Mastery - Strategic Internet Public Relations
The landscape of Internet Marketing has magnified the need for an on-point plan for communicating the brand message through public relations. Digital tools (blogs and social media) in the hands of the business owner are powerful, but these same digitals tools (blogs and social media) in the hands of customers are even more powerful. This medium has the power to create a partnership of effort, using the voice of customers as if they co-owned the brand.
In the ninth class of the Full Sail University Internet Marketing we learned that business owners and PR professionals must be pro-active and strategic to avert crisis and promote a healthy level of trust to support marketing and sales efforts.
This class covered
- Public Relation ethical standards and why these standards are important
- External PR as well as Internal PR – the class discussed the importance of a fluid plan for communicating with employees as important stakeholders in the brand image of the organization
- Crisis prevention and management – discussions were facilitated on the topic of not only managing a public relations crisis such as a Twitter fail – but to also monitor crises in the social arena and in the news to learn from other companies. Strategic plans can be made to avoid common pitfalls and processes can be taught from the top down for company wide preparedness.
Overall I was very pleased with the content learned in this class. There was more than one text book to be used as resources for what is still a new frontier of Internet Public Relations.
Breakenridge, D. (2012). Social media and public relations: Eight new practices for the pr professional. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.
Advanced Search Engine Optimization - FSU Masters Program
My goal in this class is to gain a better understanding of what good SEO is and what practices to avoid.
First thing that I learned was that search engine optimization is not as complex as I thought might be discovered in an “advanced” class. The valuable lesson that I gathered from the class is to have a good understanding of the fundamentals and then monitor the practice of implementing the basics.
A good understanding of the visitor, what is being sought and why, is a good foundation. It is important to have an understanding of where in the buying cycle the visitor is when he or she uses a particular key word or phrase to search.
It is possible to “over” optimize. SEO needs to be done not only to attract search engines but also to create a sticky page for the user. If the content doesn’t sound natural or the links are spammy instead of delivering satisfaction on some level to the user then the site is worthless.
I enjoyed the text book and links to videos and resources to give greater clarity on the topic of SEO.
I gained a better appreciation for paid search vs organic search when using the Spyfu.com tool. Really enjoyed using the research tool that provided me with lots of useful research. It is a brilliant tool that leveraged technology rather than requiring hours of pouring through multiple tools for the same information. This was probably THE most valuable asset from this class - to be able to use the tool in an assignment and create a practical application from the research.
The information that I learned and put into practice will support my professional goals.
Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies
Hated this class. Apparently this is evident in my grades. A’s in every class but this one. What a shame.
Most of the content was written for organizations that advertise on a national scale. My case history is a local entity and I found it difficult to find the information I needed to really feel good about the content and it’s application.
I also think that the class - in my humble opinion is mislabeled. This a a class predominantly on paid Internet marketing and metrics. I took away a basic understanding of how I calculate costs of advertising.
I wish there was a class that had a strong focus on information for how local brick and mortar businesses could benefit from Internet marketing. I am hoping to see that later.
Also disappointed that there was not a single textbook rather than jumping to a menu of articles. Metrics should be pretty straight forward and unchanging. I wonder why no one in this industry has written a textbook that could be used for this class.
This class could have spent more time on email marketing and what the future is for this. I missed the event on Mail Chimp because I was working but I think covering a tool such as Hubspot would be something that I’d actually consider “advanced.” Hubspot does a lot more than email marketing but does incorporate it with a host of other feathers that make the marketing much more powerful.
The course description on the website promised to cover affiliate marketing - not one word about it so far. That is a topic of interest for me. Very disappointed that this class did not live up to my expectations. The course description reads “This course explores the following: affiliate marketing, email marketing, global Internet marketing, social media marketing, and search engine marketing.” None of this was actually covered in the lessons. Disappointing.
New Media has Turned Business Upside Down
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Grandma - Upside Down!
Business used to start with an idea - a product or service - that would be taken to market. It was sales and marketing’s job to convince the consumer they couldn’t live with out this new product or service.
New Media has changed all of that. Blogs, Social media posts, publicly posted videos made by lay people voicing their opinions about what he or she loves and hates about a product or service. All of these new media tools took the power out of the hands of the large corporations and put it in the hands and mouths of the public.
Brian Solis calls this the “disruption of the B2B2C model.” This model allowed a business to produce a product to sell to retailers and distributors who became the sales force to the consumer. Brian talks about turning this focus upside down to a C2B2B model “Start with your consumers not the products you produce — who are they, what are their unmet needs, and how do they wish to transact with your brands? The concept of “transaction” expands from a product purchase to any interaction that facilitates a closer bond between brands and consumers. It’s nearly inarguable that the lack of new product innovation and slow growth is due to a lack of consumer focus in this way.” www.BrianSolis.com
In the New Media Marketing class we learned different ways to communicate with our marketplace to hear their new found voice and encourage more two way communication. We learned to “Think Like a Rock Star" and enlist the support of the influencers and brand ambassadors that would help organizations establish that two way communication and spread the word.
My fifth class, Web Design and Usability, was a lot more intuitive than I thought it would be. I dived into the content expecting the mysteries of the “web universe” to be unfolded. With each weeks lesson I discovered there is no mystery. The textbook title, “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, is the essence for any good development plan when building and maintaining a website.
Web Design and Usability is a very practical process of viewing design and findability through the eyes of the site visitor. Prior to this class I had never heard of the term findability. This is a very intriguing topic. I always understood that all the disciplines of web design and development need to work together but did not realize that cohesive structure that leads up to the user experience had a name. With a good understanding of the buyer persona combined with metrics gathered during multiple site visits it’s possible to yield an attractive and sticky user experience. It is the roadmap to take visitors and turn them into delighted brand evangelists on even the most basic and elementary of topics.
I enjoyed the discussion topics and the experience of viewing other high profile websites and use them as models to compare with what we were learning in this class. It was revealing to look at these websites with the mindset of the designer / developer observing the user experience.
After completing usability tests on my class project website, I saw things with fresh eyes. I was able to identify several important changes that will make the client very happy.
image courtesy of http://buildingfindablewebsites.com/an-event-apart/pix/inside-outside.png
Mastery: PDL Timeline - Internet Consumer Behavior & Analysis
I believe I was exposed to the necessary information to utilize this the information in my workplace.
Honestly this is one of the most interesting and disturbing topics. I am fascinated with the tools that can be used to track a visitor to one’s website in order to better understand how to market one’s product and services.
At the time this course began, I also started using a product at work called “Hubspot.” This product has an amazing array of features that allows the webmaster to track visitors and provide information observed from what pages were visited that can provide valuable insight to turn the site visitor into leads, and then customers. I can see how the company I’m working with (not my case history company) will be able to do a much better job of giving our website visitors what they want. That’s the part of this topic that fascinates me. It’s almost like looking into a crystal ball and being able to predict the future.
The disturbing part of this is that nearly everything we do on this planet is being tracked. Smart grids in our utilities tracking when we’re awake and watching television or surfing the net. Everyone in our homes, including our children, surfing habits being tracked and sold to the highest paying customer. Marketing to our weaknesses and maybe stealing our innocence.
I’ve been paying attention to behavior targeting before I started this class. My personal opinion is that we might be “selling our souls” to the “Devil” with this. I’ve been reading about the other tracking tools being used and proposed, as well as what the possible implications might be. Tools such as RFID chips implanted in every “thing” to create an “Internet of Things.” I don’t believe that this is harmless marketing. In the hands of the wrong people this will be very dangerous.
Fascinating topic, but not one I’m a fan of.
Mastery: PDL Timeline - Business Storytelling and Brand Developement
I thoroughly enjoyed this topic and this class.
My original object for this class was to “Learn to develop a memorable and iconic presence in business and online.”
I feel like I have a good starting mind set for my original objective. I believe it is important to have a very clear understanding of the wants and desires of the customer. What moves the customer emotionally?
Target vs Walmart
I enjoyed comparing the brand image of Target versus Walmart. The outstanding difference as I compared the two brands is the vast difference in the types of customers that each of these discount retailers attract based on how they craft and promote their brand.
Starbucks Socially Experienced
The articles that I read as I researched the brand image of Starbucks were both enlightening and enjoyable. I vicariously enjoyed the social aspect of Starbucks on and off line customer experience. The customer stories made me smile as I read how one barista created a memorable customer/human experience. It’s true that one of the best rewards for customer loyalty is to be treated like a human and not a transaction.
Business Storytelling Moves the Heart and Soul to Action
I completed this topic inspired with new ideas of how I can infuse new life in to my own brand image, and that of my clients, with real stories that move the heart and soul of those with whom my business connects.
Mastery: PDL Timeline - Internet Marketing Fundamentals
I started the Internet Marketing Fundamentals class with the goal of
"learning an overview of the power and impact of Internet Marketing and search engine optimization".
I believe this class met my expectations. I gained an insightful overview of Internet Marketing.
Some of the fundamental topics were not new to me, however, in completing the assignments I pushed myself to dig for new information or new tools that would give me fresh insight.
Noteworthy discoveries were made while researching and gathering information to complete assignments.
- Reputation Management Dashboard – I discovered a free resource with a description of how to create a reputation management dashboard by aggregating feeds such as Google Alerts, social media searches – such as Twitter search – that would provide one spot to funnel the information that I am managing as it relates to my brand assets or my client’s brand assets. The tool – ighome.com. The “how-to” description - http://www.aimclearblog.com/2009/03/16/how-to-build-a-reputation-monitoring-dashboard/
- Keyword & PPC Strategy Tool – www.SpyFu.com – I attended the webinar for SpyFu and became and instant fan. I love the in depth research I can do on keywords as it relates to pay per click. I can run a report to check up on competition to see what words they are ranking for organically as well as paid. I can see what ads the competition is running and which ones are working for them.
- Click Fraud Protection – My favorite discovery was www.shoppingcartelite.com which has a feature called T.E.A. That acronym stands for “threats and engagement analysis”. This tool allows the web master to monitor for click fraud by monitoring IP address of the click, and how many times the visitor has clicked on the ad. The T.E.A. feature compares the IP addresses against a database of 10 million IP addresses of known offenders and will block high threat clicks. The bonus of this tool is that it takes screen shots of the click through, and records the mouse movement or lack of mouse movement, which is a great resource for proving that the click may have come from a bot or a non-engaged click through. This tool also monitors visitor engagement using the same recording of the mouse movements and click through on the website. These are compared against other websites where purchases are made to identify any known issues that might be preventing a purchase.
The information and direction of this class has benefited me with current clients whose websites I manage. I am taking action with each of the tools discovered during research for assignments required by the class.
First week of Internet Marketing Fundamentals - FSU IMMS
In this first week of Internet Marketing Fundamentals, the first class of the core program for the Masters of Internet Marketing at Full Sail University I am coving a lot of basics about search engines and optimizing for search for my business or the clients website.
It started with covering keywords, keyword phrases and site tags, i.e. title tags, meta keywords and meta description. Some of these basics are no longer vital to being found but as I read it seems that it is more favorable when a website has a minimum of those keywords in place.
I liked the resources and additional reading that this class offered in explanation of the basics of search engine optimization. You can follow me on Diigo.com where I am keeping track of the additional reading or viewing links for class topics. These links are labeled by class and week - e.g. Class 1 Week 1.
This week I used Google Keyword Planner and the developer tools available on Safari to view the source code of the competitor websites viewed in my research.
I turned one of my writing assignments in to a blog post over at The Small Business Guru | Small Business Marketing Website. What started as an answer to a discussion question about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing became a blog post that was tweeted and retweeted through out the week. Read and leave your comments if you have an opinion on “Is there still a place for Outbound Marketing in an Inbound Marketing World?”
Live your life like it’s a novel with plenty of interesting plot twists. Don’t fight to eliminate the battles - be an overcomer!