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An excerpt from “And then there’s this”

Something I wish every person that sits behind the steering wheel of a brand would really, REALLY think about. It’s so apparent to us and so disheartening when it’s not apparent to them.

“Think about just this wrinkle: through the Internet, our microcultures all now have watercoolers of their own, and the social pressure within those cultures to rally around common cultural products can be far greater than in the old, offline world. Also: our microcultures, being available online to membership by everyone at all times, can become magnets for huge followings – at which point, arguably, they are not so “micro” anymore.”

Page 55. Bill Wasik wrote the book. Published by Viking.

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Twitter Twisdom

Whether you’ve been using Twitter since Justin Bieber was in diapers, or you’ve been avoiding it at all costs, I think it’s time for us to collectively nod in agreement that the social media site is powerful and useful. When it’s used correctly, that is. This late in the game, it can be difficult to understand what steps […]

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Measure twice, cut once

Pardon the shoptalk, but when brainstorming headlines for this post, I couldn’t help but come back to this adage. I guess it could be all the blue-collar marketing stuff on my plate right now. More than likely though, it’s just the raw power of such a short, memorable line.

In fact, I’d bet my right-handed hammer on it that that’s the reason.

We all know this idea, measuring twice and cutting once, applies when working in the shop, when one needs precise measurements for a plank that needs to be an exact size. But what about other aspects of life and business…like marketing your brand online? How important is measurement amidst the endeavor of effectively marketing a brand on the worldwide interweb?

For the first time in marketing history, we can effectively and efficiently measure just how hard our dollars, and ideas, are working. Google Analytics,, Campaign Monitor, firsthand evidence (personally seeing 30 comments on a Facebook post), etc. are just a few cost-effective (if not free) tools that can help us measure our brand’s footprint on the web. Such insights will then act as brand blueprints for marketing moving forward. It’ll help you with decisions like channels, frequency and messaging.

Today, simply being on the web or having your brand online doesn’t get the job done. It might have five or ten years ago. But it doesn’t now. Almost everyone at this point can say their brand is online. It’s the marketers who act as students, constantly learning from what their measurement tools are telling them, that makes for successful case studies. Sadly, there are many that don’t pay attention to the metrics that are sitting there right in front of them. Talk about low-hanging fruit! It really doesn’t get much easier than this. But, more than likely, marketers who aren’t taking advantage of such trends have a good reason. Like they’re just not sure this web stuff is for them or their brand. They’re simply too busy during the day to worry about such trends. They’re a B2B company and the web isn’t a professional-enough approach for them. I say to them, what measurement can you provide on that monthly $2K golf budget? Think about that while sitting in front of your typewriter. Discuss that over your two-martini lunch.

Good measurement drives good content. Good measurement drives steady success. You can either listen to what your consumers are saying, adjusting your message and delivery methods as you evaluate again and again, or you can just keep feeding the monster with your earplugs in. I recommend embarking with the former as revealing successes and failures will help you communicate fancy stuff like ROI at that Monday marketing meeting. This will likely get you a raise which will likely land you in the corner office which will likely get you more vacation days which will likely provide you time to search for endangered sea turtles AND build that nonprofit you’ve been thinking about which will…you get the point. From the get go, with good measurement, you’ll look, and you’ll be marketing, really smart. You really can’t take your brand digital without it.


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Simple steps to increase your blog following

There are so many blogs out there.
I don’t want to commit to something that is just going to add to the noise.

If this is currently your perception regarding the act- nay, the art– of blogging, then you are unfortunately misinformed. Yes, there is an abundance of blogs on the WWW. Plenty of stay-at-home moms are rattling off posts during nap time about make-your-own laundry soap and gluten-free cinnamon rolls as you read this. But blogging is more than that- and this article will help you get on track. Following these tips will transform your blog into a real company asset.

As a business owner, having the mindset of “there are enough blogs out there,” or “I have nothing unique to contribute,” is a blatant contradiction of your company, isn’t it? If you don’t even have anything unique to say, why should anyone think that your products stand out from the competition?

The Three Essential Components:

What is all really comes down to, is producing consistent, interesting, and applicable content. A post that is consistent and interesting, but not applicable, is not going to be viewed often unless a reader wants to kill time.  If your posts are consistent and applicable, but not interesting, then there is not enough substance that will attract readers and captivate their attention. Finally, posts that are interesting and applicable, yet lacking consistency, are unreliable to read. If someone keeps checking back to scan new posts- and continue to find that you fail to push out new content, that reader will move on to a more dependable source.

So how do you get your blog up to this level? Writing isn’t easy. It takes time and strategy. But it’s fairly simple, especially if you have a clear brand image (or vision), knowledge of the kind of content you should be including (namely, keywords), and the motivation to stick with it.

Immediate Benefits

Think of how beneficial it can be for you to publish valuable content to an eager audience for free. Blogging is a promotional feature that has crossed over into the realm of public relations. And even better, when someone values the topics you write about, they are prone to spread it to social media outlets with just a click. Free promotion! It doesn’t get better than that.

Now, where do you begin?

It Starts With a Plan

First, you have to start with a content strategy. One way to organize this is to print off a calendar page for whatever month is coming up and fill in the posting schedule. Consistency is key or blogs; you have to maintain a constant flow of content. It is also a good idea to fill in the topics of which posts will be published on which day. This encourages you to write posts in advance, thus lessening confusion and scrambling to crank out a post the day you are scheduled to do so.

Get Out There

As a blogger, it’s important to interact with other people online. This doesn’t just mean limiting yourself to replying to comments on your blog. If you want to really build a strong following, you have to market your company by commenting on and interacting with other blogs. If there is a source that you find inspiring, make sure the author knows. Has a certain post revealed some great insight to you? Compliment the writer and thank him or her for sharing. Even start a discussion. This positive feedback on your part will prompt that author- and other readers- to visit your company blog.  Plus, habitually exploring other sites will trigger inspirations and ideas for you to enhance your own business.

You Scratch My Back, I Scratch Yours

Another important strategy for increasing your blog following is to utilize the idea of guest blogging. This means you can write for others or have others write for you. The benefit of doing this is to increase the blog’s influence on readers. If you ask a friend or business acquaintance to provide a post, then at the bottom of your blog, you will be able to link to that friend’s personal or company blog. This way, your friend will receive traffic from your site- and your blog will increase in value from having new written content from an additional authority. Then, of course, when you offer services as a guest blogger, you will be able to link to your own blog and gain new traffic as well.

Dress [your posts] to Impress

One very simple, yet often overlooked, component to successful blogs is formatting. Online material is typically scanned, rather than read line-by-line. To make sure that your readers are getting the most out of each post, stylize the content with headings and images. These visuals greatly refine the messages within your posts and call attention to the subject.

Hopefully you now understand the importance of blogging. It may take time to see results and gain a respectable following, but a blog provides you with an incredible opportunity. This is, of course, the ability to deliver insight and expertise with the branded voice of your company. You have the chance to become a source of information- so take advantage of it!

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Design your website for engagement and conversions

The days of the informational, brochure-style website have come and gone. You site is unlikely to bring you success if it fails to give your audience valuable content that matches exactly what they’re seeking. And that content better be delivered quickly. Furthermore, the modern website visitor wants and expects to have a voice online. So if your site is nothing more than a one-way communication channel through which you’re speaking to your audience and not listening back, your visitor is probably gone in 10 seconds, digesting better information on your top competitor’s site.

So what does it take to create an engaging, conversion-oriented website? Here are a few smart places to start:

  • Well-branded
  • Balance brand voice and SEO
  • Engaging content
  • Simple and intuitive navigation
  • Calls to action
I’m going to illustrate each of these points with examples from a site we launched earlier this year for a network of physicians in Florida – Baptist Medical Group.


The basic principals of design always apply. Being “well-branded” doesn’t just mean slapping your logo on the corner of every page. It means integrating your site with all of your other marketing communications. It means consistency in visual presentation, messaging and calls to action. If you removed your logo from the piece, would your audience still know it’s you? If the answer is no, it probably means you have some more work to do. With Baptist Medical Group, we focused on creating a strong and consistent brand image across all media, from print ads to billboards to their website.

well-branded website

Balance brand voice and SEO

Copywriters today have a whole new responsibility. In fact, their job is twice as tough as it was a few years ago. Writing great copy for digital media now requires not only the ability to learn the ins and out of a company and to communicate that efficiently, but also an understanding of search engine optimization best practices. Google wants to serve up the best possible results when you search, and as a result, those keywords and phrases need to be in your website’s content. But Google is also smart, and always getting smarter. Google recognizes when sites are intentionally over-stuffed with keywords and less valuable to searchers. So those sites get penalized in search results. Brand voice is as important as ever, but search engine optimizing your site is really important too. The best digital copywriters know that a balance must exist, and are skilled in creating content that fills both needs. See how we created a balance of Google-friendly (yellow highlight) and branded (green highlight) material below.

balance brand voice and seo

Engaging content

You can keyword-stuff your site all you want, write paragraphs of mission statement material, and fill pages with propaganda about how great you are. But in the end, you have to ask yourself one fundamental question: DOES MY AUDIENCE CARE? If you’re not giving them information that’s designed to help them solve a problem or fill a need, why are you putting it there at all? Put yourself in their shoes and decide what content has real value. Then weed out the fluff.

And in regard to authoring content, you don’t have to be alone. Consider granting your audience a voice. Not only does it show them you value their feedback and opinions, but it builds new, authentic material on your site. For Baptist Medical group, we gave patients a chance to review their doctors right there on the doctors’ profile pages. The overwhelmingly positive response has provided validation in the public eye for the organization.

engaging website content

Simple and intuitive navigation

Your website’s navigation should be organized and displayed with a well-planned hierarchy in mind. If your site is 10 pages in size, that doesn’t mean you have to list those 10 page names side-by-side across the top of the page. Instead, your navigation should be intuitively organized to both help your visitor quickly find what they’re looking for, and to direct them where you want them to go.

Early in the development process, our client communicated to us the importance of helping their patients find doctors and practices, as well as helping them make appointments online. Below, you’ll see how along the top of the page we made these items priority. And once the website visitor arrives on a doctor office page, they’re given links to related content, including patient paperwork for that office and profiles of the physicians who work there.

simple and intuitive website navigation

Calls to action

If you’ve made it this far and your visitor is engaged, why not ask them to do something before they leave? What are you trying to accomplish with your website? In the case of Baptist Medical Group, we used action statements like “request an appointment”, “get our e-newsletter” and “download new-patient paperwork” to guide the visitor toward actions that would lead to key goal conversions.

website calls to action

Your website should be one of your strongest business tools. Make sure it’s designed accordingly.

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