Like the commercial for Reese’s peanut butter cups – “You got chocolate on my peanut butter” no “you got peanut butter on my chocolate,” – no matter how you say it, on the Web the line between Advertising and PR professionals is a bit blurred at times.

Historically you were either Public Relations or Advertising. Any press releases that were sent out came from the PR people. And when they went out, they were sent to a specific list of press people. But with the increase of going digital I am sure that every PR department has a certain amount of internet use involved when they send out press releases. And there is a wealth of support out there for PR professionals that need to get their information out but, like everything else, money talks.

David Meermen Scott

David Meermen Scott

Don’t despair if you aren’t part of a large corporation or PR firm, it is possible to get your information out there for no money. You just need to craft your release and start searching for free sites. So that is what I did to promote David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing & PR which is being used as the textbook for the New Media Driver’s License class through Michigan State University and Walsh College Novi.

In Scott’s book he states “None of this is true anymore [the old rules of PR]. The Web has transformed the rules, and you must transform your PR strategies to make the most of the Web-enabled marketplace of ideas.” He also goes on to say “If you are smaller and less famous but have an interesting story to tell, you need to tell it yourself.”

Since I was new to the press release arena I actually started to investigate first what services I could use so that I was sure I formatted my press release correctly. As I started to register with some of the free services I did encounter a portion of the set up that did stall me. Most of the sites wanted you to be part of an actual business, and since this was an assignment, I did not posses that bit of information. The Free Press Release and My Free PR sites did not require a company name so they were the lucky sites chosen.

My post on Free Press Release.

My post on Free Press Release.

So I posted my press release on Free Press Release adjusting some of my verbosity since at places there was a character restriction.  As I check the activity of my release I see that it has  been viewed three times. I hadn’t posted that it was out there (the reason for this post) so maybe I got hits from people other than Derek.

My post on My Free PR.

My post on My Free PR.

I also posted my press release on My Free PR.

I do not feel my posts are perfect. I have a problem with how they look. On Free Press Release in preview mode of my draft it looked like the contact information was being added automatically. But once I published it, it did not include any contact information. I also noticed what you “pay” for free posts, they add ads to your posts.

My Free PR post has contact information, a link back to my blog but once again visually it needs some work.

Oh well, guess I won’t get famous with this one. And I think I should remain the “advertising” person.

assignment-6-final

enroll1web1blog

questionWhy do we blog? We blog to express our opinion on a subject we have a passion for so others will read it. But like the tree in the forest, does my blog really exist if it doesn’t get read?

Paid vs. Free Exposure

To get your blog exposure you can always throw money at Google Adwords but tfree2hat costs money. And we all know that money is something that a blogger doesn’t usually have lying around. So as a blogger there needs to be another way to get my blog posts read, other than by family and friends. Enter SEO or Search Engine Optimization.  And it’s free.

What is Search Engine Optimization

seo-search

Searched on a phrase that got my blog to the top

I have always wondered what was so special about the Web sites that come up on the first page after I type a subject into a search engine. What did those people do to make them so special? And could anyone do it. Well, the search engines are searching for the words I type into a search in all the Web pages in the universe! (It has to be because I have been able to get my blog to appear on the first page.) All it takes are the right words included in the copy of your post (or Web site). The optimization part comes in when you start including specific words and phrases that are high on the list of highly used words and phrases.

David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott

Now you may think “Well I’ll just get that list and include all those words and my blog will appear.” Well it may appear, and someone may read it, but it may be the last time they do. As David Meerman Scott writes all throughout his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, you want to make sure you have great content before you do anything else.

Once you have great content you can see if your blog will accommodate some of the keywords that people search on. In addition, it isn’t always just a word, but may be a phrase. You need to think of how people word their searches as you may be able to include a full phrase which may get you a higher rank. Just don’t forget, never compromise content for the manipulation for search results.

It’s Also What It Looks Like

When I started blogging, only a few weeks ago, I considered what I wrote and the fancy graphics I used but that was about all. But there is a difference in how your blog looks that affects your chance of placing on the first couple pages of a search. I have been trying to come up with catchy titles for my posts, and I think I have, but if you look at them on their own, you would not know what the blog was about. And that is exactly how it looks to search engines — a headline that does not fit the search. So you can be creative but make sure to include something specific about the content.

In addition, subheads make it easier for the search engines to review your post. So if you look at this post and my previous posts you can see the changes I have made. I have been able to keep the flashy things I really like and also make it easier for search engines to see what I have.

And it all comes to an end

There are so many things to learn when starting a blog that I sometimes wonder how so many people have gotten large and loyal followings. But they started from nothing and got somewhere so maybe I will be able to also.

***Words/phrases in bold italic are places that I think could trigger a search engine to find my blog.

fencesI’ve always been a pretty private individual. I am very choosy on who gets to know what about me. And there are certain things that only I know. So when Assignment #4 for my Digital Media Driver’s License class showed up in my in-box I was a bit skeptical. I was to set up a Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter account.

facebook1

I already had my Facebook account built. I’m doing pretty well with it. I get to:

  • see which nephew had a major hangover the Monday after Super Bowl
  • see which niece uses swear words like a sailor
  • and to be taunted by my sister who was on vacation in Florida on how nice the weather was

But it is a bit unnerving that complete strangers send me requests to be my friend. I actually had a request from a pizza restaurant. I have already decided that if you don’t tell your name and how you know me, you ain’t any friend of mine.

Right now I really don’t know where Facebook will take me. It seems like it is just a tool to stay in touch. I need more time to investigate all it can do to see how it could be a better tool available to me (other than a big black hole that sucks up time).

sunflowerMy next stop was LinkedIn. If I thought setting up my profile in Facebook was a bit much I had a rude awakening at LinkedIn. Though it’s funny how the universe will always put the things you need right linkedin2front of you. I have been wanting to get my resume updated. Granted I still need a more extensive resume but this has my general career information out there where someone may see it and be interested enough to contact me. Even though it took me a few days to get it all finalized, my profile was reviewed by 1 person and showed up in 17 searches. Now, a very cynical person would say that LinkedIn set that up so I would be interested in upgrading to the Business level but the results where quite specific. I am seriously thinking of upgrading.

I’m at 85% right now and I can get another 5% if I get a recommendation. Well, to get a recommendation I need a connection to write a recommendation. I was able to access the HAP group (the company I work at)  and request those I know to be a connection, but I have had only 1 reply at this time. My gut instinct is that many of them are on LinkedIn but they don’t check it on a regular basis. Guess I’ll need to send a few e-mails on Monday.

I also like the fact that I was able to link my blog to my profile. I really feel this will show that I am willing to step out into the newest technology which may be a determining factor for someone deciding who they may call on a job interview.

I am finding out that the further into this media I get, I see quite a few opportunities. I receive an e-newsletter from the Boston Print Buyers and in their last e-mail they referenced that they had a LinkedIn group. So I was able to join this group.

I am really surprised at how excited I get about this class and what I am learning. I’m trying to convince some of my co-workers to get a LinkedIn profile out there. Some are a bit cautious, but hopefully I can convince them.

At this time I feel that LinkedIn presents itself quite well as a tool that I may be able to use in my career. Who knows, I may even be able to find a new job.

purple

Now its time to go tweet, tweet, tweet.

This is my cockatiel "tweet" Koko

This is my cockatiel "tweet" Koko

This is my rosebreasted cockatoo "tweet" Rozee

This is my rosebreasted cockatoo "tweet" Rozee

I have a pet cockatiel and a rosebreasted cockatoo (those are birds) so anything call Twitter with posts called tweets sure does peak my interest.

As with the othetwitter3rs I really wanted to spend some time understanding what it does and how you do it. I have read all the FAQs but once again I need fellow twitters to really see how this works and what I will want to do with it. Of course I follow Derek but I have only been able to add a few public ones. Guess I’m going have to do an e-mail blitz so I can organize this and make it work for me.

sandsI have really been seriously thinking about how I can use all I have learned up to now. Right now these are just cool things to play with. I have found myself reading quite a few other blogs. I subscribe to about 8 of them that get sent to my in-box. I also have all my media classmates blogs in Google Reader and I try to read as many as I can. My biggest hurdle right now is time.  Since I have a full time job (thank you God) I am limited on the amount of time I have to invest in learning all about this media. Each week I am more involved in using my time to complete the assignment than to delve into the subject.

I want to sit down and get a handle on what I want this blog to be and what is my point of view. I would really like to have a blog that makes a difference and not just a place I go to hear myself speak.

I know this is quite a long post and I thank all of you that stayed with it and read the whole thing. You know, I’m really going to be a bit hindered in Twitter trying to keep it at 140 words. Had to edit my very 1st post to make it. Now I’m obsessed with making all my tweets exactly 140 words.

This is a follow-up post to: Maybe you do reach an age!!!

Finally, I got Google Adwords to display my ad.

At 10 am on Tuesday I went into Google Adwords and threw a bit of money at Adwords.

daily-budget

Upped daily budget.

adwords-chart

Upped my CPCs.

Even though Adwords says that any keyword not assigned a CPC will be assigned the default, I noticed that these keywords  did not have a bid behind them so I entered them manually for each keyword.

I then started searching but did not accomplish any ad pops. Frustrated as *!** I gave up. Just accepted the fact that I could not get it to work. Well, you know I couldn’t let it lie. At lunch, around 1 pm I went out and started to search again (guess I’m just a glutton for punishment). On my first search on my Keyword “Meribeth” I hit. The whole department at work knew since I let out a really loud “Whoo Hoo.”

google-01

Search on Keyword "Meribeth"

Searched again.

google-02

Search on Keyword "point of view"

Again a “Whoo-Hoo.” Searched a third time.

google-03

Search on "different point of view."

By this time my co-workers were getting a bit irritated. Another hit .

google-09

Notice that I am in the number 1 spot with a very common Keyword "social networks"

So the statistics on my 9 Keywords are:

statistics

From 10 am to 1 pm a total of 217 impressions. It's a relief I did not have any clicks.

I actually may run a different ad so I can see if it was the budget or the additional information in the Keywords list. I may also do a few clicks so I can see how the actual CPC compares to my top CPC.

So it is on to the next adventure on Social Networks.

ebay

Do they really have everything?

Whenever I would search the Internet, mostly for things to buy, I always wondered why an eBay ad would show up in the right hand column. I thought “they can’t have EVERYTHING people are looking for.” After working with Google Adwords I realized why they pop up on everything. eBay must have bid on EVERY adword there is. They also must have a great rank and lots of money to bid higher than others. So now that I understand how it works, it’s time to try my own hand.

Well after attempting to get my little ad to pop up I have not been successful. Even with Derek’s latest suggestions. I do not understand why I can’t even get it to appear on my first name. Especially since no ads appear at all. It doesn’t make sense. On every word I search on I get search results … just not my ad.

Right now I am sure it is quite a stupid little fix, but for the life of me I can’t figure it out. I have been rearranging budgets, adwords and searching constantly. I even had someone at work try to search, thinking that maybe trying on a computer where I was logged on affected how it searched.

frustrationI am at my wits end. I am starting to believe that maybe this is an age thing.

This is frustrating the daylights out of me. I am not used to not being able to do something. I usually don’t have a problem picking things up quickly. How can something as easy as this beat me.

At this time in this post I am going back to search again. Be back soon.back-soon

I’m back and still nothing .. I upped my budget, reduced the area. Don’t know what else to do so I am going to move on the the next assignment.

I am always open for suggestions because I really want to get this to work.

As I was searching on the word “Meribeth” trying to get my ad to come up (you see I used my name as one of  my adwords) the first result was titled YouTube – old woman. I was a bit offended — how could they call me old, they didn’t  even know me. What intrigued me most was that there were other Meribeth’s that spelled their name exactly the same as me. My mom said that she combined “merry” and “Christmas” to name me and I thought I was the only one. Oh the stories our mothers will tell us.

So back to the subject … when I linked to the web posting it took me to a YouTube video for a Meribeth Old. Meribeth Old is one of the most famous and most talented American contortionists of all time. She performed during the 1950’s. OMG! I have never seen anyone move like that.

So here is the video. It starts a bit slow– just keep with it, she starts to contort after she dances. You will not believe how she moves.

Can you believe what she can do!!! I’m not sure I would like being able to do all that.

Boy do I feel like a grain of sand in this arena of blogging.

largesearch1

Even when I use Google’s advance search for blogs, limiting it to “it must include all the words new media, digital marketing and social networks” there is still 1,048,182 written between January 2006 and January 2009. And can you can guess who is listed as the second blog … The Digital Bus.

bus-search

Looking at the results was very intimidating. I clicked on many but had a hard time just picking one. So I will share with you one of the blogs I received in my inbox at work. I subscribe to MediaPost Publications’ e-newsletters.

On Tuesday, January 13, a blog from Online Media Daily caught my eye because of its title, Digital Media 2008: From Reality to Realism by Seana Mulcahy. In it Mulcahy discusses how no, matter where you look, people are connecting with each other through digital channels all the time and its time all advertisers joined in.

internet1Some companies have stepped out into a brand new arena, like Coke, not knowing how it would benefit them but taking the risk. And are that much more ahead.

But most companies, not having a clue on what digital media means to them as a corporation, put the better part of their advertising dollars into traditional forms of advertising like TV, radio, print, Super Bowl ads and corporate sponsorships. But with the economic decline that we have been experiencing, the days of big dollar advertising spending is at an end. Many of these companies still are not sure it is the right direction to take. Even though they have a reluctance to enter this new area of advertising they are starting to see that they must interact with their customers in a way their customers prefer.  There are even some companies that feel they will never use any type of digital media/social networks to reach their consumers.

gm-logoWe all know that GM, and many companies like them, have pulled their ads from the Super Bowl as a company-wide costs cutting move. Now GM needs to accomplish more with less money. Mulcahy contends that GM needs to take the leap and follow Coke’s lead. Coke was one of the first to use digital media, knowing that consumers want to be engaged via their social networks.

With more companies putting questions in their RFP’s (Request For Proposal) pertaining to social media, maybe its time for all corporations, no matter what the industry, to step back and see how social media could be worked into their existing and future advertising campaigns. Because if they don’t step up and join the movement, they are going to be left behind.

blackberryIf the secret service can figure out a way for president Obama to keep his Blackberry (and you know there was no way he was giving it up), then every corporation out there should be able to see how social media can advance their brand and sales.

I wonder if direct mail, TV and radio advertising went through this amount of reluctance and scrutiny when they were young. Maybe we should all, no matter what age, join the social networks out there to see that it is a great way to keep in touch with both our friends and the products we use.

Seana Mulcahy is currently a media director at Sapient Interactive, a position to which she brings more than 18 years of experience in advertising, public relations and marketing communications, with a primary focus on the digital space.

Since this is a blog attached to an opt-in set of newsletters, I really suggest you opt-in and choose a few of their e-newsletters to keep current with what is happening out there in digital and traditional advertising. You can connect to MediaPost through “The industry’s leading online media and advertising publications.” in my blog roll.

Now where was that really cool blog I saw last night?”

paper-ball1“I know I wrote the address down for that cool Web site but I can’t believe I can’t find it in all these pieces of paper! And its NOT my age, because it IS a myth that mental decline and advancing age are not synonymous.”

“If I come back to this site one more time to find nothing new I’m going to scream.”

“Why did I bookmark that page? I really don’t have time to keep checking what all the bookmarks from this long list are about.”

Those are statements that I know we have all said over and over again. My time is valuable and there is a finite amount of time I have to surf the Web. And it’s too aggravating to keep encountering dead ends.

So as I looked for a tool that could help me be more productive, so my Web sessions can be more enjoyable, I discovered Google Reader. In a simplified explanation—Google Reader helps you organize and read your RSS feeds.

I am now agoogle-reader-clip1ble to subscribe to blogs and Web sites that I want to keep track of at one place. Then once I am in Google Reader I can use it like a review pane to see what has been happening on all my sites. I can either just view the headers and link to the actual blog item I am interested in. Or review in expanded mode which allows me to see the full post.

By grouping subscriptions into folders, I can put like subscriptions together. Putting the ones I want to see every time I connect into one folder allows me to check the ones I feel are most important ones. Especially if I only have a short window of time.igoogle-reader-widget

To make it even easier, I have placed a widget on my iGoogle home page. This allows me to check my subscriptions very quickly when I log onto the internet through my cell phone.

Google Reader has allowed me to add all my Digital Media Driver’s License fellow students’ blogs so that I can review all the new posts without moving through many tabs and trying to keep track of which ones I’ve already seen.

There is also a feature that you can share parts of blogs or Web sites with any of your Google friends but I don’t have any Google friends yet!

mr_rogers

Would you like to be my special friend?

Where’s Mr. Rogers when you need him.

eyecolor1As I start my 2nd post, I wonder why someone would want to send out such personal information for the whole world to see. You have no control over who sees it and you can’t really take it back. My biggest reaction right now is to what I see on Face Book. Most of my friends right now are my nieces and nephews, those that have grown up with computers and social networks.

There are things I like about it … I get to see my nephew’s Thanksgiving in Chicago.

But there are  the posts they make that, to me, would be embarrassing if certain people saw it. I have always lived with the rule: “If you don’t want someone to know, don’t do it.” And I didn’t have computers or social networks just 3 nosey sisters and 3 nosey brothers. (I can’t lie, I was just as nosey about them.) And someone always found out no matter how clandestine I was.finger1

So now I  am going to try to overcome my “privacy issues”  and share things I like and don’t like. I am hoping that out of this I may add more friends, other than my family to Face Book. And maybe set up some networks within my family that will allow us to keep in touch more than we do now.

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