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March 28, 2010

Carles Puyol is Who You should turn to for Advice on Social Media

There is something many people don’t assume about me. I am a hard core football (soccer/european football) fan. Perhaps not in the sense that I stay loyal to one team over a life time, but in the sense that I love the game. I watch as much football as my work schedule allows me to do. Even when I work I watch football on a second screen, or listen to it whilst I am writing. Right now I have football on when writing this.

The reason I love football is not so much about the sport itself, but it is because of the players. All those intriguing characters that assemble to form a team. The culture in the different teams is truly unique although the sport is all the same. Some teams got heart, some teams got skill, some teams got both and some teams just have fun. With all successful teams the one thing I’ve found is that they have endured their spirit or culture over time.

Take Barca as an example. They’ve had players like Stoitchkov, Cruyff, Eto & Laudrup who have all been true egos. The culture however has remained one that is quite sympathetic. Perhaps it is the symbiosis with the Katalan people that make up the complete club. Barca is owned by its fans. I am unsure, but the club has been incredibly successful. So has Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Inter, Ajax and many other clubs out there. What they all have in common is that they have stayed true to their idea of what football is over a long period of time.

My favorite player of all time is Carles Puyol. He is a defender, he is the guy that carries out those remarkable saves when the midfield and the forwards have not done their job properly up front. Carles looks like an 80’s rock star and he carries himself as though he was the reincarnation of Mussolini. To me, he is a hero, and if he would lead me into anything, I would probably follow.

In real life, I’ve found a couple of other people who think Carles Puyol is the best player in the world. Online I’ve found millions. And I guess somehow, this is what my post is all about. It is about my love to a game that helps me explain to myself why the clients I work for are doing the right thing when they are creating content that their fans appreciate.

In football teams they have understood this a long time ago. That’s why some teams sell even their best players as they know the spirit of the club is threatened by the mere existence of a star that walks a different path. Such was the sale of Eto from Barca to Inter. Companies that create splendid content for their website, but the content is not coherent to the business or the company core itself, well, that company do best in not publishing that content at all.

I think that we should look more at the loyalty of fooball fans when trying to assemble what we have to do in order to create loyalty for our own businesses. Every game is a game of football, yet, every game is unique. Every player has a set of skills, but they use it in a new way each game. Every game is played at a fixed time on a fixed day, yet weather conditions, audience and other exogenous factors vary every time.

The game of football has embraced this into the spirit of the game just as you should embrace the ever changing spirit of the online world into your business. You can play in a team with a fixed set of rules, but there will always be different situations where you have to adapt what you know into the given set and time in space. This is what companies have to learn when engaging in social media and this is what they must understand when building their businesses for the future.

I think a lot about my wasted years in school and how much I would have learned if I would have just been inspired to learn rather than taught what to think. I think my love for the game of football, and my infatuation with Carles Puyol is an expression of my admiration to those professionals who are able to meet every situation, regardless how new or how difficult, with a response, instantaneously. What if more businesses (cause yes, football is a business), could work the same way?

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February 1, 2010

Confessions from an Annoyed yet Modern SEO

Search Engine Optimization has been a part of the web since search became the most popular activity out there. Now people argue that SEO isn’t important anymore due to the emergence of the social web and the constant evolution of the web infrastructure and the possibilities that come with it. This is what I think.

You don’t need a Good SEO Anymore

But you need a great one. As some people have pointed out quite recently, the space for search engine manipulation is narrowing by the day. The cat is catching up to the mouse sort to say. Half ass bastards that sell you bad link packages will get busted. There will still be good link packages, but the “one thousand links in three months” will start to dwindle in worth. They might even hurt you even though they are domain links and not deep links with anchor texts.

Google is cracking down on shit right now and unaware SEO’s that keep to SEO strategies from 2004 will not be the one’s on top of the SERPs by the end of this year. The great SEO doing his or her job in 2010 needs to be able to optimize not only for Google, but for Twitter, for YouTube, for Picasa and flickr. The great SEO needs to be able to optimize for search in so many more places than previously required.

The days of the fast lane has passed. You can still cheat, but you actually need some skill to do it. You can’t just register 500 domains, hire 20 people from an underpaid country and then generate duplicates of Craigslist or Yahoo Directory. It only has limited results in comparison to other strategies, now it will work even less.

And even though you do not wish to cheat, the mere on page optimization is not enough. A 5 year old can optimize a website for the search engines these days. Out of the box solutions make most content optimized nowadays. You merely become one piece of content amongst many others. You actually have to understand your users, and appeal to them in order to make your on page optimization work.

This naturally brings me to the next topic of my blog post which is:

You don’t need Good Content Anymore

You need great content. And by great content I mean that you need rich content. With great content I mean content that a user can take a part, interpret and share. With great content I mean that if you have a product catalog you should not make into a product image a price and a product name. You need to describe why the parts of your content are the most relevant components to reflect on your product type out there.

With great content I also mean content that you can tell stories about today and tomorrow. Especially if you have seasoned products, reports or news that you want to rank. They need to have a story so that even basic stuff such that all the link love you earn from your season launch can be redirected to a landing page telling the story of the past to the future visitors. Or in technical terms, make a 301 for gods sake and make the new landing page relevant for the old campaign. Redirect with relevance!

With great content I most definitively mean that you need to focus on the user and not on your organization. Thus you need to, you HAVE to, invest in a good analytics tool. You need to understand how the user is using your website or online project and you need to be agile enough to adapt.

If you are running an informative website such as Wikipedia, then there is no better tool than Google Analytics. If you are running a sales driven website there is no better tool than Omniture Sitecatalyst and if you are running something inbetween then you have the option to choose. If you have a lot of money, then you have a lot more choices. If you have a little money, then you need to run Google Analytics regardless if they have the proper reporting or not.

You need to stop asking yourself why the users don’t do what you want them to, but ask yourself what you can do for the user to do what you agree upon. Then you absolutely NEED to keep your to your promise of that agreement.

Also, if you want people to link to you, then you also have to be available where people are when they are writing or when they are thinking to write something for the web. I would go so far to say that most of what is produced on the web is spontaneous as the social web grows. This means you have to be available closer to your customers every day life in order to be able to catch them in the fly sort to say.

You don’t need to build relationships anymore

You need to maintain important ones. And by maintaining I mean you have to build your web presence in a way that is consistent to your core customer groups. Mass SEO services bring you loads and loads of traffic. However, most of that traffic is highly irrelevant for your business purposes. You need to focus on bringing the relevant user to your website which requires that you spend more time on less content. Cause if you create great content that generate great links whilst listening to your users, then you should be pretty well off.

But as you know this will require new types of investments and costs on your behalf. Or really, all this requires is that you redistribute money from your outbound marketing budget to your inbound marketing budget. If you look in your data you know that out of 1o dollars you are spending 9 dollars on getting people to your website, whilst only spending 1 dollar on converting them when they get there. Redistribute budget – earn more!! (You might even do something about your 55% bounce rate whilst at it. “aaaawww…”)

This means that you in many cases will save money in some end. It is logical. If you give your customers what you’ve promised them and they want it again, there is no reason for them to go elsewhere right?

Well, it should be that way. Unfortunately it is not, because people are people, and they are irrational, non-trustworthy and adulterous bastards, really. Even though you do all you have promised them they still won’t come back if you don’t remind them that you kept your promise. Your competitor will be there to shove his/her offer into their ear and promise them wonderland on any opportunity you give them. Thus you need to keep your relationship with your customers fresh and vibrant.

The best way to do that is to keep track of them and keep contact with them – on a commercial level – through a standard CRM such as salesforce or Sugar CRM. This is not only the most cost reducing marketing activity out there, but it is also one of the best link building strategies ever.

What Authority do I have to say this?

I am not saying that marketing doesn’t work. I am a huge fan of TV, billboards, 100 by 11000 ft chocolate bars standing in a square or events that are truly remarkable. The problem I have with most current marketing strategies are that they disregard the power offline campaigns have on online search patterns and the advantages you can gain from search engine optimization.

If you don’t understand SEO, you don’t understand how to truly leverage the web. The web is about people, content and the links between them. You can apply many tactics and filters on top of these variables. You can have partial success in many different campaigns. In other words, you can be good. But until you understand the backbone of online sales and discovery you cannot become great.

All of the above are parts of great SEO practices. As long as we have above 2 billion plus searches conducted per day, those of you disregarding SEO are quite frankly quite dumb.

November 19, 2009

The 80 dollar Waste of money on Online Advertising

I listened to a session today by Wolfgang Allisat from Omniture. It was an ok talk, most of which I’ve heard before. He said a couple of truths however, that my mood really felt like hearing. You all reading this blog post probably know this already, but I feel like I need to say it.

I am unsure of the nature of the relation, but supposedly there is a 80:1 relationship on how much money companies spend on marketing for people to visit their website and how much they spend on actually converting them when they get there. That’s a sick relationship right? That’s like going to the pub, putting on the best behavior, being generous, hitting on the most beautiful girl at the place and getting her to come with you home, only for you to live in a dirty shack where your skidding tracked boxers are laying there in the hallway, there is hair all over the toilet and long hairs in different color all over the bed. IDIOTIC if you want to get laid right? So why do we behave exactly like that when it comes to money spend and the web?

We spend millions to get the users to come over, and when they do, we just don’t give a crap what they do. We’re acting like we don’t care if we get closure or not. We got them there! YEY… let’s report an increase in visitors to top management and smile. Is the traffic qualified? Well, that’s not the point… right? eehh… 80:1.. my god.. the business really needs a proper bump on its perspective.

What we buy is what we get

We buy banners or engage in viral word-of-mouth activities. We’re displaying ads that cover the entire white house or land a jumbo jet in a gigantic bowl of pop corn just to get the attention of the people around us. We make friends with them through the best kind of chit chat and evolve together with our customers. We listen and take care of them. BUT, when they are ready to buy –> we just don’t give a f**k.

That is what this relationship is telling us. 80 dollars on advertising, 1 dollar on conversion. We should be ashamed. I say We as I am in the middle of all of that. I want people to spend money on social media, SEO and other activities to draw people to buying their stuff. After seeing these numbers in front of me I am considering dropping the social media and SEO completely to focus my activities on what I am really the best at, namely making engaged people buy stuff.

Stop selling people, that’s not where your focus should be

Another of the speakers, Steen Rasmussen, put words to where corporations go wrong these days. “They try to sell stuff online.” That is soooooo true. Why are we trying to sell stuff online? We all know it doesn’t work. The only thing that works is “enabling people to buy stuff” online, which was Steen’s punch line. However cheesy those two phrases are when put together, they are surely clear enough for a kid to grasp them.

SEO, a perfect way to meet the searcher in the search engine result page. Engagement in social media is absolutely crucial if you want some check on what people expect of your company. But to go from that to not care about what they do when they get to the website. Well that’s just plain stupid. Are you stupid? I guess you are, cause most of us are.

And I already know this, why do I react?

Now, today’s news was really no news to me. It fit my mood, and so I got pissed off enough to get inspired to write this blog post. So many companies not knowing anything about this and even fewer doing anything about it. By sharing today’s impressions I hope that I inspire someone out there to pick up what’s around you and say that you have had enough and start the long process towards change. I am a restless individual, and I want change when I see flaws. I don’t wait, and I am not resilient. But why should I be? Customers aren’t!


November 9, 2009

11 Methods that will Increase your YouTube View Count

What makes you get them veiws on YouTube? If you’re just starting out you’ll quite quickly find that it is not that difficult to get at least some people to view your stuff. This post gives you some valuable input on how to speed up the process.

1. Make it findable

This is the most obvious advice I can think of. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. Think about who you want to reach, then think about what they would be searching for when searching for your video. Then use those kind of words in the title, in the video description and as the tags of the video. Use the most important keywords first and then use a more descriptive text. If you start picking up some views, some ratings and some embeds along the way, this is highly important as this will give you a better chance of ending up in the Google Universal search. AND PLEASE DON’T FORGET to use the word “Video” as the word right next to your most important keyword. People search for things such as “fashion video”, “monster sledge hammer video tutorial”, “pearl jam music video”, “Volvo video” etc etc. (and yes I forgot this on the video below… but hey.. that’s why I wrote – don’t forget!!)

2. Post it in a blog post

80% of all views on videos posted on YouTube are done outside the YouTube website. This means you should embed your own videos as well as try n have others embed them. Just as most pages on the Internet lack an inbound link, most of the videos on YouTube lack an inbound embed or link. This means that regardless if you have a lot of readers on your blog or not, you should post your videos in a blog as they will become more highly valued in the YouTube search than other videos.

3. Share the blog post on Twitter and Facebook

Also a quite interesting thing that people tend to forget. Once you’ve published your new video. Why not draw the benefit of both attracting some visitors to your blog as well as pick up some nice views for your video. Share your post on Twitter, on Facebook, on SU, on tumblr and all other places where you can share resources. Sort of tells it’s own story this advice. If you publish video, people tend to like it better and they also tend to consume the full content as they don’t have to do anything but sit back and enjoy. So it is a good thing to share as it gives your users more than the mere plain text does.

4. Ask people to subscribe, favorite and comment IN THE END FRAMES OF THE VIDEO

In the video you are but stupid if you don’t ask people to subscribe to your channel in one of the last frames. If you know that you publish videos on a certain frequency, then you should also tell your viewers in one of the last frames of the video when they can expect the next one. Also!! You should try and ask a provocative question or a question that requires reaction. Make a statement of some sort and then ask the users to comment on it.

5. Post it as a reply

Lately I have started making YouTube responses. You know when you post your video as a response to another video on YouTube. It is awesome and it pulls some views. You will get more views if you manage to choose a good thumbnail. It also gives you a better chance of ending up in the “related videos” pane to the right of the video you have posted the response to.

6. Use a good thumbnail icon that is representative of the content on your channel

As my friend Seda has told me on a few occations. “Tits work m8!!” He’s correct. If you are only out to spoof view count you should try some tits as your thumbnail image. However, if you’re out there to do something else, or to actually convey some message… then perhaps you should think twice about this thing. Cause there is no doubt you will get clicked more if your thumbnail is highly interesting, provocative, clear or illusive. I haven’t worked that much on this because I don’t know how to separate the sound from the frames of my video yet. But this will come to me and I’ll be able to show you some good examples. Traditional marketing people might have some opinion about this one. What makes people tick on outdoors stuff? Anyhow. Think about your thumbnail when you cut your video as it is important that it ends up at either 25% 50% or 75% of the video. If you’re paying for a branded channel you will get some more options on YouTube, but if you then share that same video on let’s say Facebook.. then your specially created thumbnail won’t follow.. 🙁

7. Use the URL as your IM status

Also very straight forward. If you’re using Skype or MSN this comes as no news to you. If you post “I am pregnant” in your IM status field, then people will out of the clear message you like crazy congratulating you like hell. 🙂 What I want to say with that is that people actually read what it says next to your name. Write something like “Cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pNqjEXGHK0” and you’ll pull some views from that as well. (By the way, I have no clue where that link goes… why not try it out? :P)

8. Find related forums to the content of your video and post it as a reply

People always tend to forget the power in the forums. They are the most persistent 1.0 technology working as a 2.0 technology that still don’t die. It is as thought the anonymity of the forum climate is still highly appealing to a lot of people. Search for a forum of your main video topic and you’ll be able to find at least one question in there where your video fits as an answer. If you do the black hat thing… then make a question, fake some discussion and then post your video as the perfect answer. BUT DO NOT DO IT IN A HACKER FORUM… you will go busto 😀

9. Find blogs with a lot of readers and post a “sibling” video as a comment

This is something you should do if you have a channel that has a lot of related content on it. If the users of the commented blog find your first video interesting they will probably watch one of your other videos. Your job then becomes to post your general video that you want to increase the view count on as the video before your comment video. If they are the same, then GFY!! 🙂

10. Use TubeMogul and other seeding services

I love the flexibility of TubeMogul. It is awesome. You create your accounts once on the different services where you want to upload. Then you just have to post it once and it is posted everywhere!! BEWARE large companies out there… You probably shouldn’t over do this thing as 1. it doesn’t look very well if you have 5 views on one of your videos on several of these platforms. Even though the aggregate might be big, you want to give that impression as well!! So.. add them one at a time, build up a fan base and then you can go on to the next platform. 2. you will start getting comments eventually and you’ll have to monitor these as you’ll get an occational “F**k you”.

11. Create playlists

I just LOVE YouTube playlists. I love them simply because people create them with titles such as “my favorite songs” LOL… no commercial purpose there is there?? hehe… What I am trying to say is that this is a highly unexploited area on YouTube ranking. Playlists have a huge benefit as they show up in the top of the search results of YouTube. This is PERFECT. Put your video amongst other already popular videos on the same topic and you’ll see that your video will start receiving some nice “mistaken” views.

Now… I should really tell you the truth about this post. I have a dire need to meet Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam before I die. The video below is me trying to be him in an attempt to piss him off enough to sue me!! That way we’ll meet in court at least 🙂 So.. watch, enjoy, comment and share!!

So… Help me see Eddie!! (pump up the volume a bit :D)

And here is the original:

October 29, 2009

Tribal Word-of-Mouth marketing

In this video I present some of my thoughts surrounding word of mouth marketing in a tribal environment. I am quite tired when I record this so my enthusiasm does not give my inner feelings about this topic the justice it deserves. However, I felt like I needed to say this. For more on Tribes please check under the blogroll tab and you’ll find a blog called tribaling.se. That guy knows a lot about these things so, you should read more.

If you want to know more about the 1-to-1 project that I talk about in this video, then please go to 1-to-1 computers at Amazon. Use amazon.com/xo.

October 8, 2009

Internet Marketing – Explained

Created this Prezi a coupple of weeks ago. Would like to get your thoughts on it. I know it really goes into some narrow suggestions in the end, but what I tried to do was to show a good starting place for now, then and later.

Internet Marketing – Explained might be a bit big to say, but I guess it is also a way to draw some attention and angry commentators to this post…. perhaps… 🙂

If you cannot read flash then e-mail me and we take it over the phone from 5-8 pm.