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Ten Weeks in a Nutshell

March 5, 2009

This class has taught me so many things, and exposed me to so many things – to attempt to sum it all up in a short presentation will not only be very difficult, but will also expose to all my true cluelessness that existed at the beginning of this class.

I will attempt to touch on one thing that I learned from each weekly assignment, with the hope that this will give a relatively true representation of the class, and what one might hope to learn from it themselves.

I will also highlight the abbreviated PR plan I put in place for my brother in law, who is a poet, using some of my new skills.  While he is a great poet, and quite well known and well liked in his small circle of poetry, he does not have the familiarity and exposure he needs to advance to the next level.  I helped him set up some various channels that will hopefully increase his exposure and broaden his opportunities going forward as he continues with his poetry.

The areas I will touch on:

  • getting started
  • Face Book
  • Google applications
  • blogging
  • Google Ad Words – how to make them work
  • Social Media channels – twitter, linkedin, Digg, etc
  • SEO
  • The NMDL class
  • David Meerman Scott and his book
  • Short coverage of my PR plan for my brother in law
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Learn the New Rules from David Meerman Scott

March 2, 2009

David Meerman Scott released a revised and updated version of his award-winning book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”.   This book ties into my goal of  bringing myself current in the online advertising/marketing world so precisely, but admittedly, I never would have come across this title on my own.  Derek Mehraban, my Michigan State University professor for the New Media Drivers License class I am currently enrolled in, suggested it as reading material for our class.  While I am not proud of this, I am usually one of the first in line to sell my text books back at the conclusion of a class.  This will not be the case this time around!  This is a great book!  I find myself frustrated during the reading, but only because I am not currently working in the industry, and therefore cannot immediately implement some of the ideas and lessons he provides.  This would have been great stuff to have while I was still employed!  David talks about blogs, pod casts and online media – all things I had no knowledge or understanding of prior to this class, or reading his book.  It all makes such perfect sense!

Using the Internet has become a must in today’s business world, regardless of your industry.  But that can be very intimidating to those of us that started out using the “old rules” way back when.  David breaks down these areas into simple, concise steps so that anyone reading can clearly understand not only what the various methods are, but how to effectively use them, and continually increase the effectiveness as you go.

Since Derek Mehraban isn’t only a professor, but also a successful marketing professional and business owner, it is safe to assume that he suggested David’s book for a reason.  He uses many of the same ideas and principles outlined in the book, and our New Media Drivers License class has touched on several as well.  By the end of this course and book, I feel safe in my assumption that even those of us who were supremely clueless to all things digital will be able to make out way through this new world.

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Check this book out – it will definetely end up on the “favorites” shelf on your bookcase!  I also used my new skills to publish a press release on this book – now that is impressive!  If that doesn’t tell you something about David Meerman Scott and Derek Mehraban, nothing will!  Here is my press release as created at http://www.freepressrelease.com:

New Book Brings “Old” Advertising/Marketing Guru’s Up to Speed

(www.freepressrelease.com) March 3, 2009

There is a new book making big news in the Advertising/Marketing world today, and it is “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” by David Meerman Scott.  David takes a rather complex world of internet marketing, blogging, podcasts and other social media outlets and breaks them down into simple tasks that easy to understand, and easy to execute.

Publishers Weekly says “This excellent look at the basics of the new-millennial marketing should find use in the hands of any serious PR professional making the transition”.  That couldn’t be more on the money.  This book is so good that Derek Mehraban, President of Ingenex Digital Marketing and Professor at Michigan State University elected to use this as one of his textbooks for his new  class, New Media Drivers License.  The NMDL class was designed to teach Marketing and PR students the skills necessary to succeed in the transformed Marketing arena.  It introduces students to Face Book, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social Internet venues, and allows them to gain the basic skills necessary to be competitive when they enter the professional world.   This book by David Meerman Scott is a perfect fit, and built very well on the concepts being introduced and learned through the course.

The Internet has brought a new revolution to the Marketing and Advertsing world, and it is critical to not only understand the new rules, but be able to skillfully and successfully play by them – this book is a great read, even if you’re not a student – Grab a copy today!

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Getting Back in the Game – How to Catch Up

February 25, 2009

So, you left the workforce some time back, and now you’re thinking about going back to the daily grind.  But Wow!  It is very intimidating, isn’t it?  The “rules” of eight or ten years ago have changed dramatically and who is  going to help you find the new rule book?  The “old” world of advertising, marketing and PR revolved heavily around paper.  Weekly ROTOS for large mass-retailers, periodic catalogs, bill boards, magazine articles, and of course radio, TV, etc. While those are still very available and regularly used, there is a new kid in town – the Internet!  Not only can your potential employer’s customers shop on the Internet, but your employer can use the Internet for so many other things, and if you’re not knowledgeable and ready to hit the road running with this new info, you are going to be left in the dust when it comes to your competitors!

Well, the new rule book is here, and its call the New Media Drivers License (NMDL).    This is a course offered by Michigan State University and can be taken by undergrad and grad students alike.  It is primarily online so it is EASY to work into your already busy schedule – do it while the kids are in school, napping, do it in the evening – whenever it works with YOUR schedule!   This class is FULL of current, important and useful information – each week you will delve into a new topic and learn, learn, learn.  You will also DO what you just learned, so you will walk away each week with the confidence of knowing what you’re doing.  And, also important for someone like me, it is SO MUCH FUN!!  I have a new feeling of empowerment – regardless of whether I use it in a professional forum or not – I now know much more about what is going on and I love that!

Don’t wait – call Michigan State University today and enroll – you will be so very glad that you did!

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Search Engine Optimazation – Making the “Hit List”

February 15, 2009

This weeks assignment for our New Media Drivers License Class at MSU was on SEO – Search Engine Optimization.    Until doing some reading by David Meerman Scott, along with some additional articles posted on the NMDL site on The Digital Bus, I thought this was simply a typo for CEO.    Once I realized what it stood for I was encouraged though, as I actually did know what a search engine was.  This was a big step for me, as virtually every piece of information I have been exposed to in this class has been brand spankin new to me.

The first piece I read was aptly titled SEO Guide Basics.  This article was brief, but also sited a few other pieces that were helpful in understanding the basic premise of SEO, which is to very simply, make your words work for you.

In order for you to be successful in your online endeavors, regardless of what they may be, people must be able to find you or your product.  By carefully selecting the words you use in your headline, your sub-title, in the beginning of  your pages and at the end of your pages, you can significantly increase the number of “hits” (the number of times various searches pull up your pages), or virtually bury you.  By using words that are too familiar or common, you almost guarantee getting lost in the shuffle.  By using more unique words, and more importantly, unique combinations of words, you are reducing the competition and increasing your odds of coming up in the searches.  Additionally, the words in your headline should tie int, and be related to the words used throughout your pages – this too will increase your position on the “hit list”.

One of the most useful places to turn for advice and tips on SEO would probably be a search engine, so following is some information provided by Google in their “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide”.

One good point they make is the fact that while you want your page to have a high enough rank to be found, your first priority should be to your users, as they will find you if you keep your headline, sub heads and content true to what you do and what your customers want.  While keeping SEO in mind, you should not forsake the content of your page simply to increase your page rank with the search engine.

Another suggestion that I thought made a good deal of sense, even for the beginner webmaster, was simply to keep your headline or title simple, and keep it unique.  By using words that are too common or overused, you run the real risk of not appearing at all in online searches.  Also, by using unique relevant words, you insure that people searching for you actually want what you have to offer, making both their search and your ad more productive.

Overall, I learned a good deal about SEO, especailly given that a week ago I had no idea what it meant.  Keep in mind that this only applies to “organic” searchs, which are unpaid searches.  Google Adwords and others of the like do not apply here, and have an entirly different set of rules.

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How Social are You?

February 5, 2009

As I learn more about this new Social Media world  (new to me, clearly not new to many others) I am amazed at not only how many different media resources there are, but how well they are all linked to each other.  It is really very easy to invite someone to join not only your Face Book “Friend” list, but your Linked In Network and your Twitter Page.  And, in many cases you can see all of the people  you know that are also out there so you can easily invite more with no more than a few clicks.  The amount of information you can post out there about yourself or gain about someone else is amazing too – but it also makes you want to be a little more careful.

I am happy to report that I now have a Face Book page, a much more up-to-date Linked In account and a Twitter page.  Should I ever decide to re-enter the professional world, these tools will prove very useful indeed.  As a side note, this has also done wonders for my not-so-impressive social life, as I have re-connected with countless people from my past.  What fun to catch up with everybody while at the same time building up my network.

I created my Linked In account some time ago while I was still working, but it wasn’t’ all that complete, and much has changed since then so it definitely needed to be updated.  While I was updating it I was able to add new people that I didn’t have a relationship with when I created the account.  I look at this tool as a more professional connection as it contains so much about the individuals, the companies they are/were with and the positions they held.  There is also an opportunity for so much more detail with this site.

I created my Face Book account as a direct result of this class – I honestly had no intention of going “Face Book” until I was forced into it by way of keeping track of my kids computer habits.  However, I was amazed at how much fun it is, and what a great resource it is.  Face Book has helped me find people I never would have been able to find, and I have re-connected with so many people this way.  I consider Face Book more of a “social” tool, as it tracks what people are doing, who saw who, and who likes what.  There is certainly an opportunity to use this as a more professional tool, but I seem to have gotten stuck on the social end of it!

Like Face Book, my Twitter page was a direct result of this class.  While I had at least heard of Face Book, I had no clue what Twitter was.  After reading several articles posted on The Digital Bus’ New Media Drivers License page for Assignment #4, I had a much better idea of what Twitter was and how it was used.  It seems to me to be an abbreviated combination of both Face Book and Linked In, which makes it a perfect tool to group with these two.  Twitter is quick (limited to 140 characters for each “update”) and to the point, but you can “follow” whomever you want, whenever you want, without having to do too much reading.  Its another great tool to use for networking and keeping in touch.

Overall, Face Book is my favorite, hands down.  It is just too much fun (as attested to by my husband and kids due to the amount of time I know spen laughing in front of my computer).  Linked In would be next on my list as its easy to use, easy to navigate through and full of really great information about the people I’m liked to.

I haven’t spent as much time on Twitter, so it would make sense that this is my least favorite, but that could very well change as I get more familiar with the tool.  The limited space for “tweets” is one of the things I don’t like about it, but I also recognize that this is what makes is “quick and easy”, and allows for it to be a great tool for mobile phones.  We’ll see what happens as I become a more efficient “twitterer”.

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Who Knew I Knew What I Was Doing??…..

February 5, 2009

This whole ad-word thing has really been puzzling me lately.  I have spent hours trying to figure out what I did wrong to no avail.  Finally I have determined that the reason I could figure out what I did wrong was the simple fact that I didn’t do anything wrong.  I simply failed to take the final step.

Once you set up your ad-word account, and then produce your ad, you have to actually perform a search and see if it worked.  That is the step I missed.  Low and behold, when I did my search, up pop ped my blog in the right hand column – just like magic.

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While I recognize its tough to read, trust me, its there!  That was pretty exciting, given that I have no clue what I’m doing here and pretty much experimenting as I go.

As with pretty much everything,  I know this will get easier (and I certainly hope quicker!) as I do it a few more times, but it was certainly a relief to see that finally pop up.

Even Mom’s can blog…….

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Ad Words – Not as Simple as they Look…

February 1, 2009

The most recent assignment for my New Media Driver’s License Class in the Michigan State University Graduate Program was to post an ad on Google using the Ad Words program, and see how many “hits” we got.

Setting up the ad seemed simple enough – I followed the steps and in a relatively short amount of time I had my ad constructed.  Getting it up and running was a slightly different story – Google is fairly particular about how the words appear; they don’t like excessive punctuation, etc.  Once I figured out what my “error” was (they were slightly illusive in their message) I fixed it, and went to the next step.

Given that I’m not really advertising anything, and what I am advertising generates zero revenue, I assigned a very modest budget ($5 a month) to my ad.  Well, Google didn’t like that either, and told me I would basically never see any action, which would likely result in a failing grade on this assignment.  So, I bumped my budged up to the recommended  minimum, which was $50.

Again, given that what I’m advertising really isn’t anything tangible, I had a tough time selecting appropriate ad words.  I took a stab at it and got the ad up and running, finally.  Then I sat back and checked it periodically to see if I had any “action”.

According to the Google Chart, I actually have 603 impressions.  While I would normally assume that is a good thing, and my ad was at least somewhat successful, the fact that my “Total Cost” column remains at $0.00 leads me to a different conclusion.  Basically, I have no idea at this point whether or not my ad worked, or whether I did it correctly.  I do, however, know a little more about Google Ad Words overall, so the assignment was successful overall from that standpoint.

Another fact that gives me a little confidence is the fact that I’m getting Google Alerts regularly in my in box, telling me my name is showing up online periodically.  Granted, it is usually something associated with my Linked In account, my blog (which is illusive at best) or my Face Book account, but this is certainly more than this Mommy ever appeared on Google before, so I must be moving in a positive direction at least.

Overall, I thought this assignment was great.  I’m going to hold on to the assumption that had I been trying to advertise something of actual substance, I may have gotten some actual hits, and is may have actually cost me some money.  The upside of doing this incorrectly is the fact that it hasn’t cost me anything  to participate in the exercise.

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