New Google Website Optimizer Tool and Having Writers Write Your Posts & Ads

August 4, 2009

In other words, when you’re using Google’s Website Optimizer you can have them automatically turn off stuff that don’t work.

If you’re unfamiliar with Website Optimizer, I recently put up a Search Engine Guide post which includes a quick, cool YouTube tutorial. Feel free to read the whole post. I’m still here.

A few notes about the post. If you read it and notice that the writing style is a bit different or just flat out better, there’s a reason for that. I originally wrote the piece, but then handed it to Barb Prindle of Snap Communications who writes for a living to edit the hell out of it (I should have just asked her to re-write it).

Turns out a professional writer who has been in the industry for 16 years after graduating from Carleton College (private college in Northfield, MN) with a journalism degree is a bit better than some guy (me) who blogs a lot about stuff. I’ve been writing for Search Engine Guide since 2005 and why I haven’t used a professional writer is beyond me.

This should be a post on its own, but using a writer to come up with compelling PPC ad content is fantastic as well. A trained writer can learn the basics of using keywords in the ad copy very easily. Plus, wasn’t it (arguably) Mark Twain who wrote “if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”? If you have 25 characters for a title and two lines of 35 characters for a description, I’m going to trust a trained writer.

Long story short, I started using Barb on a PPC campaign and it’s going fantastic. I suppose it also helps when the writer also writes the different landing pages.

One more Kudos goes out to Clint Danks of ThinkSEM. Half of the posts I put up on SEG are from his ideas. I’d give him more link love from the SEG posts themselves (they hold some weight!) but I don’t write nearly as much for them as I would like and don’t want to abuse any powers by giving too much link love from authority sites I have the privilege of contributing to.

Oh, if you missed the SEG article at the top, here ’tis.

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Bro-Sis Photography Marketing Update – May 9th, Rochester – May 18th, Madison

April 30, 2009

This is coming up quick! Both Heather and I are spending a lot of hours on the PowerPoint presentation, and thanks to all of you that have been following the Bro-Sis Photography Marketing project. It’s finally on! We’re giving a dry-run presentation Saturday, May 9 at the Rochester, MN Public Library and it’s on for May 18 in Madison.

Overall agenda? We’re presenting and demystifying  (basically taking the BS out of) search marketing and social media to groups of professional photographers. They’re very smart, great at what they do and they deserve to know how to embrace search marketing and social media.

One part I’ll be speaking on is using social media as an average consumer. Here are a few user-review examples that are included in the presentation:

Dennis Koslowski – Minneapolis Chiropractor
Google Maps User Review

Family Life Chiropractic – San Jose, CA
Yahoo Local User Review

Northwestern Tire and Auto Repair – Minneapolis, MN
CitySearch User Review + using Facebook Connect

One of the finishing slides is this:

One Word: Trust

One Word: Trust

I really like this slide. Someone might do a Google search and find you, but does that mean they trust you? Getting to know you from seeing you on Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs and others can definitely build trust before they view your actual website.

Any thoughts or input?

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Blog Meme December ’08

December 17, 2008

A couple years ago, a lot of blog memes (tag) were going around. I then got tagged to write five things most people didn’t know about me. It was fun to do something like this around the holidays.

It’s been two years since, and Holly Matson from Geary Interactive tagged me yesterday in a new meme.

So here goes. The ante is up. Seven things that most (maybe it’s closer to some) people don’t know about me:


1) I’m a summer wuss and rarely complain about the sub-zero temps like we’re having now because of it.

2) In social media outlets like Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook, I try to act the same online that I would face-to-face (not that this always happens, but I try).

3) I was a borderline child piano prodigy. My oldest sister Tami still plays at 46 and is awesome!

4) At 39, I’m a proud Grand Uncle of the beautiful, three-year-old Alana. Geez, my niece bred before me?

5) I drove the six-plus hours to Chicago to see the Obama election rally/victory speech pretty much for the hell of it (and I had a couple days off). Here are some Flickr sets from election day, election night, and the day after.

6) With that said, I’m actually neither an elephant or donkey. I’m not much into large groups of people telling me how I should think.

7) This last year, I’ve slacked and gained a few pounds which made it really sweet to break both a buckle and strap minutes before the start of the Northshore Inline Marathon. I was happy though to finish respectable at 2h 18m.


That was seven? Sweet! I thought this would have been harder.

Similar to two years ago, I would like to include the Minnesota Wild’s Derek Boogaard playing tag. Here’s him playing nice-nice recently with some dude I’ve never heard of from Dallas.

Since this is a way to get to know people better, I figure the seven people I tagged would be some I’ve connected with on Twitter, but haven’t actually met face-to-face. So, here’s seven:

Sheldon Mains
Nelima K
Liz Giel
Erik Magraken – hockey fan and attorney from Victoria, BC. Very cool!
Tom Pick
Sam Glover
John Breyault

Tell us yer’ story! 🙂

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Bro-Sis Photography Marketing Update – Our Marketing Package Title, Facebook Ads, and a New Newsletter

September 11, 2008

Every time I post regarding the Bro-Sis photography marketing project, I think there’s nothing to say. It turns out there is quite a bit, especially since it’s been awhile. We’ve both been busy with other priorities.

First, we do have a description and an almost-finished title for those who will be attending our speaking engagements. Tentatively, we’re shooting for January 1 to be ready. Here’s a fun little email exchange we had this morning regarding the title:

Heather: “How To Make the Internet Your Marketing Bitch”. What do you think?

Me: I honestly absolutely love that title.

Heather: As much as I love the name, I think we’ll have to tone it down a bit for certain audiences. Any ideas?

Me: How about “How To Make the Interwebz Your Marketing Biznatch”? I find that “biznatch” is a more polite way of saying “bitch”.

Heather: Did Danielle (our niece) teach you that?

So, we need to change the word “bitch” to something that relates to photography and results. Any suggestions? Feel free to reply!

Heather’s also decided to start running Facebook CPC ads. Originally, she’s going to target married Madison females ages 24 and up and will set a daily cap. It looks like this will go out to around 1500 Facebook users.

This may be a broad demographic. If she’s reaching her daily cap too early, she’s ready to use tags to target mothers, children, and religious interests which apparently knocks this down to around 80 Facebook users. We’ll keep you posted of the results.

Heather also sent out a Constant Contact email to current clients with new information regarding the Tin Shed pictoblog, the Tin Shed Facebook page, her new Web site, as well as a notes about her infant son Carver and the Operation Smile campaign. The newsletter was sent out today and already half of them were opened.

Today, she also filled out a “local information” document I sent to her to fully display her in many local profile sites including Google and Yahoo Local, and different Internet Yellow Pages. So, I’ll be pretty busy submitting the listings. 🙂

In the meantime, check out her consulting blog. Turns out that Mazomanie, WI (where her studio is) hit the big time.

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Exciting New Bro-Sis Project with Real-Time Updates

July 28, 2008

Some of you already know that I wear many hats. I run and this blog, am employed with along with their niche paper shredders site, do some search/local/social contracting with a few regulars, and occasionally take clients who find me through search.

Normally, I wouldn’t announce a new project but this one is unique. It’s with my sister Heather, and will involve photography along with all sorts of marketing from direct mail, print, alliance, search, local, social, and speaking engagements (gulp).

It so happens that Heather has redirected to a new site at and is a fantastic portrait photographer, has an incredible marketing mind of her own and has an established client base just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. She has marketing skills that I do not have, and I have marketing skills that she does not have. Perfect synergy.

The cool thing is it looks like we’ll be having a blog (TBA), along with different social media portals where we can publicly display our accomplishments in close to real-time. This will most likely include the fantastic, good, bad, ugly, and fugly. I’m liking this and we both look forward to sharing this with you in real-time.

Feel free to friend Heather on her new Facebook page. Her Flickr account is just now active and we’ll send out updates once it’s full of different pictures.

And… because I’m so proud of my sis, here’s a picture of her and her beautiful baby, Carver. Many congrats to both Heather and her husband, Kevin.

Heather and Carver

Heather and Carver

Photo credit to Jackie Cooper

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Heading to the National Conference for Media Reform – 2008

June 5, 2008

NCMR 2008

Staring this Friday, I will be attending the three-day National Conference for Media Reform at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

A very general premise of this conference is to gather thousands of journalists, activists, lawmakers, and just about anyone who wants to listen and talk about making media better, how the Internet media has come into play, and where the media is today and where it can be going. It’s pretty exciting actually as there will be 300 presenters and 3,000 attendees.

This is a far cry from Internet and Search Marketing conferences that many of us have probably attended. No presenter here is going to be talking about anchor text, rankings (I hate that word), cost per conversion (I like that phrase), Quality Score, Technorati, MyBlogLog, Sphinn, Pay-Per-Call, or the three letter acronyms that many of us drool over; SEO, PPC, and ROI.

Matt Cutts won’t be at this conference. Neither will Danny Sullivan. However, Dan Rather, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Moyers will all be there presenting either sessions or keynotes.

There will be many topics ranging from media policy and activism to alternative journalism (blogging) and the future of interactive media.

What will be talked about in certain sessions and is the biggest reason why I’m attending is blogging, user-generated media, social media on the Web, Net Neutrality (that’s huge in my book), Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media opportunities.

What I really like is that these presenters won’t be talking about how to incorporate social media with search marketing. They will be talking about their own respective media industries and how they use social media. I can guarantee I’ll be walking out of these sessions thinking “why didn’t I think of that?!”. Learning more about services you offer from different perspectives is a fantastic way to understand them from the client’s point of view.

A few must-see sessions:

Newspapers: Not Dead Yet? – It’s no big surprise that print newspapers have been in decline. Who’s to blame? The Internet, corporate greed, or mismanagement? I’m pretty low key but something tells me I’ll have some audience input during the Q & A’s.

Online and Offline: Connecting the Grassroots and the Netroots – This will probably be a political session and I would bet that there will be an Obama success story in there. I can absolutely see taking some of these concepts and applying it to local search. After all, local search is about getting people away from their computer (netroots) and to a physical, business door (grassroots).

Future of the Internet: Open, Neutral, Mobile and Ubiquitous – A few readers of this blog know how much of a proponent of Net Neutrality I am and don’t believe big telco and cable giants should be able to screw small businesses who have success online by “offering” multi-tiered Internet access solutions, especially when this thought is backed by an out of touch Senator from Alaska who thinks that the Internet is a series of tubes.

Organizing for Change on the Social Web – This one will most likely be political too, but they will be specifically talking about the effects of social media opportunities such as Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube. I’m really looking forward to get a non-search marketing view on how these opportunities have worked. That’s when the light bulbs really start shining over my noggin.

Regarding the social Web, the conference itself and organizers, Freepress, aren’t slouches. If you look at the conference home page, you’ll notice that they encourage users to tag the site on social sites such as Flickr or YouTube with the tag “NCMR2008”, which I have tagged on this entry. They also have a horizontal Flickr stream on the top of the site. If you’re on Facebook, you can also see their own Facebook NCMR page.

A few side notes:

It normally wouldn’t make since to go to a conference like this, but the Minneapolis Convention Center is a whopping 10 blocks from me and the cost for the whole three days is under 200 bucks! That’s a no-brainer in my book. Search marketing conferences are close to 2k.

There will be plenty of bed-wetting elephants and donkeys at the conference. I’m pretty sure I won’t be schmoozing with them. I’m there to learn, not to bitch. 😉

I won’t be doing any liveblogging, but will hopefully give nightly updates of the events each day. Monday will come around too soon so I better get the posts in while I have time.

Are any of you attending? If so, let’s hook up and chat. Or, if you have any questions you’d like answered, let me know and I will certainly do my best to accommodate.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll think of the readers here while I’m geeking out for the entire time. 🙂

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Blogging Meetup Next Monday

February 26, 2008

The folks at Small Business Mavericks have created a Minnesota meetup group for area bloggers and those who want to know more about blogging, and have officially announced the first blast-off get-together in Plymouth on Monday, March 3.

I always enjoy these get-togethers, mainly because it gets you away from your computer where you can have fun talking to people w/ similar interests. Hopefully that huge group (ok, 3 of us) who attends “blogger hour” will be in attendance. 🙂

I might actually be in Rochester that day. If so, it looks like I’ll miss this first one but will definitely make future meetups.

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Favorite Minnesota Posts/Blogs/Sites of the Week

November 13, 2007

Sticking with the Minnesota theme again… is up and running. Its premise is to provide great journalism and news for those who care about Minnesota. It’s a non-profit print/Web/blog, accepts donations, and has been quite the buzz the last couple of months. Something tells me this will be a daily visit.

For those unfamiliar with Jason DeRusha, he’s a WCCO reporter who is very popular in the Twin Cities blogging community. On his WCCO video blog, there’s a hilarious, yet ingenious and informative video regarding Jason, Surly beer, and the MacKenzie Pub in Minneapolis.

A little late on this, but Karen Sams from the MIMA blog writes about the annual Summit’s success.

I took some cool knowledge from the MIMA summit and am glad to see the sold-out turnout. Also, I was able to make some really cool connections with industry peeps that may help us out at the FT job, one of which a couple of us are meeting for lunch Thursday in Eagan.

Speaking of Eagan and currently playing on iTunes: Jesus of Suburbia – Green Day

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Blogger Hour – Calling All Twin Cities & Minnesota Bloggers!

June 7, 2007

A few of us met tonight at the Ridgedale Champps over dinner on what we initially dubbed “blogger hour”. It was basically myself plus the cool minds of Aaron Weiche and Patrick Schaber.

It was fun. We enjoyed a dinner and a drink, chatted about stuff like podcasts, RSS, video marketing, Twitter, beer, endurance sports that only Aaron’s wife can pull off, etc. I certainly got to learn a few of those things that I should just automatically know.

Then we thought “why not expand this?”. There are a lot of great bloggers in the area. The City Pages does have a small list of them (ok, HUGE list). It would be a great way to meet new people while getting to blog-talk whether it’s about marketing, techy, blogging in general, or most importantly, just about “stuff”.

Aaron and Patrick may post about this as well. Any takers?

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YouTube “Related” Videos – Sex is Doing Some Selling

June 6, 2007

Sometimes I like to post YouTube videos in blog posts, partly for relevancy and partly for humor.

In a recent post regarding print Yellow Pages, I included a YouTube video based on a Monty Python skit. At the end of it, you now see this.

Soft porn brought to you by YouTube

It basically points you to this video (it’s pretty harmless PG-13, but you might not want to play it at work).

For this blog, it’s harmless and I suppose sex sells. What about a corporate blog that utilizes YouTube? Would a related video like this help or hurt?

Since the YouTube video was a Monty Python skit, a video like this is probably more likely to appear. Another related video does show the “PC vs Mac” commercial, which is pretty funny in itself.

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