87: Search Engine Marketing, Inc.

mike_moranIf search engines are a mystery to you, then you’ll want to put your hands on a copy of Search Engine Marketing, Inc. It’s an encyclopedic reference about the internal workings of the major search engines and how marketers can optimize their Web presence for visibility on them.  Mike Moran co-authored the book along with Bill Hunt. Paul recommends it to every online marketer he meets.

As complex as search engines are, the trick to getting in their good graces is no trick at all, Moran says.  You need quality content, focused topics and links from other sites on the Internet that have similar characteristics.

But his advice goes beyond simple keywords and page titles.  Search engine optimization is about understanding the motivations and interests of the people you want to visit you, Moran says. It’s like the old line about buyers of drill bits not being in the market for drill bits, but rather for holes.  Marketers often think of keyword strategies in terms of their products, when what visitors want is a solution to problems.  The terms visitors use to define those problems may be completely different from the ones companies use to describe their products. That’s only one of the many thought-provoking ideas in Search Engine Marketing, Inc., which is now in its second edition.

More recently, Moran has published Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, a book that challenges conventional wisdom by encouraging marketers to try lots of ideas, even if many of them don’t pan out. The reason? On the Internet, you can change anything, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Mike Moran is an expert in Internet marketing, search technology, Web personalization, and Web metrics. He’s also an active blogger on the subject of search and Internet marketing. Since retiring from IBM after 30 years with the title of Distinguished Engineer in 2007, he’s maintained an active consulting and speaking business. He also serves as Chief Strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing agency.

Download the podcast here (20:30)


86: Building on the Groundswell

josh_bernoffForrester Research Analyst Josh Bernoff co-authored the number one Internet marketing book of 2008: Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies. The book he co-wrote with former Forrester analyst Charlene Li broke new ground by applying innovative principles of audience segmentation and measurement to social media marketing campaigns and by relating a litany of real-world case studies.

Since the book came out, Forrester has been at the center of controversial research that indicates that corporate blogs are missing the mark by failing to communicate with customers in meaningful new ways. Businesses are still casting about to find a means of engagement that works for them and blogs just aren’t doing the job at the moment.

Bernoff believes that corporations will find the right tools, but the bigger goal should be to humanize interactions between them and their constituents. In his frequent writings on the Groundswell blog, he argues passionately that years of cost-cutting and automation have robbed many businesses of their personality. Now they have the means to become genuine, but too many companies simply use new media to force the same old message down the pipe. No wonder Forrester Research has recently shown a corporate blogs have less credibility than advertisements. In this interview, he talks about how social media continues to shake up the status quo.

Download the podcast here (19:14)

85: The Voice of the Customer

pete_blackshawPeter Blackshaw has led the charge in consumer generated media.  A cofounder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the consumer advocacy website planetfeedback, Blackshaw is also a prolific writer who is contributes regularly to Ad Age, ClickZ and several blogs.  He’s also the author of a new book, Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000, in which he documents the multiplier effect of word-of-mouth communications.

And that’s in his spare time.  Blackshaw is better known to many people is the executive vice president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services, a group that helps companies develop online strategies.  Branding in the age of conversation is nothing like it was in the days of one-way communications, he says.  Today, brands are developed cooperatively in discussions with customers whose feedback needs to be seriously considered and incorporated into a company’s message.  He talks with David and Paul about some of the more common mistakes marketers make and also who’s getting it right.

Download the podcast here  (20:39)

84: Mumbai Attacks Spotlight Citizen Journalism

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India over the Thanksgiving holiday dramatized the increasingly important role that citizen journalists are coming to play in the reporting of breaking news.  For hours after the attacks began, bloggers and Twitter users provided eyewitness accounts while professional journalists and television crews rushed to the scene.  Not all of the information that was reported was accurate, and this has raised questions about the credibility of eyewitness reports in an age when everyone can be a journalist.  David and Paul discuss some of the lessons the incident has taught us.

Here are a few stories that dramatize the role that citizen media played in the coverage.:

David and Paul also remark upon the blockbuster announcement out of Detroit this week that the city’s two largest dailies will scale back their print operations and move much of their journalism online. Is this a bold new innovation or a Hail Mary pass?

Download the podcast here (16:20)

83: Those Snarky Dudes from Woot.com

Woot's Toon at the office

Woot's Toon at the office

To the classic retail marketer, the wild and wacky Woot.com does everything wrong.  The online retailer, which typically sells only one product at any given time, adorns its site with critical and sometimes sarcastic descriptions of the merchandise it sells.  Woot won’t hesitate to tell visitors when one of its sale items is mediocre, but it will always give them an astonishingly good price.  The result: merchandise flies off of Woot’s real shelves, and the company’s fanatical fan base waits eagerly for the latest offering to appear each day, at midnight CT no less. Two from Woot’s St. Louis offices, Jason Toon and David Rutledge, describe the retailer’s unlikely secrets of success.

Download the podcast here (19:29)

82: The Joy of Search

halliganIn the arcane world of search engine optimization, HubSpot of Cambridge, Mass. has made a name for itself by simplifying and automating the process. HubSpotCEO Brian Halligan knows a lot about how search engines work and how businesses can optimize their Web presence for search results. He calls it “inbound marketing.” Forget about playing games, Halligan says; it’s all about delivering quality content. HubSpot offers some free utilities — Website Grader, Twitter Grader and Press Release Grader – that can help. These services assess your site’s search performance and suggest ways to improve it. HubSpot also offers a suite of low-cost, do-it-yourself tools that marketers can use themselves, without paying for SEO consultants. In this interview, Halligan offers some tips for optimizing search performance.

Listen to the podcast (19:12) (Right click and save to download)

81: Making connections in Columbus

David recently visited Columbus, Ohio and met with several entrepreneurs and IT managers and came away pleasantly surprised. One of the movers and shakers there was Ben Blanquera. By day he is an app dev manager for a healthcare firm, and his alter ego has him involved in a series of social networking, meetups, and startups that involve connecting geeks from the area together in such forms as Ignite Columbus, and Columbus Tech Life. In this week’s podcast, Paul and David talk to Ben and find out how he managed to pull this off with no money and lots of volunteers, including organizing a conference at the last minute to bring into town some very famous computer industry mavens.

Download and listen to the podcast here.