Today I discovered my website traffic has quadrupled since December 2014 — and soared to the top 1.5 million US websites according to Alexa. (The prior rank was in the top 3 million).
The number of leads coming in per day are overwhelming me now — and are from business in the US as well as China, Russia, Israel and France. My Klout rating is now 69 — in the top 1% of all bloggers who write about social media.
How did this happen?
You know the saying: “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I actually started using the Internet marketing techniques I get paid to do for clients to promote my own business.
First — I looked at my competition and analyzed the content marketing and websites of the top 50 Internet consultants listed on the “Forbes 50” list and tried to figure out what was working and not working for them, then copied it. (More about this in a future blog post.)
1. Redesigned my website with a state of the art mobile-first responsive template.
2. Chose a unique color palette for my personal brand. (Plum/Peach/Black.)
3. Changed my photo to a recent, digital photo with currently stylish clothing (a gray/black dress) and got rid of the old, black and white photo that was obviously taken pre-digital with a film camera.
4. Added client lists and work samples to my website.
5. Rewrote the first page as a “Pain Letter” writing directly to my potential client and stating how I can solve their problem. (No visibility on the Internet.)
6. Added logos of the clients I’ve worked with in the past on the right hand side of the page.
7. Added a “Contact Me” with a form to send an email.
8. Used a scheduling app so clients can schedule a 15 minute trial consultation.
1. Ramped up social media posts to 10-20/day on Twitter by using Buffer to time the posts 24/hrs. day. (It now takes only 1 hr/day to do my own social media.)
2. Got mentioned in a few articles as a social media expert. (Adds credibility.)
3. Started regular posting on Google + – the Google search engine likes Google + and these posts boost your rank
4. Created several new pages in listings and directories that built links back to my website
5. Put my URL on press releases on PR Web. This is huge. It drives tons of traffic back to your page.
6. Rewrote the first page of my website so it is loaded with key words clients are searching for. (Social media and PR consultant in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.)
7. Blogged 1 x/ week
8. Set up content syndication from my blog to Twitter, G+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
9. Blogged on LinkedIn Pulse — creating more than 2,500 followers for my Pulse blog.
10. Built pages on About.me, Eolio and other sites that point back to my URL.
11. Tweeting about the “trending topics of the day” using #hashtags.
12. Changed my photo to one that looks directly at the reader instead of off to the right.
13. Choose a new color palette for my “personal brand” that no other consultant has. (Deep plum/peach/black.)
Can I do this for your business? Yes. And if I can’t do it for myself, why would you hire me?
Hale Akua is a hidden gem on the lush jungle side of Maui, on the road to Hana.
But their social media and marketing were just not doing this exquisite place justice.
I repositioned this Hale Akua as a “100% organic eco retreat” with a pretty Orchid and Green logo featuring one of the many statues on the property.
We started a Summer in Maui campaign with a 30% discount. Bookings increased remarkably on AirBnB, and are now brisk for the winter.
Fans tripled on the fan page. We dramatically increased the customer Reviews on the fan page and in TripAdvisor. The ultimate was when an article named Hale Akua “One of the world’s six best eco retreats.”
It’s great when your brand is seen with the President, even if he’s a Faux-bama. (We ran into this actor who doubles for Obama while at the Wired magazine party at the huge San Diego #ComicCon.) #SDCC.
Accompanied with a videographer/fashion photographer, our “entourage” roamed the streets of San Diego and photobombed celebrities and events with a model/actress dressed up as the brand.
It’s not easy to stand out among the Hollywood studios at this gigantic festival with more than 1 million comic lovers roaming the streets — but CAFN8RX stole the show.
CAFN8RX drove around in her little yellow convertible, waving to the crowds, and strolled the streets for photo opps.
generating huge crowds, press coverage and thousands of spectators snapping photos. We handed out cards asking everyone to Hashtag #cafn8rx to enter to win a contest and collected thousands of leads to launch this new super caffeinated coffee heroine.
I connect people in high tech — I also build communities in yoga and mindfulness.
As a social media and PR consultant for Wisdom 2.0 Summit, I had the chance to connect those very different communities in a revolutionary way that dramatically expanded the audience for this conference.
The Wisdom 2.0 summit blends visionary meditation leaders like Eckhart Tolle (author of the bestseller “The Power of Now”) with CEOs of technology companies like LinkedIn discussing how Mindfulness can make us more effective in business.
The event sold out in advance — more than 2000 tickets at $499 to $1500 each!
I was the “The Voice of Wisdom” on their Fan page, doubling it beyond 20,000 fans.
The marketing program I guided included:
Website – rewriting for clarity and redesign making it easier to buy tickets
Promotions – a “bring a friend” campaign was super successful at selling groups of tickets
Facebook Ads – these sold a majority of the advance tickets
Press outreach – a story in the New York Times tipped Wisdom 2.0 over the edge and exploded the visibility, so did stories in Fast Company, Wired, Huffington Post and Forbes.
Event calendars and free email lists
PR – I wrote a keyword tagged press release with visuals generated 50,000 links back to the website.
Live coverage of events – Live event coverage with Instagram, Tweets, Posts and videos helped boost attendance and build anticipation of the big event.
Event page rewrite and promotion – 3x daily posts on Facebook, inviting more than 10K new community into the Event page, advertising for event page
New postcard – a livelier postcard with color photos of the speaker lineup
Conscious Community Street team – I developed a “Mindful Community Street Team” program that leverages experience in Festival promotion — this included delivering flyers/postcards to Tech events, Cafes and Yoga studios near the campuses of tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook to reach these busy and hard to target employees where they work and live.
I took the plunge into video shooting and editing with Animoto and a Canon DSLR camera. Here’s my experience and how you can get professional caliber video for your business on a shoestring.
Video is de rigeur for social media these days. You need video to convert those customers you send to your website with Facebook. You also need it to tell a story that can’t be told in still photos.
For my longtime client RiverGuidess Adventures, a pioneer in the “transformational river rafting” retreat, we’d been struggling for years to convey the magic of these events and falling short. These retreats combine dance, yoga, healthy food and rafting in a very upscale and comfortable fantasy estate that is more golf course than wilderness.
Video is the best way to convey the magic of this property, the lavish catered meals and the very special vibe of the heart-opening transformation that happens on these retreats. They appeal to the lucrative and mostly untapped older Baby Boomer market and families with kids — an age group often ignored by events of this nature that tend to market only to younger Millennials.
The retreats are pricey – $580 for a long weekend. To convey this value, and help transform the image from “hippie” to upscale, we have been sending pro photographers to each trip.
But every time, something was missing. Each photographer had a different artistic and personal vision of the experience that was not always compatible with our marketing goal — to attract the affluent “transformational” consumer and shift our appeal to a slightly younger demographic.
After struggling to direct outsiders to give me the results I wanted — I finally caved in and learned how to shoot and edit video myself.
I used a Canon DSLR camera ($299 on sale at BestBuy) and a high speed 64 GB card ($200) to shoot the video. Then I blended it with photos shot by four different professional wedding and event photographers plus a few images I shot on Instagram with an iPad.
I edited the photos in iPhoto and then imported the video clips and photos into a video editing app called Animoto.
This process took me more than 48 continuous hours — and resulted in 4 minutes and 30 seconds of video. This is about the average for how long it takes to edit video — generally one day per minute of finished video — so keep this in mind if you’re getting your feet wet. It’s time consuming!
The Canon DSLR is known as the camera of choice for Indie film photographers in Hollywood, but I found it clunky and hard to use. It also did not shoot well in low light (unless you add an optional lens.)
The quality of the resulting footage was sometimes very good, though (if I can just learn to hold it still and remove the lens cap!) I still found a DLSR awkward and heavy to hold and will be looking into smaller, lighter cameras in the future.
Animoto is an app that lets you host your images in “the cloud” — this solves one of the critical difficulties with video editing, storing all those huge clips. It also makes it very easy to share the process with the client or a team as the project evolves, and it includes some fantastic ready-made templates. It’s really not more difficult than making a Powerpoint and in some ways easier. The other beauty of Animoto is that it can time your clips to the beat of the music– generating very professional and engaging results.
We added the royalty free songs from Animoto’s library of 10,000 songs. I did a keyword search for “summer” to find the uplifting song that conveys our “summercamp for grownups” theme.
Taking the plunge on the rope swing. (The woman in this photo is over 50 years old. The client wants to create an experience for older Boomers who want more comfort. We call it “glamping.”)
Animoto for Business costs $39 per month. (www.animoto.com)
Here’s how the video looks when hosted by Animoto – sharper than You Tube:
This week, a controversial Gallup poll declared that social media was all but useless, and that nobody was influenced by social media ads and it was all a bunch of hooey.
I was immediately suspicious that results from the Gallup survey were skewed by the print and TV media. Mainstream media are late to the social game and totally threatened by the amazing reach of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube — now reaching millions and even hundreds of millions–numbers that vastly exceed print media.
They’re also probably very threatened by Facebook advertising, which is much cheaper than print/broadcast, and reaches that oh so desirable Millennial demographic that doesn’t read or watch TV anymore.
Since I live in Facebook stats all day long, I know the truth — one post can reach more people than an article in the New York Times. Sure, Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner are no doubt losing sleep over that.
Facebook ads, and Yelp, also, can be targeted with laser-like focus on extremely niche local demographics — something print media can’t do quite as well because print is either niche and national or broad and local . Print media and TV are rarely niche and local.
Internet radio still does a lousy job of targeting its ads to any meaningful niche. Local radio still thrives because it’s both targeted and local.
I’ve been doing PR (press relations) since the days when we used fax machines and FedEx — before the Internet existed. Back then, print media was king. Getting an article that reached 100,000 readers in a national print magazine was a big deal. I think some people are still attached to the “prestige” of Print but do not realize that they can actually reach bigger numbers with social media, with far more control over their message.
Print is still very valuable — but now more because it drives traffic to your website and gives you SEO rank in Google.
In the good old days, it was an even bigger deal to end up in a big newspaper like the New York Times and reach 1 million readers. If you got on TV you might (woo hoo) reach an aggregate of 2 million people through multiple TV news stories and a video news release after spending $250,000 on a press conference and a product launch.
Times have changed. Now you can reach just as many people in a few minutes with a single Facebook post or self syndicated blog post — or half a billion with a You Tube video.
PR IS DEAD — LONG LIVE SOCIAL MEDIA?
I’ve been saying “PR is dead, long live Social PR” for a few years now. I was a little ahead of the curve. I was also sitting around listening to the phone not ring from PR clients, and watching stories not appear in publications that were disappearing, so I was ahead of the curve and got into social media.
Now it’s clear that shift has happened.
Social media is not optional anymore. If you’re not leveraging social media to amplify your message, it’s as if you don’t exist.
Social media is now the front line of most successful marketing programs. Social media is where you distribute your message first — and later it’s picked up by the news media.
(The exception is if you are a publicly-traded company. If so, then SEC regulations require that you announce news on the newswire first, and your key media are pre-briefed under a non disclosure agreement.)
Traditional PR is still very important, but it serves a different role now–in tandem with social media. After your story appears in the news media, they use their larger networks to “syndicate” your message to their networks. You then in turn amplify the message further by syndicating their content on your networks.
Articles and reviews in mainstream media also provide credibility and great content for your website and social media to leverage, and they will boost your search rank (SEO) in Google forever.
WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU MAKE YOUR OWN NEWS
Social media is the “information hub” of your marketing wheel — and your personal social networks at the “hub” that links to other social networks and communities worldwide. The press and publications are some of those networks–but no longer the primary one.
In the old days, you sent press releases to actual members of the press for distribution. Newswires were only available to the press.
Nowadays, you are the press and you syndicate your news over social media, in addition to the press. A press release on the wire now reaches everyone on the planet at once.
Here’s an example of the reach a press release typically gets now on the Internet. As days go by, this number increases, infinitely, and many of these impressions remain on the web forever. A press release mentioning a company traded on NYSE or NASDAQ would get much more impressions — this was what I got for a small business — 32,000 in two days. This doesn’t include the amplification from self syndicating this story on the client’s social networks. It would be difficult for a small business to get out the word that fast with traditional media.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTS COMMUNITIES GLOBALLY
Here’s another example of that from the Unify.org campaign that illustrates how the Unify Facebook fan page links to other Fan pages and organizations, creating huge amplification for each post. (A single Unify post is often shared more than 5,000 times, reaching literally millions of people worldwide with no advertising.) Even with Facebook’s new restrictions, by utilizing this kind of networking, you can spread your message very rapidly and globally.
This strategy helped build Unify.org into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the initial strategic social media plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts that helped ramp the page up. This is now one of the most viral social media communities on the planet.
As you can see in the screen shot above, it’s very possible to reach 1 million people with a single post if it’s shared, tagged and amplified with well targeted paid Facebook “boosting.”