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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Growing Your Blog

Perhaps the top attribute of blogging is the ability for a blogger to go back and look at what they were focused on at a certain point of time. Sometimes a blogger forgets about their posts and after checking Google keyword referrals, they notice some older posts that someone found on a search engine and visited their blog. This process begins to show the blogger key word or title relevancy.
It's cool to be reminded of your own thoughts by another person. One of my recent posts about "growing your blog" has drawn some attention and I receive about fifty weekly visits from Google search to that particular post. There I outlined ten basic ways that you can help grow your blog and improve your website rankings. After reading it over again, I decided to follow up with a post on five additional ways on increasing blog and traffic rankings.
1. Categorization
Perhaps you already have categories on your blog, which is a great step. Again, categorizing is selecting a subject (mine is "growing your blog" and adding those blog descriptive terms to Google, Yahoo, and Technorati. A word of caution: double categorizing your posts dilutes your blog's path to attract bots in a specific area via search due to algorithms. Okay, what the hell is a bot? A bot is a software application that runs automated tasks over the net ... such as searching. So pick one category that is best suited.

2. Cross Linking or Trackbacks
When you read someone else’s blog and like the content don’t feel shy to link their post as that will leave a trackback on their site. Make sure that you have your blog's web address in your posting signature. If it’s a popular blog then chances are that the blog owner and the visitors of that blog will follow through and visit your blog.
3. Concentrate
Create Good Titles – When you write a post title make sure that it makes sense to you, is concise and popular within the context of your blog's main subject. Search engines are intelligent due to the aforementioned "secret" algorithms. Search bot mannerisms like to match a search query with blog post titles. With tens of millions of searches being performed daily, there is ample opportunity that someone will type in a phrase that will relate to your blog post title.

4. Frequency of Posting
If you post one post a day then make sure you write one post a day, everyday. I use a weekly posting frequency. The point is to develop a regular pattern that your readers and followers will understand and expect. My weekly posting doesn't really do my blog any favors with respect to being picked up by RSS feeds (see my other posts.) Don’t leave one day or two week's of postings out because it’s the weekend. You will aggravate your flock.

5 Email Updates
Email is still the dominate platform when it comes to gaining a reader's or follower's attention. Just open your blog's preferences and enable the email alert selection and your followers will receive an update with each new post provided the special widget appears. I happen to be a strong proponent of RSS feed alerts but I live in the technology media world.

So there you have it and I hope these tips help you.
Good Luck,
JD Holzgrefe

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No Post today - A memorial for Chris Clifton

A sad day.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Twenty-Two Ways to Grow Your Blog

Amping Up Your Blog!
You can find a forum (or message board) on just about any subject you can think of. Search for ‘[whatever] forum’ and see what comes up.
I have recently joined the Yahoo Ask forum which is one of the world's largest answer forums. This forum has millions of users. It’s really helpful and motivating reading the different question and answer threads. There’s the chance to see how other people do things, and the ability to network with Hundreds of Thousands of people in your specific category. When you start to post, add your blog's URL (web address) to your post's signature, where you can place links to your blog or any other site you would like to send traffic to. Every time you comment, answer or post a new questions, your blog's address is added and people can easily click through to your blog, giving you more exposure. So the more questions and replies you make the more traffic you may be able to generate. The potential of forums is undeniable.
I was going to add another list here of forums, but I’ll let you explore on your own!

Here are Twenty-Two ways to grow your blog's audience.
1. Interact with other large audience bloggers and cross post extensively with relevant blogs
2. (BIG) Embrace the interaction of Web 2.0. Read blogs in your niche and post comments with URL of your blog.
3. Write solid content on a regular basis. Your followers will become accustomed to your posting cycle.
4. (BIG) Set an email alert for comments posted on your blog entries and respond to the comments in rapid fashion.
5. Use ping to inform search engines and aggregators like Technorati and Blogsearch (Google)about new content on your blog.
6. Increase your blog's interactivity with polls.
7. Be cognizent of your subject and occassionally take a different tack then other blogers.
8. Leave trackbacks with the big blog aggegators.
9. Try to build a community around your blog's central concept or mission statement.
10. Try to use translation plugins to attract readers from other countries.
11. Continually ask yourself "what is my blog's mission statement?"
12. Be active on forums in your niche and add your blog's link in your email signature
13. Join communities that fall into your main category (Linkedin - Facebook -
14. Develop the conversation around your posts thus creating a main direction to your content.
15. Include your blog's address in all marketing collateral such as business cards, flyers, brochures, web site, etc.
16. Submit your articles in social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious.
17. Submit your blog posts to blog carnivals within your category (
18. Submit reviews of your blog posts to newsgroups.
19. Write articles and submit them in blog article directories.
20. Join MySpace, Linkedin and Myspace then search and join select groups that relate to your blog's main purpose.
21. Utilize Yahoo! Answers and also
22. Check to see if you can establish a wiki page for your blog (
Good luck,
JD Holzgrefe

Monday, May 25, 2009

You work so hard, but as months roll by, your number of RSS subscribers can still be counted on two hands. It’s depressing, and it can make you consider dropping your blog efforts. Don’t become discouraged; there are many things you can do to increase your blog subscribers.
It Starts with the RSS Feed you install…
I'm stating the obvious but I will say it again. You can’t expect anyone to subscribe to your blog if they don’t know how or have a chance to install your blog into their browser RSS feeds. This is why you need an RSS widget asking people to subscribe to your blog.
Again ... Content is King
One of the top reasons people do not subscribe to blogs is that the focus is too general. If your blog readers don’t know what to expect from you on a regular basis, they won’t follow your blog. Simple as that! That’s why it’s so important to stay close to one subject and generate content that focuses on that mission. By focusing on one particular niche, your audience will be highly targeted and you’ll gain authority in your field.
Don’t Forget about Regular Blog Maintenance

You are at a point of a specific niche with respect to your content and the content is quality. Now, you need to focus on the regular management of your blog. Keeping up with the little things will help you attract and keep blog subscribers. I am not talking about constant changes, template colors variances or new fonts. I am referring to the bane of web 2.0. Respond to your comments, create a regular pattern for posting so that your readers will know what to expect and keep things clean.
Now, get out there and start growing your blog followers! Stick to your mission/niche, and eventually your blog will begin to grow.

JD Holzgrefe

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Growing Your Blog

When I read a blog, I try to imagine what the blogger could have done to make me sign up and become a follower. If you keep track of stats outside of unique followers and have found that you are pulling in many visitors but have persistent low follower conversion numbers, we need to have a chat or just keep reading.
Let's say that you got lucky and had a visitor traffic spike caused by a temporary increase in search engine rankings or a link from a large site or you somehow landed on DIGG's or Delicious' main page or perhaps an "internet burp" where hundreds of blogs suddenly linked to you (we lost count after six million blogs.) All of these terrific events were probably due to a stellar blog post that you created and it took off into cyberspace. Take a bow.
So with all these first time visitors coming into your blog, how can you convert them into followers and "cement" the relationship? Let's start with:
Content is the undisputed king and writing quality content that can engage readers is the most effective method to convert these visitors into regular followers of your blog. It is also the hardest method to achieve. One tactical trick is to write a series of posts to convert visitors. In short, if a visitor / reader likes part one, they will return for part two and three. Just be sure that you are vocal in having visitors sign up to become followers and put that "plug" directly in your post.

Funky a.k.a. Unique
Roll out some of that George Clinton funk when first designing and then develop regular content that evokes the readers thought process. I am not condoning change to page layouts, wild swings in color templates or sudden departures from your blog's mission statement. This will actually drive visitors away and erode your follower base in rapid fashion.

Try implementing unique things on your blogs. This could include implementing widgets that centralize feeds to content from other blogs, heavy linking or Twitter or DIGG extensions that propel your blog into a visitor's media dashboard. Remember ... stay true to your mission statement and for those few precious minutes, your follower will extract useful information and perhaps even leave a comment.

Your tone of writing is paramount. People have a certain disdain for being "talked at" or even worse, talked down upon. The successful blogger simply needs to connect with his or hers audience ... nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps the most important part of this element is the fact that we are blogging in a Web 2.0 world. This means interaction and not static media. If you have comments from visitors, answer them and get your groundswell moving.

The Twilight Zone a.k.a. the Unexpected
Keep your audience on their toes by using a fresh and electric routine. This could be the graphics on each blog post. I have had a few people that like my visuals and attempt to make the connection with each specific blog post. Yes, there is a visual to text connection on this blog and secondly it's hard to decipher. Methods and ideas that create excitement along with strong relevant content will convert visitors into followers.

Lather, Wash and Repeat a.k.a. Functionality
Is your blog easy to use? Does your blog offer more than a few blog posts? Does your blog look like a vanilla ice cream cone? Are you expeditiously responsive to comments left on your blog? Out of the six million plus blogs, 90% are entirely too stoic. The Mount Rushmores of purpose, mindset, industry enhancement and expert opinion ... yawn. If your content is hard to read, it is very unlikely that visitors will return. Incorporate several widgets such as an RSS feed, twitter micro or email poke and make it easy for them. Making things usable and easier on the visitor will improve your conversion rate.

JD Holzgrefe

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Growing your blog traffic

Using Keywords in the Metatag role
When you begin a new post, ensure that you are using popular keywords to assist in successful searches that deliver traffic. Keywords are phrase of interest such as "Obama, Blog, New Age, Swine Flue, etc. These keywords allow the automated bots from Google, Ask and Yahoo to pick up your blog and deliver it to interested parties. If they like the content, then you will achieve a new follower.
Ping the search websites with your blog
A few sites, including ZingFast, Weblogs and Yahoo's blogs afford a registered user pinging services. When you register for a pinging service, these sites will send out a ping to their auto bots to inform other pinging sites every time your blog is updated. Viewers who happen to be visiting any other site with pinging services will see your new content (new blog post) flash across their screens.
Blog Bookmarking
This is a very important step to build your blog traffic. Just create profiles at multiple social bookmarking sites such as or DIGG. Use these sites and add links to your blog as well as content snips from your blog to your DIGG profile increases your visibility among the site's readership. Folks that are interest will will click on your link and visit your site.
Using Technorati
Technorati is the "Google" search of Blogs. It offers users a concise means to locate subject material or proper context within the millions of active blogs around the world.
Indexing your blog with Technorati offers multiple advantages. This includes the opportunity to add your brand or blog's visual imprint to Technorati, where gains visiblilty to millions of viewers who visit this popular site daily. As a side benefit, you can receive updated Technorati link counts to indicate your blog's traffic patterns.
Using Feedburner
The top RSS (really simply syndication) service is FeedBurner. Feedburner helps you promote your blog's content along with building and measuring your audience. Both of these metrics are essential to your blog marketing strategy. They allow you to measure, coordinate and see the traffic impacts of new tools and tricks that you are using. It also make it very easy for a user to add your blog directly to the internet browser such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Firefox.
Blog Linking
Make sure that you link your blog through posts, signatures or comments to relevant blogs and sites that are similar to your blog. Remember that the web world is not always reciprocal so don't expect others to link back to you. The moral to this trick is to not take anything personally as there are millions of blogs. You have to become a "trusted source." Once you become a resource, you won't have to worry about getting backlinks—they'll come naturally.
Have fun and email me with any questions.
JD Holzgrefe

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic

Built a brand new blog? It's hard as hell to riase your blog traffic level past friends and family. You need to leverage a myriad of online tools such as metagtags, Google search optimization, registration on DIGG, Technorati and Delicious, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Alexa, etc. Let's review a few online web sites that will improve your blog's visibility.

The basics include providing comments with your blog's link by using linkbacks from existing high traffic blogs, registration at the popular social networking "hub" sites and fresh content. Remember that it's all about having a larger reader base, more exposure, bigger affiliate payouts, more money, more affliate advertising revenue and in some cases even free gadgets for reviews.

1. Register with Technorati. This is a sure fire way to increase your Technorati Authority, linkbacks, and traffic to your blog. The goal is to bring your blog up the ranks from 2,300,000 to the top one hundred. Reaching the top one hundred will increase your reader base, traffic significantly and add a significant air of importance to your blog.
2. Build your Alexa Rank. The importance of increasing your Alexa rank means more opportunities for you and your blog. Most advertisers and ad networks use Alexa rank to determine your popularity and the weight of links from your site to theirs. This is a sure way to increase your online income. Use the Alexa widget and enhance your Alexa ranking.
=After installing this widget some bloggers and site owners witnessed their Alexa ranking increase 30-40% within a few weeks. Another surefire way to increase your Alexa Ranking is to download the Alexa Toolbar Alexa uses this toolbar to collect browsing data from visitors who use the toolbar and uses this information to calculate your Alexa ranking.
3. Submit quality articles linking back to your blog via social network sites such as StumbleUpon, and Digg. Certain blog companies like blogger (used here) allow you to grab a "one and all" widget which contains the link icons from twenty or more of the world's largest bookmark web sites (digg, delicious, etc.)
4. Install the standard RSS widget as the tool it was designed to be: an easy way to create return visitors to your blog. I wanted to mention this method because it is simply an obvious way to get users back to your blog. When you own a blog, you want to not only be able to get loads of traffic, but you want your users to like your content enough to come back over and over again. This is the magic of RSS feeds. They allow your users to have an easy method to see when you are updating your content, and it gives them the opportunity to check out your latest articles any time you add a new RSS feed item to your blog. Use the nature of RSS to promote your blog and add some traffic by getting your users to subscribe and generate hits every day to your website!
EXTRA. Join interesting contests and get more involved in the blog communities. Try these methods to boost your blog traffic and see what results you get. Let me know how effective you find this information and or any methods that you have used that i can add to this post, you will get a linkback for your new additions.
JD Holzgrefe

Friday, April 17, 2009

Riding the Social Networking Wave

You've finished your blog after months of arduous work. It's clear, concise and easy to navigate. Months go by and no comments appear. Did you throw a rock into an empty pond? Perhaps.Let's review some of the basic techniques to help improve the visibility of your blog. Let's face it, if a bear shits in the woods...? These techniques will include search engines, social networking and corporate email lists.Using Search Engine Optimization, referred to as SEO, is an excellent method to build traffic for your blog. When you first followed the composition template from WordPress or BlogSpot, you were given two or three areas to describe your blog using phrases. These key phrases you selected are picked up by Google’s roving robots that assimilate the content, tags, phrases and assets on the worldwide web for categorization. You can still change them, just look under options.Google then uses multiple complex algorithms to determine a particular site/blog's popularity. A time tested model is to enter your key phrases into Google search and see how many web sites and blogs appear. Use phrases that both relate to your blog and phrases that your intended audience would type in to locate help or additional information on a given subject. If you want to add some power behind your quest for traffic, register for Google ad words: ( ) A short note on different search mechanisms. There are multiple search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN (Microsoft.) Google currently owns 65% of the search engine market. Most paid search systems use a pay per click model which means that you are charged each time a person locates your site/blog and clicks through to see it. The “pay per click” or PPC model offers the user the ability to determine budget for your marketing. You can also determine how many clicks you are receiving for each specific search phrase. This gives you the ability to continually monitor and modify your contextual efforts. The litmus test is generally a two or three word phrase that best describes your web site YET is typically typed in by your potential audience when they need help or are searching for web assets relevant to your blog. For your blog, let’s continue with an exercise. Go to Google search and type in “building a social networking site” and you’ll see my blog appear on the right or within the first few search results. If I had used “JD’s Special Blog” as a paid Google phrase, the gain would be minimal or even non-existent. Here's a tool to find out how your traffic is buzzing along - or the easy to use "Who's Talking" The best route to growing your blog is actually “swimming in the waters” of social networking. This simply means that you locate by search, blogs that are similar to yours and cross post in a complimentary mode. Please be aware that there may be a level of competition with some blogs and your comments may not get posted. Continue this exercise frequently.Cross posting places your blog’s URL (uniform resource locator which is simply your address on the web) in multiple places that are relevant. The more you interact with other bloggers and build up your presence, the more successful your attempt at growing blog traffic will be. When you’ve built your blog traffic through social networking interaction, you will see a much higher concentration of commentators, critics and followers than those coming from paid search efforts.If you are an IT marketing manager that has an existing base of customer email names, you are sitting on a potential gold mine. Simply use an email newsletter that targets your best customers/evangelists and inform them that you goal is improvement through their input. Make sure that you have existing blog content that invites opinions or even criticism from this audience and encourage them to comment. Your blog hosting company will have an option that when a comment is made to your blog, you receive an email.Please make sure that you respond thus creating the interaction that forms the nucleus of web 2.0. Keep this blog updated and answer all of the comments. You'll be amazed at the results. The combination of SEO techniques and a heavy dose of social networking interaction will enhance your blog's audience. JD Holzgrefe

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Eight Ways to Not Grow Your Blog

1. 15” Graphic Files
I have a visual epiphany to share with everyone and my graphics are huge. Those big fat images take minutes to load ... everyone knows that anything worth a hoot is worth waiting for, right? If my blog takes forever to load, it assures top notch quality and graphics for the reader, right? Another way to look at long page load benefits is that it keeps a person on your blog for three to five minutes, right? Not!
2. Be covert!
Stop interacting with any other blogs. Most experts will tell you that the practice of reading, commenting, and cross-linking to other people's blogs will bring traffic to yours. Could that be common sense? Why would seeing you hanging out at another bar make anyone think your bar must be great? You need to act like the only bar worth its salt is yours. Forget about working with, reading or even visiting any other blogs/bars. Not!
3. Be dull with your content or better yet, be generic.
Everyone likes to be smart. Why in the world would you want a blog that could spark creative thinking? You run a blog, right? Why fight your strength? Let the readers be "interesting" and you will make many friends and create followers. Spend your valuable time building posts like "Florida is in the Southeast" as that is where you want to focus your efforts. There is no need to break any new ground or buck conventional thinking. Not!
4. Always changing your blog's appearance.
Your followers will absolutely love this. They will quickly grow accustomed to having ancillary RSS feeds shuffled around weekly along with teal backgrounds changing to magenta. Think about Albert Einstein. The man had seven black suits with seven white shirts to make his life easier. Do you leave your home every day wearing the same pants and shirt? We can look at this in another way. People love surprise parties so constantly change your blog's format and color palette. Not! 5. Reposting current events and news.
Listen up bloggers, there is a massive shortage of people who comment on the news of the day. There are hardly any opinions (or opines, for that matter) on the news of the day. You can use daily news topics from Duke basketball to Darfur, keep regurgitating the news and you'll have everyone finding your blog. Not!6. Practice misspelling (see comment #3.)
People really enjoy, trust and want to follow a blogger that makes them feel superior. The additional benefit is that a misspelled blog is e-z to reed. Most people will addmit thit spendeng valuabul time dec-iphher-in words thit are spelt wrung is a fuhn tasque and habbit furming. Not!
7. Go nuts with widgets.
You have to incorporate every new bell, whistle and widget that is available to your blog. You buy the newest in electronics and gadgets and so does everyone else. Unless you load up your blog page with forty or fifty widgets (even a few that the best critics are not familiar with), you are "old school." The drive for enhancement is a full time job and you should spend 50% of your blog entry time tracking down widgets. And do not forget to move them around the page. Not!
8. Never, ever respond to comments
One of the best ways to grow your audience is to ignore your followers. Play hard to get and if you have to respond to a comment, wait six months. We both know that followers or people expect to wait and expeditious interaction is for the birds. Not!
JD Holzgrefe

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's About Trust Damn it!

Sitecore is a vendor that provides companies with content management systems for web sites. CMS systems have been around since the early days of mass web marketing. Sitecore had contacted Redmond Media to determine if we could reach (and help sell) the senior IT decision maker. While in the midst of a sales call to Sitecore's Darren Guarnaccia, I decided to ask him how badly social networking had dented his sales. Without missing a beat, Darren went over the rationale of taking your existing web content management system and having the existing architecture contain all of the bells and whistles of the various technologies in current play; The ability to build a wiki, populate a linkedin, the strengths of listening to and monitoring dialogue both internally (site specific) and externally, etc.. It made sense and the logic follows the typical migration of say, an operating system. A newer version comes along and more functionality and efficiency is in play. Darren then explained that in order for a social network to truly succeed, you need "major trust". The entire premise of online social networking is the fact that individuals and their web needs/habits have evolved. We know, as marketers, that the web is now a two-way street. They are less inclined to come over for static controlled content. These individuals want to interact with their peers, listen to a voice of reason, credibility and expertise in a specific field, receive quick response that fosters further communication and also have the ability to give input. Most people are still readers or "inactives" at this point in time but those sideline viewers are spending more time and reading more content in the social network frame than in the traditional web site frame. Rewind chapter four in "Groundswell" and you've got the same premise. Incidentally, SiteCore’s sales are doing very well. Darren wrote an excellent white paper that covers seamless integration of your social networking needs with your current CMS provider (Redmond Media uses Sitecore). This paper also goes into detail about finding that elusive "do or die" trust element with your social networking audience vis-à-vis your best customers or even better, your company's top evangelists. After all, we don’t want to be road kill on the digital highway, do we? The link for the white paper is here -
I highly recommend Sitecore.
JD Holzgrefe

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monitoring Online Social Media Mentions

Dancing ... I mean Listening to Yourself
It may be six months or a year before your blog begins to develop traction. Your initial goal as a marketing manager was to “move the needle” in terms of your company, product, brand, solution or even CEO and create online talk through the various online social marketing vehicles. Let’s take a long look at the top six free tools that will give you a cauliflower online ear or the ability to see if you have a presence within online social media chatter. Do not be disappointed if you do not and do not be disappointed if management is expecting tangible, measureable metrics. These old quantitative measurements do not exist within online chatter. The intrinsic return on investment is through presence, shear volume and then by interaction. Your goal or rationale to corporate needs to be built with this in mind or you are setting yourself up for failure in their eyes. Remember that the internet represents a new collective, many new paradigms in terms of intimate customer feedback and the potential for expeditious solutions. The older methods of measurement or even quantitative results must be discarded.

Good Old Google - Google Blog Search
The top dog or number one tool is Google blog search. Google web search is going to present you with hundreds or thousands of useless and often unrelated web mentions. The Google blog search will pick up more specific online chatter which could be positive or negative (in either case, you want to be aware.) This tool gives you a chance to not only locate and listen but also the opportunity to create and comment. Remember that interaction with the intended customer is the bane of web 2.0. You'll find Google Blog Search under more when you are on the Google main search page.

Google Custom Search
The second tool is a little more covert and that is Google custom search. You can set up your own personalized search engines that weeds out and dedupes the tremendous and unwieldy results of a bland Google web search. It is very fast to set up and leverages the largest search mechanism on the web – Google. Custom search is located here -

Let them come to you.
You simply perform a Google blog search (under the more tab when you are on the Google search page) and begin to set up alerts that based upon your predetermined set of words “Redmond Media” or “” in my case. You can set up Google blog alerts or Google web alerts and these will be delivered to your email in box. You can also determine the frequency. I have mine set up to come in as soon as the Google search bots receive a match which usually has a latency factor of about sixty minutes.

Tweat, Twit and Twitter The fact that Twitter is almost as powerful as Google in terms of overall audience and usage is amazing. Twitter basically came out of Silicon Valley as a start up with virtual anonymity and in eighteen months. Unlike Google, Twitter leverages the hell out of mobile devices and the growth patterns for this service look very strong. Also, Twitter is also highly addictive. Your customers are venting their frustrations with growing frequency on Twitter, and corporations have their twitter ears on. The good news is that if something such as a brand or company name is mentioned on Twitter, you will be able to locate it. Simply dive in, use twitter with a few well connected friends and learn the search aspect of the service. There’s an advanced search and you can have the relative tweats come into your in box or into your RSS feeds that you have set up on your browser’s main bar (look up top.) Create an account on twitter (thirty seconds) and you'll see the search page icon.

Google has yet another tool – Google Reader. You could spend weeks, long nights and unnecessary time trying to track down every initial web mention concerning your brand, company name or CEO and find a dead end. Google reader gives you the ability to centralize your preselected search phrases in one place and one time through RSS feeds. You set it up, kick back and monitor. Occasionally you can come in a tweak (no, not tweat) the settings. You will actually start to see a pattern of the same blogs and if you wish, you can go into these blogs and begin the interaction process. Google reader is an excellent free tool to help you centralize your monitoring of social chatter.

Ciao – Technorati
Technorati should be part of your online social networking ear The newly, fully refined, Technorati is an excellent free website for the tight and relevant brand searches or even competitors. The tool is very specific, more blog oriented than any of the tools mentioned above and just a little harder in terms of usability. If you are spending two to three hours per week with a social monitoring initiative, use Technorati with the tools above and you will be ahead of 75% of your competitors.
JD Holzgrefe

Monday, March 23, 2009

Social Networking - Jump in and Swim

The majority of marketing managers, whether in information technology, training and certification or for that matter, any other business, would agree that the primary platform to their company’s performance and success is based on relationships with their customers. Strong customer relationships that include known preferences, open communication, interaction, creative criticsms, product feedback and needs lead to future transactions and referrals. That is paramount in business. An existing customer is much easier to maintain and cultivate than locating a new customer.
The popularity of social network channels is changing how marketing managers should treat the internet as well as their customers. Marketing managers now have a chance to receive expeditious and invaluable feedback from their most trusted customers. This is real time customer speak given without pressure or premium and that is a tremendous edge over the competition. If you listen closely enough, you can determine your competition’s weakest points and leverage that information in your marketing efforts along with arming your sales force.
Through mechanisms like Twitter, DIGG, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., marketing managers can work on customer relationships and product enhancements in the most efficient ways ever presented. What’s keeping so many marketing managers on the sidelines and out of a potential windfall from such a distinct competitive edge? Two basic reasons affect the conversion rate. The first is the executive management reluctance factor. The C level management layer doesn’t see the merit. The second is the fear of technology or specifically, what platform(s) should be used.
Perhaps the best cure for executive management reluctance is citing examples of the competition utilizing social media for marketshare gain. There is little that compares to deploying the “fear factor.” Be ready to support your cure with a clear set of goals and objectives that will be obtained yet be conservative. Most social networking programs start on a granular level.
The fear of technology is actually the fear of failure and part of human nature. Let’s use swimming as an analogy to propose a solution … jump in. First, remind yourself that failure is going to happen with construction of social networking platforms. What you do next is vital to success. You, as a marketing manager, need to listen and watch what your peers are using and doing. Tools such has Technorati, Google blog search and Wiki Space search will greatly assist you with the learning curve. At the same time, work on your purpose and objectives so that they are tangible.
The right social network platform(s) is for long term goals. They take time, care and proper maintenance. New technologies like social networks have not changed the basic concepts of a successful marketing. They have given us the ability to improve our relationships.
JD Holzgrefe

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Facebook to Grow your Blog

Working with Facebook to Populate your Blog
With more than 150 million people actively using Facebook, carving out a 36.03% marketshare of all social network vehicles and most importantly, showing a gain of 23% of new creators/critics and commentators aged 35 and over,Facebook is a force to be leveraged* *

Using Facebook to promote
About two months ago, after entering a social networking class, I took the plunge and signed up for Facebook. In that time, it has been great to catch up with over fifty people that I see occasionally at trade shows or on business trips. The people (connections) via Facebook seem endless, and there’s no doubt that once Facebook gets a total strategy together, they will be able to leverage their population with geographical and mobile advertising campaigns. Currently, I am amazed by the entrepreneurial efforts that are flooding Facebook by individual users – business owners.I have received e-mails with open houses, a marketing “how to” newsletter, and the Richmond, Virginia advertising ad club Spring meeting. These entrepreneurs were looking to expand their network by searching location and personal interests, and sending out emails based on it.

This is where Facebook comes in handy, simply post what you’re doing with your blog address (everytime) and utilize the email side of Facebook and you are using yet another social media platform to grow your blog. Yes, some might view the Facebook email as an annoyance but the effort will help grow your blog’s following over time.

PS: Keep your Facebook profile very basic and simple and ensure that your blog address is clickable and highly visible.

JD Holzgrefe

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free and Simple Proven Methods to Grow Your Blog
Growing your blog traffic doesn’t happen overnight and occurs only with a careful plan. Patience is a virtue so give yourself three months or six months before you expect to see a return on your time investment. With the tremendous selection of terrific blogs out there, you need to be patient and dedicate time on your blog. Here are three tricks which can help you grow your company's blog. You can work on these at launch time or add them into your existing blog efforts.

1. Content is an Oligopoly yet Practice Makes Perfect
Build your blog, add four or five posts and make sure that you have the communication tools in place. Specifically, enable a DIGG, Delilous or Technorati (all if you can) tag so readers can tag you with these services. This will improve your search ranking. Make sure that you have an RSS feeder built in near the top. The readers that follow you are your evangelists and represent one of your best components for marketing.

2. Do I Post Weekly, Bi-Weekly or Daily?
What is the second most important part of a blog after content? The answer is frequency of posting. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. When they return they expect two things; new content and feedback on their comments. Determine your posting and response frequency and stick to this. Daily massaging may be impossible for you yet that is acceptable. Stick with a routine and your readers will grow accustomed to it.

3. Utilize the Other Social Media Platforms
You’ll hear me preach this in almost every blog entry. Interact with friends and creations of like by commenting and ensure that your blog is part of your signature.
What’s a signature? The end of your comment. To give you an example, mine would be JD Holzgrefe, Blog Consultant - This is viral marketing at its best. The more you practice this word of mouth viral advertising, the more exposure your blog will receive. Some people will delete your comments but do not take this personally. Simply move on and continue the process.
So let us review the three best practices; Content, Establishing a Frequency of Posting and Utilization of Other Social Media
JD Holzgrefe

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What the Hell is Twitter and How Can I Maximize It

Tweet, Tweeting, Tweeted and ReTweet. The buzzwords of a new social media platform. For those of you that are not familiar with Twitter (roughly 85% of the U.S. population and almost 60% of B2B marketing managers), here's a primer for you.

Twitter was launched as a communications vehicle to let people know what you are doing, how you are feeling, your thoughts on a given subject, tonight's locale of the watering hole all within 140 characters or less. This platform was a natural extension of SMS (short message service) placed into a community frame in which you select your friends, accept twitter followers or who to follow. Additionally, a perfect match for mobile devices that are "always on" thus providing a higher share of voice than messaging on desktop and laptop PCs. The ease of joining and then sending "Tweets" can cause addiction.

"Neighbors and fences."

Just as with any social media, a person that you have as a linkedin connection doesn't necessarily mean that you would select them as a twitter connection. The variance of all of the social media is starting to show some distinct differences in chosen population. Dive right in to all forms and you will be ahead of the curve.

If one takes into consideration "neighbors and fences" when building a twitter community to enhance brand resonance on web 2.0, you'll reach a higher success rate. Let me give a specific example. You visit a trade show and catch up with two members of your biggest account. One is the CIO and the other is that person's right hand ... the system administrator. The latter is probably the better candidate selection for "tweets."

The true muscle of Twitter is found when it is used in a carefully blended cocktail with other social media after careful planning and understanding of your target audience. Here's another example for you. The additional point of engagement through Twitter could bring about an increase in your company's blog if the aforementioned system administrator receives a "tweet" about an interesting security topic that you finished posting on your blog or perhaps your linkedin community.

Take time and align your objectives, learn the similarities and differences of the various social media, think through the population propensity towards the various social media and use them together in an integrated fashion. President Obama used a simplistic twitter drive to web site campaign and the rest is history.

JD Holzgrefe

Saturday, March 7, 2009

growing your blog


If you are a blog parent, it’s very likely that you are not leveraging the full brunt of search engine traffic that is available. Audience development by Twitter is in second place. For now, let's take a look at three SEO tips to help you grow your blog.

It takes time and most bloggers believe building a blog and adding a few posts is enough. The lack of a specific and targeted search engine optimization plan is one reason many blog parents stop trying to make money with affiliate programs and simply give up. Actually blog parents either want to give out beneficial content or they attempt to make money through the banner ads appearing on their blog hence the constant need for a larger audience or in blogspeak – followers.
Let’s try to boil down search engine optimization to three few simple tips for every article you post and so you can take advantage of free (yes … free) internet seo traffic.
The big first tip is to ensure that each of your post links are SEO optimized. With a blog platform like blogspot this is already done. If you’re a WordPress customer, then you’ll want to go into options and set your permalinks so that your blog creates search engine optimized url’s when you write a post.
Specifically, go to the Permalinks tab, and click the button next to custom field. Next you’ll put a percentage sign followed by the words postname. Right after the words postname, put another percentage sign. Now all your blog post will have maximized SEO urls.
The best tip to optimizing your blog is to put your main keyword in the title. Think long and hard about the selection of your keyword and you can change it. Let’s say you’re writing about losing weight, then use these keywords in the title of your blog and your blog post. What you don’t want to do is put unrelated keywords in your blog’s title. The clutter will diminish the Google, Yahoo, Ask bots (see earlier posts) ability to categorize your blog and content and each respective post. If your blog is Poodle Manicure and you name your poodle manicure blog, then you’ll rank higher than if you name it something totally unrelated.
The next step is to optimize each post’s title or tag. If you’re trying to get people to click on your post about using Ped Egg to trim a poodle’s claws, then your post title should have those specific keywords in it. Avoid terms such as filing dog nails, cuticle canine repair, etc. – be specific. The lack of tag clarity prevents each search engine bot from determining what your post contains and correctly categorizing it, so you can forget about getting free traffic. If you’re using Adsense which populates your blog with banner advertising and allows for potential revenue, this is a very important tip to get targeted traffic for high paying keywords.
These three basic tips will separate your blog from 90% of other blogs on the net and there are millions. By making this time investment in optimization, the search engines will rank your blog higher and that is the key to success.

JD Holzgrefe

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pump up Your Volume

You’ve pulled the curtain back from your first blog and the theatre is packed, right? So how do you make that happen? How do I attract visitors and get to the elusive first Google page? How does an hour a day sound?
Let’s get you started, because the process begins here – and as I said, you’ve got sixty minutes a day, so I'll try to speak quickly. Reciprocal blog imprinting is one of the most effective strategies to expand your audience, boost Google rankings, and link your website with every available mechanism on the internet. The goal of a reciprocal imprinting program is to turn up the volume or obtain “online amplification” from other blogs/sites/online newsletters/twitters/tazers, etc. that are linking to your blog.
The Top Eight Strategies for Effective Reciprocal Blog Imprinting Program.
1. Build a Blog – Building a blog and posting your relevant content is a great way to build blog followers. Okay, you already know that. The concept that's not apparent is that people may want slices or individual articles from your blog. An example is an article from this blog, a link from a web site in Portugal and two YouTube videos from New Zealand and the new manager in Cairo was able to gain funding from an investment group in Dover, Delaware. Here we have almost fifteen people reading content and your blog's address is listed. We can refer to this as viral content submission, which I’ll talk about a bit later, your blog can attract a lot of new visitors that may become your own blog followers.
2. Forum Amps – Forums are great places to determine and locate your special audience members or perhaps your best evangelists, providing target customers, enhancement critics (never take anything too personally) and much more. By interacting, these "cats" allow you to reach a “guru status” provided you take the time to answer questions carefully given your input is qualified. Put an amp to your blog by installing a blog redirect in your signature and with every new post you present an opportunity to enhance your online amplification.
3. Blog Critiquing – Here's a technique that top online amp specialists commonly swear by. Find blogs that interest you, and post comments concerning the authors content. The majority of blogs have a white cloud that allow you to put in your comments and ... your blog URL – that will become an online amp attached to your comment. So make your comments relevant and interesting and you’ll suddenly have a network of blogs with links to your blog.
4. Online Social Networking – Delicious, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, they are all social networks that can provide you with online amplification and followers. Start an account with each and learn how each can be used for you (one day, the pathways to each will converge) – and don’t forget to post links to your blog in all of your profiles.
5. (For Corporate Bloggers) Press Releases – Press releases gain exposure and are actually easier now to provide then ten years ago. Publish press releases regularly about your brand or any interesting industry news you think you can draw readers with. Embed your blog links in the body and enjoy online amplification. Google will index the press release.
6. Asking – It’s as simple as asking sometimes. Find blogs you like and ask for a link back to your blog, possibly in exchange for a link on your blog to theirs. It’s a numbers campaign and if five or ten reciprocate, then your time "gardening” was well spent.
7. Directory Submissions – Submit your blog URL in all directories. There are many services and sites built around link submissions or url submissions – and they are an email address away. Be prepared for additional spam but that's the way of the web.
8. Expert Submissions – Write, polish, edit, re-read and re-write until you can present an article to a lead blogger (hint - a blogger in your area of the market.) See if he/she will publish and gain trust ability. Ensure that you have your blog address mentioned and look for instant online amplification.
Now go spend your five hours amplifying your blog this week.
JD Holzgrefe

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Online Paid Content

I've read a number of blogs and newsletters (predominately from publishers) that propose a new paradigm on the web ... pay per visit content. Let's call it PayPal perusal reading. I read with glee the comparison between the transition that the music industry went through with paying for online media content. That scenario sets up a nice thesis but it’s simply not going to work. Just as sure as the sun shines and a sales rep deviates from a rate card (this occurs daily), this model would last about a month. If you need more evidence, simply look at the damage Craig’s list has done to classified advertising in every major newspaper.
It would play out along these lines …
The paid content alliance publishers would form an alliance. Perhaps they would call it the “our content is king and we have an editorial staff that are star fire journalists” alliance. You visit our site and you'll pay for the new content coming from a trusted source ... a writer in the know.
The model would meet immediate resistance and web site/blog traffic would drop. Visitors would exit in droves. The pressure on the sales side would mount and an alliance member would open their site back up to free entry. Through the entire experiment, the participating alliance members would lose traffic and never regain their respective impression levels. It's a bad nightmare.
If you are delivering content to a specific audience, there are three basic steps. First you need to listen based on a specific set of predetermined metrics such as customer service, you/your brand reputation (good or bad) or content delivery enhancement. There are plenty of free tools to help you accomplish this very important step. Secondly, you need to integrate the ideas and feedback that you have accumulated from passive online listening. Lastly, build trust through interaction. Answer and interact with the sites/blogs that pertain to you/your brand and energize your evangelists. Repeat, wash and rinse this cycle many times and avoid the EZ Pass model.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tangibility not fog

How do you define success? Who owns your brand? How will you leverage the interactive web? These are all questions that (according to Forrester Research) 90% of IT marketing managers are wrestling with. These are valid questions and it's becoming more and more difficult to determine answers with the myriad of options available.
Let's try to shine a flashlight on two areas; measurability and the set up process. If you pull anything out of this post, remember to ask yourself if your social network asset creates the feeling of "I want to come back." This cause mantra for your target audience has been repeated in almost every online social networking strategy book and blog that I have read. It’s a litmus test so employ it and gain input from your peers

Remember that the mission of my blog is to assist IT marketing managers locate resources so that they can fully understand social networking and use it with authority. Here are two excellent articles on formulating successful social networking plans.

Kevin Barenblat and the gurus at Context Optional (building a social network)

Michael Berkley and the gurus at Splashcast Media (measuring your return on investment)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Korean Online Social Networking - a model

The dominate social networking site in South Korea is Cyworld. This site is very interesting in model, offers a very easy interface to join and transactional in nature. You obtain acorns that act as currency. I grabbed a hefty 45 acorns by logging in and a first time gift. Each time you add a "friend", you receive twenty acorns.
The site is set up to give daily reads on members that include location, mood, schedule, select chat groups and much, much more. You can build your own apartment and basically set up a "second life" world with acorns. This is a full bells and whistles social networking site that surpasses any site I have visited.

The statistics are amazing. Way back in 9/05, the site was turning $100 million in revenue and currently, 15 million people out of 47 million South Koreans are using the site. Yes, that's almost 1/3 of the total population of South Korea. Simply amazing! This post will be short as I have cross-posted with my new Cyworld account and hopefully will gain a few comments from the South Korean users of Cyworld and why they like the experience.

JD Holzgrefe

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Google gets on the Social Network Train

I was espousing to a friend how Microsoft could finally release control of a portion of their marketing after reading a terrific information sheet by Buzzlogic ( ) entitled "Influence is Golden". With the advent of Windows 7 purportedly hurling Microsoft back into the "good" side after the Vista OS debacle, now is their chance to stop, look around and start interacting with their audience.

Just as certain as the sun rising, Google beats Microsoft to the punch ... at least to a specific technology jab. Google has launched Latitude which is a service that enables a mobile user to broad cast their exact GPS location to selected friends. Try it for FREE - Where's Fred? Aha - at Murphy’s having a cold one. Someone needs to wake up Microsoft or they'll spend another $21 billion on Yahoo for some very old tech and a neat arcade system.

With regard to the article by Buzzlogic that turned my flashlight on, I sent the CEO, Todd Parsons, a linkedin invitation and he responded within one day. Great people, great ideas and so much promise ahead. This is not your father's web.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

American Express and Hilton

I read in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Hospitality Association reported that the current vacancy rate for hotels was approaching a twenty-five year low. American Express is considering a program where a card user could book three nights at any domestic U.S. Hilton and receive a fourth night absolutely free. One spin on the old 3+1 package was that the customer could opt for a single night voucher after spending three nights.

This effort was purported to be placed out there on the web via social networking. This "viral online" push would create a trackable infusion of three night stays at Hilton by American Express card users. The experiment seems to have met failure. If one searches the vast internet, there is no mention of the program. All of us realize that social online networking is still in its' infancy yet Hilton and American Express could have done a much better job.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Wave of Social Online Marketing

Red Robin's brand mystique is an unusual one. If one visits, the brand has already picked up 231 tags, most of which are positive. I thought I would meander over to Wiki and search Red Robin. Wiki delivers a wonderful and clear snapshot of Red Robin’s operations. Let’s follow up with a back door reality check and search Google. Uh-Oh … Red Robin’s Wiki page is not even in the first two pages of Google search.

Your first thought may be that Red Robin has positioned their corporate web site within Google as the number one and number two search results and subsequently someone is doing an excellent job for RR with search engine optimization (SEO). <<<<
Stop and think about how much more effective and insightful (as a brand) the Wiki format and content are to the online traveler than the corporate website.

Next week, we challenge twitter to see if they can pull off geo based Twitter messages from Red Robin for a special burger and record the tests.
If you have time, read "Scientific Advertising" by Claude Hopkins - 1866 - 1932.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We know that the traditional four P's of marketing are product, pricing, promotion and placement. The proper usage of social networking assets presents a fifth P to "the marketing mix" ... physis.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Beginning

Welcome! This blog will reflect my personal opinions as well as communal thoughts on how social networking can help your company build and maintain a positive image through the drastically changing web landscape. With some help, we should be able to deliver tangible methods and best practices that you can deploy to help you leverage Web 2.0 to enhance your company's perception and presence.

I am the Associate Publisher of Redmond Media - an Independent Source of Media on Windows Technology.
JD Holzgrefe -

"Getting to First Base"