Friday, May 04, 2007

Belated Thanks All Around

I've been remiss in thanking a handful of folks for recent kind mentions of this blog or of its author in various media outlets. Through the wonders of Google and Technorati alerts and other mysterious technical tools our vast staff has assembled to help us keep up with things, we've noticed a pleasing spike in mentions recently. Sometimes I'm slow to acknowledge these mentions, but I'm nevertheless always thankful for them.

Back in February, Crain's managing editor Scott Suttell, one of the truly nicest guys in the business, had
this tidbit on his widely read Editor's Choice blog. A few weeks ago, ace web developer Marc Majers had a nice write-up in the Cool Cleveland e-letter about our Web Association panel event. It's online, but since it's relatively brief and buried deeply in this issue, let me reprint it here in full:
Last Monday, the WA gathered a group of tech-savvy pioneers to discuss the growing impact of social media. Moderated by Jim Kukral of BlogKits, the panelists consisted of George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily, Dan Hanson of Great Lakes Geek and John Ettorre of Working with Words. The panel passionately argued for the business case of this growing medium. In a nutshell, local companies should care about web 2.0 marketing channels like blogs, video and podcasting because they can generate business. Web 2.0 as explained by Dan Hanson is "push-button publishing for people." The Time Magazine person of the year 2006 was "You" because now anyone can post content on the web. John Ettorre stressed that content is "The heart and soul of the Internet" so make sure what you post is valuable. Web users are scouring the Internet for two reasons: a solution to their problem or to have some fun. You need to put your best foot forward with whatever you create to build a community around your work. "Make sure you don't have typos—they are worse than fascism", Mr. Ettorre exclaimed. The increasing bandwidth of the nternet in tandem with this "push-button technology" is causing a flurry of new content being posted in the form of blogs, podcasts and video. Blogger George Nemeth said one overt benefit of blogging is learning something from someone else. Blogs also have direct organic search engine optimization benefits because of the sheer content. Instead of you finding a client, they will find you. The content you are posting on your blog is making you an expert in your field and this will ultimately lead to a sale. Everyone likes getting their content through a different medium; that's why you should offer your customers choice. Some people want to read it, watch it or listen to it. Jim Kukral stressed that video is the next big medium because it is the most effective way to get your point across to busy, attention-deficit web user. He suggested making short 30-60 second "how to videos" to connect to the YouTube generation. As a matter of fact, Google will be adding video results in standard searches this summer. You know when Google does something, it sticks. Social media is setting the table for marketing to make a sale. Marketing is designed to get someone's attention. Blogs, podcasts and videos are just another medium to get a consumer's attention and they work best when you use them together. We are now our own travel agents, insurance agents and journalists, but the quality of the content is key. As Jim Kukral said, "People can lick off or wash off your stickiness." Web 2.0 tools can deliver your message faster and more efficiently and all you can do is get the customer's attention with quality content.

An interesting guy named Gary, whom I've never met, happened to be at that event, and shared this brief nugget of insight later on his fine blog. I'm hoping we get to meet some time.
More recently, and as an outgrowth of a subject that came up during this panel, my friend Dan Hanson, tech editor of Inside Business magazine, quoted me about the "long tail" phenomenon in the current (May) issue, none of which is online. Finally, I happened to come across a truly humbling reference to Working With Words on the blog of a local graphic designer I've never met. I also hope to meet this fellow some day, and thank him for those kind words.

Now go enjoy the weekend, people. You hereby have my permission to begin it early.


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