selling author. A few interesting points are: developing a voice( Alex Kotloqitz, Norma Sims and Hunter S. Thompson are masters at introducing voice into there writing); don't write what the reader wants because they don't know what they will like; and don't write for SEO in the first draft.

Here is an example of writing for SEO and writing only for SEO, on the topic of Utica Club beer
Only SEO:
Utica Club beer
is a XX pure pilsener-beer. And, there are no other Utica Club like beers that will taste like Utica Club. Utica Club uses the best hops, for Utica Clubs robust flavor.

Utica Club beer goes through two filtering processes, to create it's robust flavor. That's why we call it a XX pure pilsener-beer. Try to find a comparable pilsener! I dare ya.
Some people might overuse key words and produce excessive bold text for the purpose of indexing. You do want to consider how the body copy is indexed; but, your readers won't come back if you're writing drivel.

As for research, Ferriss list some quality resources for gathering both quantitative and qualitative data/feedback. If you don't want to watch his video, and to make it easy for you, here are the links: slinkset.com, twitter.com (primary research), crazyegg.com and Google Analytics. He mentions others, but these are fantastic resources.

Lastly (but not finally), he advises on the organization and inclusion of the many facets of a blog (e.g. RSS feeds, Labels, etc.). This is something I haven't focused on enough. Please! Include a Tag Cloud or category system in your blog. It will improve your pages Click Through Rate (CTR). I mention this because it's a new revelation to me. And, damn it! It works.

If you're not familiar with some of the terms he uses, email me with any questions, and I'll gladly explain or define anything from Ferriss's presentation.

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Below the Line Advergames

The cliché of the day for advergames using education in their structure and content is Below the Line (BTL) advergames. That's right! edutainment and branding has come together.

Kellogg's game Tutankhamun and Zookeeper are archetypes for these. Tutankhamun, as you can imagine, takes gamers on an adventure through the tomb of Tutankhamun, searching for artifacts in a, James Bond like, first-person view. To progress from stage to stage, the player must find trinkets and tools used by ancient Egyptians (artifacts I studied in college level Art History).

Kellogg's uses a different structure for Zookeeper, providing videos of animals and quizzes about the content. Also, the advergame websites goes beyond the usual, play my game and remember my logo, site. It seems to create a genuine educational experience, not just a marketing ploy. There are links to search for local zoos and a contest awarding participants an animal adoption at a participating zoo (who doesn't want to take a lion home), receiving free tickets and a certificate.

Personally, I like how Kellogg's branding is integrated. Logos aren't plastered on every rock and flag in sight (Cadbury's Cream Eggs' gaming efforts are the worst example I've found), they're sparsely placed in both games. Of course logos and other branding is necessary, but don't kill us guys. Zookeeper incorporates logos on the corner of pages, on printable-certificates awarded and on loading-windows when pages are coming up. They've also worked popular Kellogg's-color-schemes into the game. Clever! The reds and yellows used in advertising are integrated with the words and layouts. The word Zookeeper is yellow and flags on the main page are red. Other examples exist, but these two are my favorite.

When to use BTL Advergames
One instance when using this format can be useful is if children are involved. There's a growing mass of criticisms for advertising towards these young influencers and consumers. And, when using games to reach them, the criticisms are the worse. Even Steve Easterbrook, CEO of Mcdonald's UK, is noted for raising an eyebrow to the negative effects of gaming.

Also, if you want to educate the audience about a complicated product, this format is straight. Edutainment can provoke an interest in complicated features, by giving relevant rewards. I envision this working for companies like EMS and Northface. When I was looking for hiking boots for my trip to the Andie mountains, the different features and benefits could have easily drove me insane, if I wasn't already familiar with them. And, good luck getting the audience to recall a dozen features from an interstitial or banner ad. A BTW, ideally, can hold attentions long enough for retention of several product facets.

Above the Line (ATL) and Through the Line (TTL) games are two other formats. But I wanted to focus on BTL for now. Advergames are intriguing to me, so I'll certainly find myself writing future posts about them.
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Seth Godin on Online Traffic

This is an interesting post from Seth Godin's blog. Well, the post itself isn't interesting, but the links are. These two websites can compare traffic between sites: Complete.com and Quantcast. Read More!

Gapminder: Making World-Statistics Dynamic

Gapminder.org is creating dynamic quantitative-data from years of statistics.

I would love to see Pew Internet Research incorporate this method to explain some of the statistics on their website. Read More!