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Showing posts from April, 2009

Social Media Ostriches

Given the enormous interest in using social media for business purposes, I've been astounded to hear comments like these at recent conferences:

"That's all really interesting, but I can't access any of the websites you just talked about. My company blocks all access to social media sites."

"We're only allowed to use Facebook and LinkedIn for one hour each day, from noon to 1:00, and we're not supposed to say anything about the company."

"Our network blocks access to any website with 'blog' in the URL."

"The only place our profiles can appear is on our corporate website. We can have a personal Facebook page for sharing family pictures and things like that, but if we say anything about the company we're asked to take it down immediately."

My initial reaction was that these people must work in incredibly retrograde, out-of-touch enterprises. I advised one woman to buy a copy of The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Busi…

Chapeau Blog Awards - Only Two Days Left to Vote!

If you enjoy the coverage on this blog of social media marketing, SEO, online tools and web marketing—as well as occasional off-topic ramble, vacation or home project photos—please cast your vote for WebMarketCentral in the Chapeau Blog Awards today! (Or tomorrow. But that's it. Voting closes on Thursday.)

Many thanks in advance for your support! Hope for change, and all that. Don't take a chance by putting it off, vote today. And tell your friends, your neighbors, your Twitter followers!


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

Best of 2008: Blogging for Business, Part 1

Social Media Relations vs. Traditional PR Skills

The emergence of social media has dramatically changed the role of public relations. While traditional journalists still have significant authority, influence is now more diffused among writers, analysts, bloggers, customers, and other internal and external subject matter experts. As the landscape has shifted from being dominated by one-to-many mass media to many-to-many participatory social media, the skillsets required of PR professionals have changed.

Technical ability—not all that long ago, PR pros' primary tools were email and the phone. Now they need to know how to properly use (from both a technical and etiquette standpoint) all the major tools on the social media landscape, how to produce thought-leadership content, how to put together social media releases, at least a passing knowledge of online video production and sharing, and more.

Conversational style—PR people used to interact primarily with industry journalists. "Pitching" and "spinning" were terms…

The Best of 2008: SEM Landing Page Design

Once you've optimized the list of keywords in your search engine marketing campaign, tweaked the bids and crafted stellar ad text to bring visitors to your site, landing page design is critical to converting those visitors into sales or leads. Here are a few of the best posts about SEM landing page design from last year.

Good and bad landing page examples by CDF Networks

Chad Frederiksen gets right to the point with this brief but helpful post on what separates bad landing page design (e.g., clutter) from good (a clear call to action among other attributes).

Lead Generation Form Optimization Tips and Tricks - Google Analytics by VKI Studios

Darcy Foster explains how to use Google Analytics and Omniture for conversion rate measurement, then provides tips for testing different approaches to improving conversions.

12 PPC landing page tips by Econsultancy

Graham Charlton presents a helpful set of tips for improving landing page conversions such as writing relevant, scannable content; givi…

Social Media - Expertise Without Experience?

Best of 2008: SEO Tools, Part 2

Say No to Bad SEO: SEO Best and Worst Practices

Editor's Note: An edited and condensed version of this post appeared on SEOmoz in January. Here's the original, uncut article.

If your company is thinking about hiring an outside firm for search engine optimization (SEO), please read this post. If you work for one of the many reputable SEO agencies in the market, please have your prospective clients read this post. If, however, you offer the type of SEO "services" described below...then in the immortal words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, you may want to go home and rethink your life.

Search optimizing your website has become an essential part of doing business. In both B2B and consumer markets, most prospective customers will use a search engine at some point in their buying decision process. And most of those searchers will click on at least one of the top organic search results.

Smart business people know that SEO is increasingly critical to the success of their businesses. But most such people aren't SEO experts; they…

These Are The Best Tips and Tactics of 2008 For AdWords

While Google AdWords certainly isn't the only option for Search Engine Marketing (SEM), it's by far the biggest. Search marketers need to get AdWords right before expanding campaigns to Yahoo! Search Marketing, MSN AdCenter or Ask SponsoredListings. Even features unique to AdWords often "migrate" to other services over time, so search engine marketing (SEM) mastery begins with AdWords.

Here are a few of the best blog posts about AdWords from last year, covering topics such as getting results from the content network, using the conversion optimizer, and reporting.

Google Content Network Tips: Optimizing for a content network audience by Inside AdWords

Advice straight from Google's AdWords blog on how to maximize results from the AdWords content network, including: create separate search and content campaigns; develop different ad copy for search and content; and use placement reports to monitor the performance of content network sites and exclude poor performers.


Best of 2008: Social Media Optimization, Part 1

How a Social Media Consultant Can Help Your New Marketing Strategy

Interest in social media marketing is surging, with several recent studies showing that a majority of companies, of all sizes, are now using social media in some form for business purposes. I've also seen dramatically increased interest in hiring social media consultants. But if most companies are already using social media in their marketing/PR mix, why is a consultant necessary? After all, isn't social media primarily about conversations? And aren't those conversations best engaged in by internal subject matter experts? And aren't the tools pretty easy to use?

While the answer to each of those last three questions is "yes," a knowledgeable outside adviser can nevertheless provide significant value, helping companies maximize the value of social media efforts while minimizing costs. If you're inside an organization on the hiring side, here's how a social media consultant can help your firm. If you're a consultant, here's what you have in you…