I’ve created a monster.  OK, I knew what I was getting into, sort of.  I did it anyway.  What was I thinking?  It was supposed to be simple.  The good thing is, I’ve managed to keep it that way and to have fun.   

January 12, 2010

 It all started innocently enough.  I wanted a still camera that would take a decent picture, and that I could take with me where ever I went.  I love all the bells and whistles that come with my Nikon D300, but I wanted something simple without all of the complications of a big SLR system.  Simply put, I wanted more shooting, less thinking.  So, shortly after Christmas, I braved the post holiday, big-box store crowds and picked up a Sony Cyber-shot point and shoot camera.  My plan was to be ready to shoot at all times.  Simple= See + Shoot.  However, me being me, I was unable to leave well enough alone.  So I decided to complicate my plan.  On New Years Day 2010, I decided to shoot and post a daily photo on my Facebook page for the entire year.  365 photos.  Photo-A-Day was born.   

January 7, 2010

 As the New Year began I realized that Photo-A-Day would need rules.  None of this shooting-200-images-willy-nilly-until-I-got-the-right-shot approach.  I would be disciplined.  Using my trusty Cyber-shot, I would be limited to shooting a maximum of five images a day.  If I got my shot early, say in the first two images, I was done.  I would strive for an interesting photo, but not hike five miles into the woods to capture a great sunset.  In other words, I would keep my eyes open for a good shot in my day-to-day life.  The image would be posted on my Facebook page on the day it was shot with no explanation of the photo, simply the date it was taken.   

January 17, 2010

 Sounds simple, right?  Well, mostly.  The difficult part has been finding an interesting photo on a daily basis.  Sure, it was easy the last few days when I was vacationing in Florida.  But, on days like today when I’m stuck in the office, it is a bit more challenging.  Sometimes photo opportunities present themselves, other times I have to work at creating them.  Ultimately, I would like Photo-A-Day to help me keep my photographic vision sharp, to be aware of photographic moments, to enjoy photography, and, best of all, to always be ready to experiment and be spontaneous in my approach.  Snap.  As of this writing, only 347 more photos to go.   

Gregg Schieve

Using SEO Video to increase traffic to your website

For years, many companies have been using simple keywords as their main Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique to increase website traffic and their rankings in search engine results.  But there’s been a lot of talk lately about how Google and other search engines are increasing their use of blended media types (articles, pictures, video, & other content) to provide more relevant search results.  The importance of video in those search engine algorithms is helping many websites that have video content increase their traffic and wind up on the first page of those search results.  In fact, according to a recent study by Forrester Research, the use of SEO Video makes you 53 times more likely to end up with a “Page One” ranking on Google.

Right now, it’s hard to separate yourself from the pack, because many competing businesses are all using the exact same keywords within traditional SEO.  But adding SEO Video to your website helps set you apart from your competitors and increases your likelihood of being ranked above them in search results.  Posting non-SEO video to your website, or to YouTube, or to a YouTube embedded player on your site is good start, but it won’t necessarily increase the search engine rank results for your website.  In fact, that strategy may actually just create search engine results for YouTube and ultimately send people directly to YouTube instead of your website.

But posting SEO Video to your website is the best scenario of all… Using keywords and key phrases in your video’s file name, the captions, etc. as well as incorporating other traditional SEO techniques along with your video is the best strategy to bring people directly to your website and generate additional traffic.

Also, small business columnist Steven Strauss recently wrote an article citing “research indicates that if you have video on your homepage, up to 80% of your visitors will click that first.”

That’s right:  If it’s an option, 80% of your visitors will be drawn directly to the video on your website as the first thing they want to click on.  So if you plan to add video to your website in 2010, you want to make sure that 80% of your visitors are seeing a high quality, professionally produced video that accurately portrays the message of your business, organization, etc.  Of course, that’s one of the most important things to remember as you develop your ideas for incorporating video into your website.

Mac Chorlton

Video Mobility for Your Brand

Mac Chorlton isn’t angry, he’s just surprised about the consistency of confusion. He attends many seminars on social media marketing. Consistently, there are people asking about facts and figures and magic bullets to this new medium. How is it being used and how is it best utilized?

There is one part of social marketing that is ready to grow. It’s inside the Smartphone world.

AOL & Universal McCann commissioned the Questus company to research how Smartphones are being used. Smartphones are considered to be cell phones that are internet ready devices. The people polled were 1800 Smartphone owners who would visit internet content on a regular basis.

Of these people, they logged 14% of their media watching time on their mobile device. It’s considered convenient and easy. It’s not just considered a way to gain access to video but a way to keep in touch with social circles and maintain organization in their daily lives.

When participants were asked to describe attributes of content they were given, they considered all material they received as active, timely and current. Mobile media had a foothold on what was considered to these respondents as cutting-edge.

The Smartphone users had many functions for their phone. The leader in consumption is, hands down, maps & directions. But right behind it, you will find that (according to this report) 55% of all Smartphone users’ time interacting with social media sites. The Facebooks, Twitters, LinkedIn’s, YouTubers and Daily Milers make it easy by creating phone apps and mobile ready interface via internet. The Smartphone user finds it easy to visit social networking sites and have a high confidence level in what they’re seeing.

The most exciting part of this? 60% of the iPhone, Blackberry, Robot & Palm users have the opinion that their internet usage will only increase over the next two years. 30% believe that their newspaper usage will decrease and radio usage will decrease according to 20% of those Smartphone users.

The use of video on social marketing sites are the go-to for Smartphone users. It’s the sure fire place to find video that’s sure-fire compatibility and quick download. Using social marketing taps into a marketing that’s looking for video and information. They’re commuters, travelers and, most importantly, consumers.

They like what they see when using their device because it’s easy and it’s cutting-edge. Two great qualities that don’t usually find meeting grounds. It’s an area that will find great growth in coming years among those who will eventually acquire smart devices and those who already are using.

By creating a true presence on social marketing sites with video now, you will grow with it. You can find how it can work for you rather than waiting & finding out how it works for your competition.

Mac is seeing a lot of confusion out there with social media but there are clear indicators that there is huge growth potential. That’s why everybody’s excited about it.

Steve Donovan, Senior Editor