Long Tail Marketing

If you have been doing any reading at all about marketing, you must have come across this term in marketing articles and even books – long tail marketing.

After Chris Andersen’s The Long Tail was published in 2004, many people believed that this was a “gold mine” that had been left untapped. Well, I believe Alex Iskold of ReadWriteWeb has hit it dead center when he pointed out the difference between being IN the long tail and LEVERAGING OFF the long tail.

Actually, if you thought about it, this is no different from any other “get rich” or “make money” ideas. The ideas themselves are good. But putting them into practice is the challenge. And usually, there is a linchpin which many miss. Either they over-look it or the ones sharing the secret failed to highlight it. In this case, this long-tail golden goose can be missed or caught on the back of a preposition.

I would suggest that most of us, like it or not, live in the long-tail. We are the 80 in the 80-20 rule. But what is crumbs for the elite could work out to be a nice little nest-egg for us. After all, if you are looking to bolster your main income with a little long-tail stuff, then, a couple of hundreds a month is not too bad. But if you were looking for your fortune, then maybe you have to start looking for the big head and aim for the heart.

Tip – Using Social Networking Wisely

Glenda made a very interesting comment yesterday, she was asking “to see a strategy on how we can effectively use and integrate these tools without them becoming great time and focus eaters”.

Every one has their own way of coping. Well, social networking is no different. Interesting enough, there are people who do not network at all. So, contrary to popular belief, social networking is not a universal truth, hermits aside. But I would like to share a tip on how you can use social networking and keep your sanity:

Choose one.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? More is not necessarily better. If you are a member of multiple social networks, what usually happens is, you are a “fringe member” on most of them. Your name is on the list, but I doubt if you are on their minds.

Participate in several different networks. Find one that meets your needs. This means, are you comfortable there, can you promote your business there, or whatever it was that you wanted to accomplish. Narrow it down. If you are happy and comfortable with more than one, fine. But remember that participation is key. And participation can be a time sink you might come to regret.

I would love to hear how all of you are using social networking and what your tips are to make it effective and manageable. Maybe this could become a meme of sorts – but I would love to hear from Glenda, Angela, and Laura.

[tags]blog, social network, tips[/tags]

Get the word out!

One of the biggest challenges in publicity marekting, is simply getting the news to travel.

But I just read Glenda’s post on “9 Ways to Use Social Media to Campaign for Votes” which really hit it right on the head when it comes to getting the word out. Her nine tips are practical and really easy to do. But most importantly, I feel that they are also effective.

Leveraging off social networks is probably one of the smartest way to promote yourself or your business. There is only one thing more powerful than the 9 o’clock news – Susie’s gossip. If you doubt this, then consider that there are times when you know nothing about the big news about the new community center getting built in your neighbourhood; yet, Susie seeing your neighbour buying a diamond studded collar for his dog is known by one and all.

Social networks have been a powerful force throughout civilization. Now, with the Internet, it has become even more formidable. Question is, do you know how to harness its power?

[tags]social networking, gossip, news, marketing, publicity[/tags]

An End To Google Page Rank

OK, better minds than mine have grappled with the whole Google slap issue. It is fascinating to see how a company as savvy as Google can imagine that they can get away with clearly monopolistic actions disguised as “for the good of the users”.

Kenneth over at investorblogger.com and Denise in her internetmarektingreview.org post have both taken a shot at this. Both of them make good points. Kenneth’s article in particular deserves a careful read as he seems to have hit it on the head with some of his observations.

For those who do not understand what this is all about, read Denise’s post first as it gives a broad stroke treatment of this issue.

[tags]google, pagerank, blogging[/tags]

Blog Marketing As a Strategy…

Most people would love to find a method of marketing that is effective, fun and free. Well, blog marketing certainly fits the bill.

Unfortunately, not many people understand that “effectiveness” is not the same as having a lot of pages in the blog, nor is it getting listed in as many directories as possible. Actually, effectiveness of a blog marketing strategy really depends on the objectives. Any marketer will know that a marketing strategy is nothing more than a powerful sum of its parts. Hence, a blog marketing strategy cannot stand alone, that is a given. So, we will not talk about that. For a blog marketing to be deemed effective, there are usually three measurements: traffic, response, and action.

Denise has an interesting post on how to build blog traffic. Any new blog will face the challenge of generating traffic. The key is not the volume of traffic, but the relevance of it.

Response is one of the best indicators of whether your traffic is targetted or not. Interested parties will respond to your blog posts (unless they are so poorly written…) and they will respond through comments, feedback forms and even emails.

Arguably, action is the holy grail. A blog that has plenty of traffic and an active, responsive readership, but cannot prompt readers into action to become buyers, subscribers or whatever it is you are marketing, can hardly be deemed to be effective.

I am sure there are many other marketing metrics that can be used. But blow aside all the fluff and illusions of success, the above are, I believe, the 1-2-3 of a successful blog marketing program.

Another Thought on Google’s Actions

Dana commented that Google seemed to be making their own ranking irrelevant as they force more and more people to ignore it. Well, that’s an interesting thought.

You see, when Google makes your blog have a zero page rank, what they are saying is, your content is totally irrelevant to any search that a person might make. Hence, no value. So, my question would be, does it mean that advertisers whose ads appear in a PR-0 website or blog gets it for FREE? Hey, how can you charge me for advertising on a page that you claim to be worth ZERO?

Now, it appears as if Google is trying to work for the best of their users. That is fine. But how did blogs and sites get zeroed? Seems like there is actually a human who makes that final call. Google has always been “impartial” and operating based off sophisticated algorithms… now you need a human to read a blog that contains so much good information that it “used to have” a page rank of X and make it zero? Nice policy. Seems like dmoz all over again. Maybe someone, somewhere, will find one of these humans, pay them a few bucks to “zero” one of their competitor’s web site. After all, it’s just business; right?

So, a site that has paid content has a page rank of zero. If that is the case, then why are sites like GameSpy, Amazon and many other purely commercial sites ranked so high? Their content are all commercial. How much hypocrisy is there in this world? We have “paid” content here and there and get zeroed. They have loads of paid content and get a high page rank. We small time bloggers making a few measly dollars to cover our hosting fees get zeroed. These big boys who are PAID millions get high page rank. Why? I guess because they also SPEND big bucks with Google?

Well, life is not fair. We all learned that. But once in a while, we get our hopes up that there are a few nice things going on in this world. Sadly, money talks, and our little crumbs are swept away to make room for the steaks.

[tags]google, page rank, zero, hypocrites[/tags]

SEO, Google Slap, Casino…

As everyone must be aware by now, my little webby is now a PR0 (Page Rank = 0 for the uninitiated). Looks like Google does not like anyone making paid posts. So, how is the blogging hobbyist to make a few bucks online? Only with Adsense? I wonder if this is how you become a monopoly…

With all these nice feelings going around, I even took a look at an online casino. It has been a frustrating few weeks running around looking for a reason why the great and mighty Google might want to tear up our nice little village. But I personally do not condone gambling. But aren’t we all gambling anyway?

We are betting that Google is going to be good for us all. That their constantly changing search engine policies will help everyone find better things more efficiently. If Page Rank is a really good gauge, then a Page Rank of 6,7, or 8 must mean that the site is pretty good. So, why is it that suddenly, just because Google decided that paid posts = lousy site, they now have a Page Rank of zero? Because of a change of policy, did it really make those sites bad? If a top site about investment or finance also wrote paid posts, does it necessarily mean that everything on the blog is crap?

At least the casino sites have more integrity. They do not pretend to be anything more than what they are. A place you go to indulge your gambling habit. Is Google as up front about this? It is not enough to dominate the search engine market, but they have to now flex their muscles and dictate how the internet ought to be? What happens next? All shopping sites will not appear on search results anymore because Google wants to launch their own shopping network? What kind of search engine would Google then become?

Oh, yes, then of course that casino site that I pointed to has a page rank of zero. Compliments of Google, no less. So, that means that that gambling review site that has reviews of hundreds of online casino sites has no value to you as an internet browser. Go figure.

[tags]google slap, casino[/tags]

Alternatives to Google’s Page Rank

Well, there are lots of alternatives to Google’s Page Rank. We have the Alexa, then there is Technorati’s much talked about ranking, and of course there is RealRank.

RealRank has finally been adopted by PayPerPost, which is quite a good thing as it is a flat ranking system. What this means is that it simply calculates the scores for all the blogs and web sites that they track and then puts them into a flat line. The rank is nothing more than a percentile cut off from 1 – 9.

Well, being ranked among your peers could be interesting. But then again, this means that it is not a ranking against the full gamut of blogs and web sites. How useful this is in the long run is debatable. But if considered in the context of PayPerPost, it makes a lot of sense, since advertisers are looking for posts within the universe of blogs who write for PayPerPost. So, a ranking within that group itself does make sense. But for the general public, it might not be as relevant.

No system is perfect. In fact, the fact that Google has been fiddling with their page rank system shows that even THAT is not perfect. There are people who try to abuse it, those who try to “game” the system and so on. We all try our best to navigate within the sea of change and opportunities. Hopefully, this will solve the dilemma for bloggers who have been slapped by the Google Zero.

[tags]google, page rank, paid blogging, realrank[/tags]