Transparent Marketing

If you’re not reading Hugh Macleod’s Gaping Void, you should be. Hugh is an extremely popular blogger who spends less time pontificating and more time actually growing businesses. Not that he’s a marketing drone — Hugh is where he is today by being extremely creative, in addition to being a grizzled ad man.

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Trading Words For Traffic

Many professional copywriters don’t think of blogs as a way to generate sales. Why? Because blogs are not a “direct-response” environment, and some of the very best copywriters are in the direct-response field.

Direct-response copywriting is a form of marketing designed to elicit an immediate action that is specific and quantifiable. Meaning, you’ve essentially got one shot at getting a certain percentage of readers to respond in the way you want them too. The response rate dictates your level of success.

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The Blog Network Killer?

The beta version of the Rojo FeedShare service has been released, and I think there are some interesting implications. At its essence, FeedShare harkens back to the old traffic-exchange programs of the early web, with a dash of the ezine co-registration programs mixed in. As Rojo explains it:

You give exposure by displaying “Feed Listings” (see examples) which display the name and description of blogs and other feed publishers. When visitors click on these listings they can then subscribe to the RSS or Atom feed for that blogger or publisher in any one of several feed readers.

You then create a listing for your OWN blog and for every impression you donate to the network on your blog, you will receive a listing on someone else’s blog or in Rojo.com. The goal is to help build the feed subscriber base to your blog, increasing awareness and traffic to your site.

In essence, FeedShare provides some of the cross-promotional opportunities that attract traffic-starved writers to the growing crop of blog networks. While many blog networks offer much more than traffic, they also generally want content ownership, have posting guidelines, and in some cases can even be stifling due to political rivalry with other networks.

The thing to consider here is this: any properly-positioned blogging service provider can create a network that offers this type of promotional opportunity, and will be motivated to do so by the viral exposure (and blog real estate) it receives by facilitating the network. Rojo is smartly doing this, but it may not present a huge challenge to the young blog networks.

But what if Feedburner decided to do this? Or Technorati?

Or Google?

RSS Marketing Roundup

A big part of my going-forward focus is the ways in which RSS will transform content delivery and direct marketing online. It’s such a fast moving area, though, that if I only comment on items in my typical long-winded fashion, a lot will slip by.

So here’s my first edition of the RSS Marketing Roundup, a look at what went on this week in the world of marketing and promotion with feeds.

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Much Obliged: The Power of Reciprocity

What do you think would happen if you sent out a large batch of Christmas cards early in the month of December — to complete strangers? Nothing? Maybe a few confused phone calls or letters?

Nope. Most likely you would receive an avalanche of Christmas cards in return, from people who don’t even know you.

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Click, Whirr, Buy

The proprietor of a Native American jewelry store in Arizona was having trouble selling her inventory of certain turquoise pieces. Despite the fact that the jewelry was of high quality, and it was the peak of the tourist season, the stuff wouldn’t sell.

The owner had priced the jewelry reasonably. She had placed it in a central display location. She’d even asked her staff to point it out to browsers.

Nothing worked.

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The Definition of Irony

In the NBA All-Star theatrics tonight, 7-footer Dirk Nowitzki won the 3-point shooting contest and 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson won the slam dunk competition.

But the story is even better than the irony.

Robinson, a first-round draft pick out of Washington, electrified the Toyota Center by taking a bounce pass from Spud Webb, the 1986 slam dunk champion, and leaping over the 5-foot-7 Webb for the jam.

The best technical dunk of the night likely belonged to Andre Iguodala, who caught an Allen Iverson pass off the back of the glass and glided under the backboard and rim for a reverse-slam on the other side.  But after Robinson brought the house down by sailing over Webb for a spectacular jackknife slam, the momemtum shifted.  The judges even looked like they were in cohoots in favor of Robinson, glancing at each other before they revealed their scores to force the first tiebreaker in the competition’s history.

The better story wins every time.

Video here.