60 Second Marketer at Denver’s Integrated Marketing Summit

I am a bit behind on my blogging, but I wanted to share an experience I had with Jamie Turner (60 Second Marketer) at Denver’s Integrated Marketing Summit on July 20th, 2010.  For those that may not be familiar with Jamie’s work, he is someone you should be paying attention to.  Jamie started a blog called 60 Second Marketer to provide information, in bite-sized pieces, per relevant marketing topics.  I had seen Jamie speak before at conferences and really enjoyed his presentation.  I encourage you to check out his Twitter and Blog (URLs included above) and his YouTube channel.

I also spoke at IMS Denver (on Integrated Social Media – here’s the Slideshare link) and was pleasantly surprised when Jamie asked if I wanted to be in one of his videos.  He has such a cool concept and I’ve had several people tell me they really liked the format.  Jamie had a great idea to shoot on the escalators — I thought it came out so great!  The video is on the top free social media monitoring tools.

I really enjoyed being part of 60 Second Marketer and encourage you to check it out!  Many props and thanks to Jamie for including me per his great idea!

@chriskovac

Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) at BigOmaha on the Thank You Economy

I went to BigOmaha (@BigOmaha) over the weekend and really enjoyed Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk on one-on-one scalability and the Thank You Economy.  I will be posting more detailed comments soon: 

P Chris Kovac
@chriskovac

Blog upgrades ahead!

Blog upgrades ahead!

@chriskovac

First Post on Mobile Local Social – Social Media Monitoring

Hello,

I am happy to say I am now blogging for MobileLocalSocial.com.  I will be writing more about that later on…

My first post, “Social Media Monitoring for Marketing Professionals” is a general overview of social media monitoring, including technology and marketing uses.  I will be writing more on the subject and other social media marketing topics several times a month.

http://mobilelocalsocial.com/2010/02/social-media-monitoring-for-marketing-professionals/

Thanks!

Chris

@chriskovac

Pete Kovac is now on Twitter

I wanted to announce that Pete Kovac of Nicholson Kovac is now on Twitter! Pete’s profile url is http://twitter.com/fpetekovac.

I have a number of blogs posts on the way, including a redux re: speaking at the Integrated Marketing Summit in St. Louis, speaking at the AIM Institute and some other fantastic news.

– Chris Kovac

Nicholson Kovac Agriculture New Media Usage Study

Nicholson Kovac Agriculture New Media Usage Study

Large Acreage Corn and Soybean Growers Actively Engaged in Social Media, Text Messaging During Workday

48% of large acre corn/soybean growers send 5 or more text messages a day! That’s just one of the findings from a survey conducted by Nicholson Kovac. In this week’s program you can hear Sheree Johnson, Nicholson Kovac Senior VP and Director of Media talk about their findings….

IAB sets social media guidelines – Chris Kovac quotes

I was quoted in the latest issue of BtoB Magazine on social media ad metrics and best practices.  You can find the article below.

IAB sets social media guidelines
Recommendations seen as essential to making medium “safe and scalable’
Media buyers also said the guidelines will help them in their efforts to develop and measure social media campaigns for clients.“There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace right now because people aren’t speaking the same language,” said Chris Kovac, social media supervisor at Nicholson Kovac, a b-to-b marketing communications agency based in Kansas City, Mo. “Establishing a common language has to be the first step,” he said.

“Once we’re on the same page, then we can define subgroups of advertising. Is it an interactive banner ad, is it an engagement ad, etc.”

One of the most important things to measure in social media is engagement with users, Kovac said. “We want to measure the behavior—not just who’s clicking on what,” he said. “Then we can understand who are the influencers. For example, we look at how many people are commenting on our blogs and forwarding them to friends.”

Kovac said that while measuring social media is important, it is also hard to standardize metrics, particularly for something like influence.

Excuses for not blogging

Wow.  It has been like 6 weeks since my last blog post, which is still just a (online) draft.  This post started as like a “coming soon” for several upcoming (half-finished) posts.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought…why has it been so long since my last post? I thought, well, I have been working like non-stop (a good problem to have in this economy). And I thought: I get too tired to write and I need to relax, play some poker, BS, BS.  All excuses.

I created this post as a reminder to stay committed.  It’s hard work, but it is sooo worth it.  I’m a fairly decent writer, but my posts seem very unrefined and sub-par. I think about a C+ maybe on average. I am somewhat embarrassed. The only way to fix that is to write more.

Hopefully there will be a new post in the very near future. Until then, I need to relax and play a bit of poker.

Why you should want to work in social media!

(Live draft)

I work at a terrific advertising agency. My job is to develop and integrate social media marketing into the ad agency model. Introducing all these new social media marketing “tools” internally and externally can be a challenge. It is like drinking from the fire hose; so much new information to understand and digest. How can I introduce these new tools to my company while still making it exciting (and relevant) to learn?

We are trying to integrate social media marketing into the culture of our agency. How is this best accomplished? Obviously, forcing information down someone’s throat usually does not yield positive results. Plus, how do you overcome presentation/information fatigue? These are lessons learned from my experience building and integrating interactive marketing services into an ad agency model. So, why not make it fun? Because it actually is!

So, this weird notion came to me in a dream. Why would anyone not want to work in social media? Therefore I decided to post my thoughts to my blog. I may post my full strategy/plan on this blog down the road. I would love feedback, etc.

Spend all day playing on Twitter

I am sure a lot of people that read this blog are familiar with Twitter. If not, Twitter is a microblog/community where you post “tweets” about what you are currently doing, links to cool web sites/ videos, etc. It is an interesting mix of personal and professional communications. I have become a Twitterholic.

Am I on Twitter a lot? Yes. Am I really screwing around? No. I use Twitter to talk to my peers in social/interactive marketing. It keeps me current on how our industry is changing, current best practices, thoughts from respected gurus, case studies (good and bad) and much more. I am actually going to finish a post about why I love Twitter so much. I have also met a ton of great people in Kansas City and throughout the nation that I would not otherwise have connected with.

Social media peeps are social

Social media professionals tend to be offline social creatures as well. Via social media channels, I have been introduced to a number of super-cool people that I have met in person. There is some kind of strange and intimate bond that I have experienced when talking to people in my social network. In my experience, early adopters of social media are very forward thinking, progressive, friendly, willing to help you in any way possible, and actually care about people in their community, etc. Finally, there is little to no negativity. It is a near utopia (at least for now – hope it stays that way).

Be a trend setter

Social media marketing is truly relationship marketing (one to one) and will not only impact marketing, but the way human communications continue to evolve. How cool is that? There can be only so many ad formats (ads on buses, buildings, etc) so their will be a revolution from the status quo (frequency, frequency, frequency) to less frequency and more relevant engagements. As many have said before me, “as marketers we need to quite talking ‘at’ our target audiences and start talking ‘with’ them.” For me, I find nearly all mass media message intrusive and non-relevant.

Do not need formal training, just passion

IMHO, immersion is one of the most important aspects of being a social media professional. You have to live and breathe this stuff; it is the only way to really learn. The skies the limit! People like @garyvee and others have parlayed their social media presence literally into fame and wealth. You could be next! It is much like programming, if you do not love it, than you should find another calling.

Forward looking

The way humans communicate is rapidly changing and evolving. How cool (and scary)! Soon, the Web and TV (and mobile for that matter) will all be mashed up. This means web widgets (like Twitter) will be on your TV and vice versa. I can only image the changes coming in the next decade, let alone in the next few years. It is our job to stay at the forefront of trends and even help create them! How will this impact the world of social media and marketing in general.

Several opportunities

There are a number of different jobs within social media and a variety of companies that will utilize your skills. You can work in technology, on the client side or work with an advertising/marketing agency. Specific job functions include: strategic planning, project managing, copywriting, web development, e-marketing, graphic design, application development, market research and much more. Does that sound palatable to you? I will expand on social media opportunities in a future blog post.

You could be a billionaire

Well it is a possibility, but not likely. However, this frontier is wide open. You can chart your own path and create opportunity. The cost of entry is low along with the risk; but, the reward can be potentially huge. There are a number of social media start-ups which seem similar to all the new Web ideas in the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s. Where will your path in social media lead you?

Your thoughts?

I encourage and appreciate your thoughts on this subject.  DM me on Twitter if you want (@chriskovac)

My tips for achieving great SEO/SEM

Full disclosure:  I responded to a HARO per “tips to succeed in SEO/SEM.”  I probably run the risk of ruining the HARO (I have not heard back yet) but I took several hours to think through and answer the questions.  Plus,  SEO/SEM is a passion of mine since 1996.   So, I will go ahead and post.  I am happy to take down if the story is a go.  Cheers.  Chris Kovac

Your “claim to fame” in a short sentence.

Professional online and search engine marketing since 1996.

What are your top five tips to achieve great SEO?
1) Networking – Search engines often change the rules (or algorithms) on how they rank a Web site. It is important to network with fellow search marketers to keep up on how the industry is changing. There are a number of discussion forums, blogs and other sites where you can engage your fellow search marketers. My networking tool of choice is Twitter, because you can engage your peers on a 1:1 basis.

2) Attend conferences – There are a number of quality search marketing conferences. I recommend Search Engine Strategies (SES) and SMX. Usually the speakers and panelists are the leading thought leaders within search marketing and provide timely information and advice that can help you achieve great SEO results. Attendees are usually willing to share their thoughts and experiences and most everyone is approachable. It is also a great way to connect informally with your peers at the social events.

3) Test your theories – I encourage search marketers to test and retest your search marketing theories. Part of search marketing is experimenting and then focusing on what is working. With advancements in tracking capabilities, it is easy to set up a simple tracking code to test the results of your search marketing campaigns. I often start with a “shotgun” approach and then refine the campaign to a targeted, “rifle” approach.

4) Stay white-hat – Don’t give into the temptation to try to “spoof” the search engines with link baiting or other “black-hat” tactics. More often than not, you will succeed in generating high rankings until your site/s gets blacklisted and removed entirely from the search engines.

5) Track your campaigns – Before the campaign starts, develop campaign objectives that are measureable and that you can test against. There are a number of ways to track a search marketing campaign. The best practice is to use a tag-based analytics provider. Then you can not only track the visitors to your site, you can also track their behavior and ROI.

What are the three biggest mistakes in terms of their SEO activities?

The three biggest mistakes I see SMEs make include:

1) Beginning a SEO initiative in the middle (or near the end) of a Web site development project. This means significantly more work to: revise the copy after the fact to ensure it is search engine friendly, rename the URLs with relevant keywords, create SEO-friendly Header tags, create relevant Alt text and most importantly, increase the link relevancy or Page Rank on Google.

2) Failure to stay current with SEO best practices. As previously mentioned, it is important to stay current with SEO best practices and how the search engines are changing the way they rank a Web site. This mistake is easy to resolve by subscribing to enewsletters, going to conferences and talking with your peers in search marketing.

3) Finally, not tracking the success or ROI of the search engine campaign still seems to be somewhat common. There are a number of ways to set up campaign analytics. One of the best known (and free) tools is Google Analytics.

How would you explain SEO and SEM to somone who has never encountered either before?

I explain to clients and internal staff that SEO and SEM are just tools in the marketing toolbox. SEM (aka paid search) is a cost-per-click model, meaning you only pay when a user actually clicks on your search engine text ad. SEM is best for driving specific actions, like a purchase or signing up for an enewsletter.

SEO is a longer process to make a Web site achieve high rankings in the search engines for free or “organic” listings. SEO is a good strategy to increase awareness and drive qualified traffic to your Web site, even if they are in the information gathering stage of the sales cycle.

How should business people identify and choose their search advisors/consultants?

I recommend utilizing referrals when trying to find a solid, professional search adviser/consultant. There are so many companies that say they are search experts, but I have found that most are far from being proficient. I would also ask prospective search professionals to provide examples of successful campaigns, case studies and the methodology for developing a search campaign. Finally, previous experience in the industry/category is also a big plus, as this will reduce the learning curve.

What can search really do for a business? Do you have any examples?

Integrated search marketing can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for a number of reasons. The primary benefit is the ability to drive qualified traffic to your Web site that results in an action by the end user. That action can be a lead, sale or even drive call center volume. Often times a solid search engine campaign will produce ROI that will rival any other marketing tactic.

We have a number of successful SEO case studies. I am more than willing to share the results.

What’s in store for search in the near future?

I think in the near-future we will see “virtual personal assistants” that will understand how we search for information and will facilitate that search. The “assistant” will remember every search term we have ever searched for, the Web pages we have visited and the formats of information that we are most interested in. Specifically, those formats could include: text, audio/video and photos. I also think the search assistant will be integrated into our computers, mobile telephones, car navigation and even our home appliances.

Which search resources would you recommend that business people read/follow about SEO/SEM?

There are a number of resources that business professionals can follow to stay at the forefront of SEO/SEM. I recommend sites like: Searchenginewatch.com, Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization – SEMPO.com, Searchengineland.com, MarketingProfs.com and blogs by Danny Sullivan.

DM me on Twitter (@chriskovac) if you are interested in discussing.