Building a Blog – A Checklist for Success

bloggingAfter Google’s announcement that they would give priority to responsive, mobile friendly websites when someone searches from a website, I’m seeing more small business owners rely on WordPress for their content management software.

With WordPress comes an opportunity for a company blog. Many may find the concept of blogging to be a bit overwhelming and intimidating.

Let me guess. You are smiling. Either in agreement or otherwise. If you’re a blogger, you know the self discipline it takes to create, evaluate, proofread, monitor links and keep it updated. If you’ve tried to blog, you know the challenge of learning and making decisions. And if you’ve never tried it, but just read blogs, maybe you feel, “how hard could it be?”

Mike WallagherFor those who are ready to get started, I have a treat for you. Here’s a tool that will help you. Mike Wallagher’s How to Start Blogging guide. He claims that it has helped to launch 9,500 blogs.  And maybe so.  He has a very complete guide to help someone who is trying to navigate the world of the blog.  And that often describes a do-it-yourselfer Small Business Owner.

Mike approached me about adding his guide to my list of resources, which I plan to do. But I also felt that it warranted a full blog post of it’s own. After all, if so many small business owners are trying to start their own blog, they’re no doubt trying to make all those decisions for the first time. And Mike’s guide can help!

If you’ve used Mike’s start blogging online guide, please leave a comment below to let me know what you’ve thought of it.


Alphabet becomes Google’s Holding Company

Alphabet logoGoogle is going thru a branding and rebranding of sorts with the formation of a new holding company called Alphabet. Read all about it at ABC.xyc

Interesting name and logo, right?

We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!

Plain. Red. Simple.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page will head Alphabet and Sundar Pichai will become the CEO of Google. Susan Wojcicki continues as the CEO of YouTube.


UPDATE (8-12/2015): BMW owns

Is it Time to Give up on Google+ Yet?

Deborah Shapiro ArtistToday I posted something on Google+, sending a compliment to an artist friend of mine about a very cool video she posted.

Later I got a response in my Facebook explaining that she got the message via email but can’t figure out how to find and access the Google+ posting to send a thank you.

I had to agree with her… Google+ is about the hardest social media vehicle I’ve ever tried to use. I also don’t like how it tries to mush everything together in a way that I’m uncomfortable with. They want ONE account for all of my stuff.

For so long, I’ve tried to be separate with the personal and professional things. I mean, the IRS wants things separated so that you don’t use your business tools for personal use.  That becomes harder all the time as business becomes more virtual with phones and the cloud.   Trying to separate business social media from personal social media also helps me to stay focused on my company and client work during “normal working hours.”

But the lines have really blurred lately.

I was hoping that the third time (after Google Buzz and Google Wave) would be the charm.

At this point, I have a lot of social media accounts that I use for business, but I’m about to abandon Google+.

Can anyone convince me that there are good reasons to keep it going?

I’m curious, when is the last time you logged into Google+ or posted something on it? Is there a reason I should continue to try to keep yet another social media site active?

The Danger of Using a Spokesperson in Your Marketing

Don't  worry about your cartoonTestimonials. Spokesperson. Celebrity endorsements.

In many ways these seem like a great idea for promoting your brand. You ride the wave of recognition, likability, and repeatability.

And your brand image edges blur into the reputation of the person who is speaking for and about your brand.

It usually starts out smoothly and everyone is all smiles.

But then something happens.

Sometimes a celebrity’s personal life choices are not what you’d want to have your target market think of when they think of your brand.

Or the spokesperson does something illegal, or is just being investigated for maybe doing something illegal.

Because of the immediacy of social media, it may not even matter if they are guilty or not, the mob mentality has already gotten a hold of the news and “shared it”.

As the owner of the brand, you have some tough choices.  Sometimes the best choice is to “immediately sever all ties.” In other situations, when the behavior is “inconsistent with the company’s image”, announcing that you and the spokesperson have  “mutually decided to suspend the relationship” may the best course of action.

When using a spokesperson or other endorsement where the brands get intertwined, good marketing plans include an exit strategy, just in case things don’t work out.

Brands like Nike, Kellogg, Speedo, Subway, and Jello have all had these types of discussions with athletic celebrities who have done endorsements for their brands.

So while have a “Tony the Tiger”, a “Burger King” or a “Dough Boy” might not be as powerful as a star athlete, or top celebrity or even a real person who has successfully used your brand to lose weight, as the marketing manager on the brand, you don’t have to worry about your cartoon character going “out of character.”

How Many Interviews Does it Take to Make a Decision?

I recently read that Ikea will be doing market research with their customers.

They want to get some ideas for new product development. No big surprise there.

What did surprise me was HOW MANY they were going to do. Not a focus group of 10-12 customers in 3 different cities… or even 2 sets of 10-12 customers in 3 different cities.

Not the 125 or 150 people of one-on-one in person surveys that are sometimes called a mall intercept.

No, they are going to talk with 1,000 of their consumers! In person – at their house – looking at their furniture.

I find that number pretty amazing. I imagine that they will be using customer service staff, R&D staff, marketing staff and more to get all those interviews done in a year. I can just imagine the report! Better not print it out unless you have a few reams of paper!

They’re sure to get lots of ideas, but with a 1,000 interviews, it’s almost like combining qualitative and quantitative market research!

I’m curious… How many in-person interviews have you done with your clients or customers to make a decision? Do you use the results to improve current products, validate new products before launch or brainstorm new ideas? Leave a message in the comments below.