Category Archives: Marketing

New company website launched today

Following several months of planning and preparation my latest big project at work came to fruition today.

Disaster One website screen shot

Screen shot of the new DisasterOne.com

Working with website design vendor 4Marketshare we achieved a complete makeover of the Disaster One website, giving it a vastly more contemporary look and improved functionality. Along the way we revamped our SEO (search engine optimization) terms and phrases, fine tuning according to the search volume relevant to our industry.

My role as project manager was two-fold: Continue reading

5 website redesign planning tips for small businesses

Website imageIf you’re a small business owner or you’re responsible for marketing at a small business, you know your company website is a key component in your marketing arsenal and it needs to represent you well. If your website is more than a few years old chances are its functionality, appearance, and overall customer experience are lacking. If you’re noticing a drop in traffic or conversions it may be time for an overhaul.

Depending on your site’s age and the platform it’s built on, it might need nothing more than a facelift here and there. On the other hand it could be time for a complete makeover.

If it’s time for a redesign, here are 5 tips to consider as you plan your project. Continue reading

Don’t be “that” boss

One of the worst bosses I ever served under had a very critical spirit and could always find a way to turn anything into a negative, even accomplishments.

There were many incidents that I still haven’t forgotten.  One involved my telling her about working on a project she’d assigned to me and running into a roadblock that was keeping me from completing it. Her preferred approach wasn’t working but I’d found a work-around and completed the project.

“So in other words you just gave up,” she said.

“No, Debbie Downer, I clearly didn’t give up. I ditched a tactic that wasn’t working and found a way to get it done,” I said. To myself. Years later when I thought of it.

Your words will be remembered

I don’t even remember what the project was any more, which is one of my points. Continue reading

Sometimes your bracket just stinks: a life lesson

Basketball BracketYou read the so-called experts’ opinions. You read the stats and you checked your gut. Then you made your selections and held your breath. You did your due diligence and things still wound up in the toilet.

Are we talking about basketball brackets? Marketing? Career? Well yes, we are. All of that.

If you’re a college hoops fan you know your tournament bracket could be about as worthless as a comb for a bald guy like me.

You may have heard it said that successful people fail often. (Seth Godin’s take on it here is worth the read.) Continue reading

Are you a content curator?

Curator imageContent curation isn’t a new idea but the practice has exploded in popularity in the past year. Thanks to the never-ending flow of information on every subject imaginable in social media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There’s a lot of quality writing going on, but how do you keep up with what you need to know?

I rely on my favorite content curators to showcase information that’s relevant to me, and I try to do the same thing for my network of followers and connections.

What is content curation?

Simply put, it’s Continue reading

Cybersecurity, content filtering, and Dad’s embarrassing moment

President Obama issued his much-anticipated cybersecurity executive order this month to slightly mixed reviews. It’s a hot topic, given the undeniable need to protect US critical infrastructure like electric grids, financial institutions, water supply systems, and air traffic control from cyber attacks. The executive order provides for the sharing of cyber threat information with companies that run those critical infrastructure networks.

Burger King Twitter Account  Hacked

Screen shot of hacked Burger King Twitter account

Cyber threats made the news last week on a less threatening level, comparatively, when Burger King’s and Jeep’s Twitter accounts were hacked. Hackers falsely proclaimed these companies had been sold to competitors and proceeded to tweet all sorts of unsavory comments. National security wasn’t at risk, but online reputation management was definitely top of mind in the marketing world.

In fact, those incidents provided enormous PR opportunities for the victims with an avalanche of free publicity and new social media followers. It’s theirs to capitalize on or miss, depending on how they play their response.

These stories from Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street remind us that each of us on Main Street need to be vigilant with our personal infrastructure as well.

And that reminds me of one of my most embarrassing moments as a Dad. Continue reading

Have your own domain yet?

All the cool kids do.

Which means I wasn’t cool until this weekend, I guess. Not that I am now, since I’m a little late to the game.

For the benefit of any beginners, a domain is a web address. When you first set up a blog with WordPress, its domain might be something like yourname.wordpress.com. If you want, it could be simply yourname.com.

Personal branding tool

I’d never given much thought to registering a domain until recently. Yet it’s an inexpensive personal branding tool that you might want to consider if you haven’t already done so. Especially if you’re blogging and want to promote your blog more effectively, or if you’re in the job market and want to build your personal brand. Setting up a blog is an excellent way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your line of work, and having your name as the web address is the icing on the cake.

For less than $20 a year you can have yourname.com as your domain. You can put it on your business card, add it to your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles, and include it in any other marketing tactics you can think of.

Caution

There’s one thing to be aware of if you’re already blogging on wordpress.com and you map your new domain to your blog.  If you use widgets that count the number of Facebook likes you’d received, how many times you’ve been tweeted, +1, etc., those are going to be reset to zero. I had dozens of likes and tweets on some of my posts but now the count is gone. I swear.

The neat thing is now I own ChipMcCraw.com for as long as I want it and no one else named Chip McCraw can have it. You can grab your name now too if no one else already has.

ConvergeSouth 2012

I attended ConvergeSouth for the first time on Friday, even though I admit I’ve known about the conference since it started about six years ago. Hopefully it won’t be my last time – it was packed full of great ideas from some great minds. My only regret is there were some sessions I didn’t get to attend because I was already toggling between two other equally great sessions.

I was about to put my conference notes into a doc for my boss (to prove I really was there) when I realized I could capture them in a blog post. Continue reading

Fake email invokes BBB name

The email looked legitimate and fishy at the same time. It had what appeared to be the URL of a legitimate chapter of the Better Business Bureau and was mostly well-written.  Yet it did have a single sentence with a grammatical error that should have raised a bigger red flag than it did. No genuine email would say, “Your emails is…”  At least I hope not; the grammar nazi in me would have a fit.

Fake BBB email

Against my better judgment I clicked on the link anyway.  Continue reading

My first video editing project in years, and it’s this??

Video production used to be a huge part of my life.  Having started my career in radio, I saw video as a natural progression. After all, we used to refer to TV as “radio with pictures.” So after 12 years in radio I made a career change and spent the next 12 years doing video production. Half of that time was spent at what’s now known as Time Warner Cable in Greensboro, and the other half was in the local public school district where I taught video production to high school students and produced programming for the district’s education access channel.

Then I made another career change in 2001 and haven’t done any editing since. Until this month. Continue reading