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What’s A Blog? Consumer Reaction Says it All.

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family_guy_2.jpgMany folks tout blogging as a part of Web2.0. Many of those same people have convinced the main stream that in order to succeed, you must ease your site ‘copy’, get shiny, change your colors and forget selling anything- we have to educate. I’ve even heard many say that to not follow this new thread of thinking will leave you behind in the dust.

It is all a fabrication in my opinion. Web 2.0 is nothing but a label placed on something investors blew off several years ago. I believe it’s a hype to increase values of technology companies. Why do I believe that? Austin is said to be the “silicon valley of the Midwest” and with a phrase like that, you would think more folks would know what a blog is. In fact, you would think that most of the advertisers in the Midwest would know what exactly web2.0 is. The reality is that everyday average folks have no idea what in the heck a blog or web2.0 is. Nor do they understand it.

When I look at it from a know-nothing position, I have to agree. I can understand the confusion that there’s been a sudden change, but no one bothered to take the consumer with them. Think about that from a marketing perspective- change in marketing is normally driven by consumer demand; doesn’t it stand to reason if they demanded it, they would understand it? The answer is a simple yes. In the case of Web2.0, techies demanded it- techies wanted to illustrate their spin on how the market should bear out, and we let them, we even helped fan the flames.

Should we follow tech demand? Yes. But we as businesses we should find a happy middle, not swing completely one way or the other. Change with consumers is gradual, not overnight, and in the race to be different, we shouldn’t leave the consumer behind- or jump off a bridge because a heavily leveraged venture company said so, and not to please Google.

Update: This is what you give up by buying into all things internet. This is what is lost in web2.0. This is what people who are serious about real estate need to keep in focus. This is the concept that wins, no matter how shiny your website or avm is…

Greg’s solution? Address the problem head-on. Go beyond where I had gone, which was to justify my need to know: Acknowledge that I’m in sales. Ask whether the client/prospect has had a bad experience with a salesperson and listen to the response.

Bravo Cathleen for asking the right questions and delivering relationship-centric ideas. Relationship2.0 has been here 1,000 years, beta tested and true.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Shailesh Ghimire

    October 8, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    There is more hype than reality in the whole Web 2.0 thing. The recent botched sale of AR is case in point. Also, I’m not sure if MySpace is making money for Murdoch or not. How about Facebook? How are these guys going to make money?

    I started blogging back in early 2005 because I wanted to do something unique to get business. Problem is all my business was coming from off-line sources. Why would I blog? I never got serious about blogging until business actually slowed down 6 months ago. I have received some business from blogging but – in my honest opinion – not enough to really justify it, but its fun, and I enjoy it and it’s kinda work related. I have enough business to keep things going – so why not is my answer.

    You hit the nail on its head, when it comes to where consumers stand. Most of my friends don’t know what a blog is – they know I blog but I have a buddy who says everytime he hears the word “blog” he thinks of me and smiles. One person even thought it was a bad word, kind of a kinky internet-sex variety. I’ve talked to so many people who don’t know what a blog is – one person asked me how you’d know if you’re on a blog. Good question, I said.

    So, either we’re way ahead of the curve or we’re just blowing smoke. Either way in my opinion this whole Web 2.0 thing will go up in smoke like the bust of 2000 and we’ll be talking about Web 3.0 in 8 years. I still think the correlation between effort and dollars isn’t quite there yet to say this is a proven method. We’re all trying and all thinking of something innovative. However, as my economics professor used to say, “you can’t build an economy doing eachothers laundry” – and sometimes blogging feels that way. We’re just talking to eachother and every once in a potential client overhears our conversation and wants to do business.

  2. benn

    October 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    excellent points!

  3. Lani Anglin

    October 8, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    As BR noted, it’s worth jumping on in *case* the rest of the population catches up. As for blogging and the Web 2.0 feel being the ultimate universal tool for consumers, well, we all know that it isn’t so. As a blogger, when was the last time you walked into a room of regular consumers and said “I’m a blogger” and didn’t expect to have to explain yourself?

    There you have it; I think BR said it best, “change in marketing is normally driven by consumer demand; doesn’t it stand to reason if they demanded it, they would understand it?”

  4. Athol Kay

    October 9, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Great great image.

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Business Marketing

5 ways voice is changing the SEO game

(TECH NEWS) As voice assistants take over our lives, you may worry how your SEO fares in this new, uncharted territory. Let’s discuss.

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voice and SEO

SEO is a moving target. The standards change constantly so, despite years of experience, many web designers struggle to meet all the optimization guidelines. How, then, can any business confidently approach the web design process? It starts with recognizing those evolving norms, the newest of which is voice search.

Why Voice Search Matters

For years, the dominant SEO rule has been mobile first. The introduction of voice recognition systems, like Siri and Alexa, to smartphones has dramatically changed how we interact with devices. In fact, 20% of Google searches are voice searches with that number expected to grow rapidly over the next few months. Businesses and web designers, then, need to make sure their sites are voice ready if they want to stay relevant. Though the sites may stay the same visually, they need to gain a new edge functionally.

From The Ground Up

Modifying your website to support voice search isn’t as simple as many other SEO transitions, but if you take a ground up approach to the process, you’ll be able to reshape your website around those changes. Still, you’ll need help to do this correctly. When adapting your website for voice, SEO consultant Aaron Rains recommends hiring an expert for a full site audit and analysis to maintain your page ranking. You don’t want your page to take a rankings hit because you’re trying to keep up with the trends.

Expanding Your Device Options

In addition to its advantages from a mobile perspective, making the move to voice search also means expanding your site’s horizons by making it more accessible to new devices, particularly the smart home speakers that are gaining in popularity. Users are particularly comfortable with these devices because they rely on natural speech patterns rather than half-formed search terms. Children growing up with these smart speakers in their homes seem to view them as part of the family and will be native voice search users as they grow.

Snippets For Search

Part of updating your website for speech is optimizing the content to match changing search patterns. One of the key ways to do this is through the use of featured snippets.

Featured snippets are designed to help put your website in the #0 spot – the top ranking. To do that, you’ll want to put the answers to your most popular queries in the first few sentences on your page. This is especially for purchasing and local search since people frequently use voice search to find local businesses. If you can optimize for the most important snippets early on, you’ll be way ahead on the competition and have a greater ROI.

Rebuild and Reassess

After modifying your website for voice, you may find your rankings initially drop. That’s because you need to request your site be re-indexed. Otherwise, search engines won’t be able to match queries with your new site content. Re-indexing will put all of your new information into effect and make it possible for users to search using the featured snippets. Re-indexing your site will also help you ensure that you haven’t interfered with the crawl-ability of your site.

Experts expect half of all searches to be voice-driven by 2020, but since 50% of users with voice search access already use it at least occasionally, now is the time to act. Even if many users are still wary of voice search, you can’t afford to fall behind. Those users will still be able to rely on traditional text search mechanisms, but that won’t help voice enthusiasts. If you lose those early adopters now, they might not come back when you’ve caught up with the voice search revolution.

This editorial was first published here in March of 2018.

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Business Marketing

10 podcasts that every business owner should hear

(MARKETING) If you’re a business and want to learn something, give one of (or all of) these ten podcasts a listen.

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headphones listen podcasts

So many choices, so little time

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

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From interviews with business leaders to industry specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

Business podcasts for your listening enojoyment

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly populat show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further thna Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real world applications and cover everything from marketing to techology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

#LearnSomething

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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