Build your digital footprint in a hub and spoke model

April 18, 2011

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The hub/spoke model. Click on it to enlarge.

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, a small retail shop or an individual consultant trying to be found — everyone is concerned with being findable on the web today.

And with good reason.  It’s the 21st century — so when we want to find anything or anyone, we Google it.  Being findable in relevant search queries matters to businesses (and people) big and small.  And to achieve that — you need a strategy.

We recommend to MMG clients that we build their web of content creation in a hub/spoke model.  You need to have a core or hub for all of your social media activity.  One place that is the repository for your core content.   In my case — it’s  this blog.  It’s home base — containing the bulk of the content I have created.  It’s where I link out from and it’s where I want people to ultimately land if they’re searching for marketers, marketing agencies in the midwest, Iowa advertising agencies etc.

You can have lots of spokes…but they all build off the same hub.  If you look at the diagram I’ve created for my own model (clearly not an art director!) you’ll see that both online and offline activities all point back to the blog.

The logic behind this is pretty straightforward:

  • You want to point all your links and backlinks to the same place — the spot you want Google to drive people to.
  • You don’t want to spread out the Google juice — you want it concentrated on your hub location. The more links and juice pointed at the same place, the higher your ranking.
  • You want people to find your best thinking, depth of knowledge and most authoritative voice — typically a blog or website.
  • You want the search engines to drive people to where they can actually connect with you — human to human.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that everyone should have a blog.  You know I don’t believe that to be true.  So for some businesses, it might be your corporate website.  It might be your Facebook fan page.  It might be a Squidoo lens page.

You need to look at how/where you’re going to be spending your time online and then carefully build your strategy around choosing a home base and building off of it.

Don’t dilute your online efforts by not having a smart strategy about how and where you want to be found.

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Social media cheat sheet 2011

April 13, 2011

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Social Media Cheat Sheet 2011

As I continue to travel the country, teaching people how to integrate social media into their marketing efforts — the most common question asked is:  Which social media tool/site is the best?

And of course, my answer is an unequivocal — it depends.  The crowds sure love that!

Like any marketing tactic — the effectiveness of it is based on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Social media is no different.  Which is why, about a year ago, I was so happy  to share with you a cheat sheet that ranked different social media tools as good, okay, or bad…based on the goals you had.  (Created by

The goals were/remain:

  • Customer communication
  • Brand Exposure
  • Traffic to your site
  • SEO

The social media cheat sheet has been updated.  I think you’ll find it very valuable as you access where you should spend your social media resources (time, money, attention) in the coming year.

You can download a full sized PDF by clicking here.

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Weekend reading – two great social media ebooks

April 9, 2011

Grab a free ebook and get a little smarter!

It’s about 70 degrees here in Iowa today, the birds are chirping and everyone is working hard to come up with an excuse to be outside.  Don’t worry — I’ve got you covered!

Check out these absolutely free resources — some excellent weekend reading.  Get smarter while you soak up the spring weather.

HubSpot has a new e-book on mobile marketing case studies. Click here to download.

Questions about Facebook marketing?  Grab this 26 page ebook by clicking here.

And….keep an eye out.  I’ve written a new ebook on creating your social media strategy that we’re going to be releasing here very soon!

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Advice for finding that first marketing job

April 6, 2011

How to find that first job

It’s spring time, which means the robins, tree buds and soon to be college graduates are all popping up everywhere.

I remember how tough it was to find that first job.  Everyone wanted you to have experience but no one wanted to give you that first job…so you’d get some experience!

I am often asked by college students how they can compete in a sea of “I did an internship, I got good grades, my parents are pressuring me to find a job” applicants out there.

So…for all you soon to be and recent grads — here’s my counsel (from the MMG website).

If I were you and I wanted to snare a job at MMG, here are some of the things I would and wouldn’t do. (and naturally, this applies for any job, just substitute the company specifics.  And, I’d replicate this for the 3-5 places you really, really want to work.)

I would:

  • Read the MMG website carefully, to get a sense of culture and tone.  Be sure this sounds like a good fit for you.  I know you need a job — but your first job is so important.  You’ll meet your first mentor there.  Or not.
  • Sign up to receive MMG’s weekly e-newsletter, the Marketing Minute.
  • Stay smart — keep reading advertising, marketing and social media blogs, magazines etc.  You’re going to do this for your entire life — so you’d better get in the habit now.
  • Follow MMG on their Facebook page and Twitter.
  • Read Drew’s blog and if I really want to stand out from the pack, I would subscribe (via e-mail or RSS reader) and within a week, make an insightful, articulate comment on a post.
  • Ask my friends, contacts etc. if anyone knows anyone at MMG who could make an introduction.
  • Be very mindful that my cover letter/resume are the biggest demonstration of whether or not I get marketing.  I would ask myself…if I were a product and MMG was the target audience…how would I sell me?  How would I make myself different from all the other applicants?
  • Download and read “Giving College Grads a Fighting Chance.”
  • If I have a blog, I’d link to Drew’s because I know he’ll check to see who I am.
  • Know that they’re going to check my Twitter, MySpace, Facebook etc. pages.  So if they need cleaning up, I’d clean them up.
  • If I had no relevant job experience, I would look at the job experience I did have and figure out what elements of marketing were present there.
  • Join the local social media club, ad club, marketing club.  Whichever is more relevant to what you love to do and your market.  But start getting connected, if you haven’t already.
  • If I didn’t get the job or they didn’t have any openings at the moment, but still think this is the place for me…I would stay engaged.  I would keep reading/commenting on the blog.  I’d drop them a note every month or so.  I would become someone they notice/know.

I would not:

  • Send a cover letter or resume that even slightly reads like everyone else’s.
  • Rely on any cover letter/resume book. I would throw those away and refer back to my marketing text books.
  • Under any circumstances tout my ability to work with people (or that I like them) as a strength or skill.
  • Send anything that a pair (or two) of fresh eyes didn’t proof.  A typo will get me tossed right into the “no way” pile.
  • Hit send or lick the envelope until I checked and double checked the spelling of the agency, the agency owner’s name and anything else (like their clients) that I might reference.  (see bullet point above)
  • Try to BS my way in.  Because I should expect that MMG will smell that a mile away and ask about it until I admit that I sent the same “I believe your agency is perfect for me” cover letter to 12 agencies.
  • Humiliate myself. I would double check that I put the right cover letter/resume in the right envelope.  (I’d hate to be the one who makes that mistake, but it has happened.)
  • If I really wanted to work there, I wouldn’t give up.  I wouldn’t be a stalker, but I would keep at it.  I would look for ways to help them, even before I got a job there.  Because I would believe that I am going to work there eventually and begin behaving like I already do.

You don’t have to do any of this.  It’s your job hunt, after all.

But remember, at MMG (and most smart businesses) we hire as much for “culture fit” as we do for competency.  We can teach you marketing.  But we can’t teach you to be a team player.  Or curious.  Or passionate about our work & our clients.   We’re not going to force you to be someone who believes in giving  back to the community.

So along with your work and academic achievements, show us that stuff.  And show us that you get why that matters.   Then, we have something to talk about.

Your job is pretty straight-forward.  If you’re smart and creative enough to sell us you, we know you can help our clients.

Good luck!


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Fascinating Facebook infographic

March 9, 2011

I think there are few on this planet who don’t recognize that the Facebook phenomenon is staggering in its reach and sheer volume of people.  (One guy just named his baby Facebook!) But it’s hard to not gape at some of these numbers (from SocialHype and These user statistics are more social proof that this beast is not a fad.

Hard to imagine that there’s not a smart way for every single business to use this tool.  Are you using it?

Are We Obsessed with Facebook?
Via: Online Schools

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Add sounds and links to your images

March 8, 2011

Singing pictures?

Picture these scenarios:

In your online store — you want to show a photo of a family room, filled with your products.  You want people to be able to click on each of the items (maybe a lamp or blu-ray player) to purchase them or read reviews.  With ThingLink, you can.

On your static website, you want to include some customer testimonials.  So you post their photos…but you want people to be able to click on them to hear exactly what they have to say.  With ThingLink, you can.

You’re a musician and you want to create a website where beautiful imagery is connected to specific songs or you want to create an online flyer for a concert, offering song samples that people can post on their Facebook page.  With ThingLink, you can.

What’s Thinglink?  It’s brand new technology launched today by ThingLink and SoundCloud. For the first time, it is possible to link a SoundCloud waveform player to any photo or picture, thereby connecting the subject to sounds, music and effects, voice annotations and narrations.

Users can also include links to social networks, blogs, news and commerce web sites, as well as email.  You can also add up to 250 characters to a hover over so you can describe elements of a photo or a product.

This is brand new stuff so there aren’t a lot of examples yet.  But check out these photos from the Stockholm Furniture Fair (click here) or musician Shambhu’s site. (click here)

What’s even cooler is that the links/sounds travel with the images, as they’re passed along.  So imagine the reach that testimonial or band’s flyer can have on Facebook or Twitter!

As is the way of this era, you can grab a free account at

I’m curious — how can you see marketing folks using this technology?

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The Swahili take on branding

February 21, 2011

Shutterstock_1482262 Swahili proverb:  A boat does not go forward if each is rowing their own way.

Any good crew team will tell you that they rely on the coxswain to keep them in synch.  During a race, the coxswain shouts commands, keeping the crew on course.  No matter how polished or experienced the crew, they would not be successful without hearing the same commands over and over.

Branding works pretty much the same way.  No matter how talented your team is or how many years of experience — they need a brand champion who will serve as coxswain.  Someone who runs a long side them and keeps them on course, shouting directions and encouragement.

What does it take to be the brand’s coxswain?

Discipline: Sooner or later, your brand is going to put you in a spot where you have to make a tough decision.  For example, do you honor the brand or just hire any breathing body because your understaffed?  Branding is fun when you’re creating the logo.  It’s not as much fun when you’re making difficult business decisions.

Perseverance: Branding really is for the brave.  It’s a long-haul sort of proposition.  So your brand champion needs to be willing to go the distance.

A learner’s heart: Leading a brand effort is often uncharted waters.  So you have to enter into it accepting that you don’t know it all and will learn along the way.  You need to be curious, ask a lot of questions and listen to every perspective.

A welcoming spirit: You can’t build a company’s brand all by yourself.  You need to inspire others to join the cause.  You need to help them understand why it matters and how they can be a part of something meaningful.

What else do you think it takes to be a brand champion?

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The NOW Revolution is here

February 21, 2011

The Now Revolution

CC Chapman showing us the cover

Here’s the mistake I made.

I picked up The Now Revolution by Amber Naslund and Jay Baer around midnight, thinking I would just flip through it to get a feel for the book and then read it this weekend.

So much for a good night’s sleep.

The book is built on the premise that the world has changed and we’d all better make some shifts in how we do business to be faster, smarter and more social.

I’m guessing most of the shifts won’t shock you.  What makes this book so valuable is that this isn’t so much an idea book as it is a DO book.  Amber and Jay offer up good case studies (fresh ones you haven’t seen 100 times), lots of extra resources and at the end of every chapter some tangible steps to take to make it happen.

Here’s how they outlined the shifts we need to make:

Make a new bedrock: Your company’s culture is more critical than ever, more exposed to the public than ever and can be a game changer if you build a good one.

Find talent you can trust: Building a team who gets it and shares your vision used to be a luxury.  Today, thanks to social media — it’s a necessity.

Organize your armies: Social media is something that will touch every aspect of your business.  You need to make sure everyone is on board, knows their role — even your agency, who may be leading your efforts or just participating.

Answer the new telephone: Remember the good old days when you weren’t on call 24/7? How do you possibly monitor all of the potential places people could be talking about you?  And how can you use this new expectation of instant access as a customer service bonus?

Emphasize response-ability: Who will respond?  How will they respond?  How can you make sure they respond in your brand’s voice? How do you arm your team with the resources so they can respond?  How quickly do you have to respond?  Lots of questions and this chapter has some answers.

Build a fire extinguisher: Okay, now you’re listening but what do you do get ready to respond if someone says something negative? This is crisis communication planning (on both the macro and micro level) for the 21st century.

Make a calculator: It doesn’t make sense to do something if you have no idea whether or not it’s working.  So measure.  And monitor.  The trick is — give it time to work.  This isn’t magic.  It’s marketing.

My one disappointment is that they took a very cool idea — added QR codes throughout the book to give readers even more resources and made it annoying.  Rather than using generic QR codes so that everyone could just use whatever scanner they already had on their smart phone — they opted to use a specific tag made by Microsoft which required me to add another app to my phone.

Bottom line for me — this is a very good read.  Pick up a copy today (Amazon affiliate link).

Or…. tell me which of the 7 shifts you think would be the most difficult (and why) and you could win a copy of the book!  I have 3 copies to give away.  (I’ll draw commenters names at random.)

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Meet your company’s spokesperson

February 11, 2011

employee drewmclellan
Is he your new spokesperson?

Take a few minutes and walk through your place of business today. Really look at the people who work for you. Your goal — identify the employees who are just there to get the paycheck.

  • Maybe it’s the 16 year old part-timer who calls in sick about as often as she shows up.
  • Or the employee who has been there for the past 20 years and is just biding his time until he hits retirement age.
  • Or the employee who is still bent out of shape because they got passed over for a promotion and goes out of his way to sabotage the woman who got the nod while he looks for another gig.

Congratulations — you just met your organization’s new spokesperson.  There is no “off the record” anymore.  Because we’re always on the record.  Just ask former Congressman Christopher Lee.

The idea that a disgruntled or disengaged employee could say something unfortunate is not new.  But in the good old days, they might tell a few friends over a beer or vent to their family, but it was pretty contained and isolated.  And as soon as the words left their lips…they evaporated in thin air.  No record, no residual.

Not today.  Any employee can shoot off their mouth on Facebook, Twitter or another social media outlet and literally infect thousands of people with their opinion in a matter of seconds.  And thanks to Google, screen shots, archives and savvy web users — those words never disappear.  They are etched in digital stone.

Whether you like it or not, this digital age means that every single employee you have represents you 24/7.  On your time, on their time.  On your communications tools and on their own.

Before you start breathing into a paper bag — recognize that this isn’t an inherently bad thing.  It can be a wonderful thing, if handled right. But it does require that you understand the risks, the potential rewards and how you can set your employees up to be fantastic representatives of your brand.

I will dig into that on Monday, so stay tuned.

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