Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Tag Archives: digital marketing

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Image Credits: Rhythm Agency

Hey guys! Happy New Years Eve! It’s about that time of year again where I look back at the past year and reflect on some of the greatest moments of the year. I came into 2016 pretty broken. I was in the midst of dealing with a difficult breakup, I was stuck in a job that I could no longer stand, and I was about as miserable as could be.

2016 was by no means a perfect year. I’ve been battling a terrible illness for the past couple of months and was recently diagnosed with bronchitis. My beloved cat and friend, Gizmo also passed away at the ripe old approximate age of 21.

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Rest in Peace…Gizmo

But overall, despite how many people claim that 2016 was their “worst year ever”, 2016 ended up being pretty good for me. Here 6 of my best moments from 2016.

  1. FINALLY going to NYC…(Twice, actually).

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I have been obsessed with NYC ever since I was a little kid. I swear, I must have been born a city slicker. However, up until 2016 I’ve never actually been to NYC, my loved was based solely on what I read about it o seen on TV or in movies.

I had plans in the past to go. I was supposed to go to see the Statue of Liberty for a field trip in 7th grade, but when the terrorists attacked the twin towers on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade, so naturally that field trip was cancelled.

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I was also going to go on September 11, 2013 for a job interview I had with the Christian Post. However, at the time I wasn’t exactly in the same place as I am today with my faith. I was on the fence about the job and unsure about it being in NYC which was pretty far from where I lived. I received another job offer to work at a local SEO agency the day before my scheduled interview, so I decided to accept that job offer instead.

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Fast forward to 2.5 years later and my magical job suddenly wasn’t so magical. I was unhappy and more than ready to move on.

I applied to more than 100 jobs, some of which were in NYC. When I got a call back to interview for an Assistant Digital Producer job at Scholastic I was stoked. Working for Scholastic seemed like a dream to me. I grew up reading every scholastic book imaginable and was obsessed with the book fairs. This love and obsession carried on to me even in my adult life.

The interview was pretty much a disaster. The recruiter was super nice and that preliminary screening went well, but when I met with the person who I guess would’ve been my boss it all went down hill. I thought a digital producer was basically the same thing as a content coordinator but I quickly found out I was completely wrong.

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I still don’t know what an Assistant Digital Producer does at Scholastic, but I know it’s definitely not blogging, social media, or content marketing…

But I had a great time in NYC anyway. Just being able to see the office was amazing and NYC was everything I thought it would be. I definitely still want to move there.

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I loved my first trip to NYC so much that I decided to come back there to celebrate my 26th birthday. I went to eat lunch at Black Tap NYC. This restaurant was all the rage at the time thanks to their famous milkshakes. The restaurant was actually really disappointing and the staff was horrible, but the rest of the trip was great. I was really just in complete awe of the city. I enjoyed going to the M&M Factory and Bubba Gump and exploring Times Square. I can’t wait to get back there again.

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2. Seeing Good Charlotte…Twice.

For those of you who don’t know, Good Charlotte is by  far my favorite band. I saw them perform for the first time in 100+ degree weather outside on Father’s Day at Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing back in 2010. Since then I’ve seen them Cherry Hill, at the TLA multiple times, and most recently at the Fillmore. I’ve seen them a total of 5 or 6 times, two of which were in 2016.

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Seeing them in 2016 was especially special for me because it was the first time I could REALLY hear them. They sounded just as amazing as I remembered. I liked that I could hear everything they said when they were just talking, too. Before receiving my cochlear implants in 2014 and 2015 I would miss out a lot on their talks to the crowd and teasing each other. The Madden twins have such a great sense of humor that really comes out when they play shows together. It was great to finally get to hear it in these shows.

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Both of the shows were amazing. The TLA will probably always be my favorite venue, but the Fillmore was pretty awesome, too. I like the atmosphere of the TLA better and have a lot of great memories at the TLA, but I think the sound quality at the Fillmore was better. While both shows were incredible I’ll have to say the one I saw in November at the Fillmore was probably their best show ever. It was the perfect blend of old and new songs and so very nostalgic. It was like my childhood come to life in musical form.

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I can’t wait to see them again. For those of you who really, really, really love me they will be performing/traveling with this amazing warped tour/emo/punk cruise ship package thing in October. If you buy it for me I promise to love you for forever…just saying…

3. Working at Becker’s School Supplies

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Image Credits: Becker’s School Supplies on Facebook

This one probably comes as a surprise for most of you guys.. My job at Becker’s didn’t really work out. I actually didn’t get this job originally. It’s kind of a funny story. I found the open SEO Marketer position accidentally on Monster.com, a website I rarely ever used during my job search (I was pretty loyal/exclusive to LinkedIn). I applied and got an interview pretty quickly and thought I had nailed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better interview. I got along with everyone  so well. Being obsessed with school supplies and wearing paperclip earrings to my interview also helped a lot haha.

Imagine my devastation when I received a phone call while at work on April Fool’s Day of all days. I couldn’t believe it.

But the story didn’t end there. I got another call from them about a week later. Apparently things didn’t work out with the first person they hired, so I was next in line. Eager to get our of the miserable job I was currently stuck in, I quickly accepted.

Becker’s wasn’t a bad job at all. It was actually almost anything you could ask for in a job. It was pretty much the complete opposite from my current job which was a plus. It was a family owned business that benefitted the education system in a positive way. I was honestly just excited to get out of the agency life. I also liked that it was a small family-owned business that was around for many years. But my favorite parts? Everyone was sooooooooo nice and professional and there was none of the typical office drama or politics.

I got along great with everyone and was well-liked. It was refreshing to see and work with various members of the Becker family each day. They owned the company and were at the top of the tier, but they never made you feel like you were below them. Everyone was all part of the same team. They valued and respected all of their employees. I’ll never forget how the first thing Kurt Becker, the company’s treasurer, asked me was what I thought about the website and what I’d fix. I was an employee at that time for less than a week and he still valued my opinion and expertise enough to want to know my ideas for change.

As great as Becker’s was though, it wasn’t right for me. I spent years working in SEO in the past, but it was much different. I learned that when it comes to SEO, I’m all about creating content such as blogs and other website content that is optimized for SEO. I’m not much for Google Analytics (although I’m learning!) or any of the data/analytical side of things which this position dealt a lot with. Also, while I loved school supplies my love for school supplies didn’t quite match up with the products the company sold. I thought this was a company that sold a bunch of notebooks and pens, but it was really all early childhood education supplies like furniture for childcare centers.

I used to love product meetings where vendors will show us their stuff and try to persuade us to purchase it, mainly because I’m a child and I love to play with fake sand and dinosaurs and legos and read picture books, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around early education. I never went to pre-school, let alone daycare as a kid. It was a whole new field for me.

When I accepted the job with Becker’s I still had a lot of other job applications out and was negotiating with Penn Medicine. I wasn’t sure what would happen with that opportunity. It sounded good, but I have also been negotiating for several months and nothing was happening and I really needed a new job. I was also looking into grad school and applying for the TEP program. My future was so unclear. Everything was a risk.

I have absolutely no regrets about Becker’s. I learned so much about my career interests, job preferences, and how to turn down a job that isn’t working for you. I left them with the best gift I had to give: I referred them to a former co-worker who I saw as an expert in SEO that I knew was interested in the position. She could do for them everything they needed and wanted in terms of SEO that I didn’t know how to do. They hired her almost immediately. The rest is history.

4.Working at Penn Medicine

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Image Credits: Henrietta Hudson 

While it was quite the long process, I did end up getting hired by Penn Medicine in 2016. I initially turned down the position to work at Becker’s, but they begged me to reconsider. Isn’t it funny how things work out? I applied in January and was finally hired in June.

I honestly wasn’t sure about Penn when I first applied. I previously did an internship with Slack Medical journals and really, really, really hated it. It was so boring and technical and confusing. I was afraid Penn would be the same, yet for some reason this felt really different. I almost backed out of this interview several times because of other interviews I had (first with Scholastic and then with Bernie Robbins jewelers). I am so glad that my mom and some of my friends and former colleagues pushed me to go and keep pursuing this opportunity, even when it seemed hopeless.

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Working at Penn has been a blessing to me in so, so, so many ways. First off, I really love the location. Like I stated previously, I’m a city slicker. We’re located right in University City. It’s a safe part of Philly and there’s so much stuff going on! We’re within walking distance of many restaurants which makes lunch time fun, especially if we have a new member to our team. I recently tried an Indian buffet with my co-workers and in the summer we’d frequently meet up for green smoothies from the fruit lady’s food truck or frozen yogurt from Kiwi yogurt.

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The content team at the #LoveFest Pep Rally

Secondly, I love my job itself. I get to do my two favorite things: write a lot and work on social media. I also get to teach my co-workers what I learn, specifically with our new social media content management system, Sprinklr. I’m never bored. I learn constantly and am always challenged. I didn’t know much about medical conditions initially, but have since learned so many incredible things. I’m in awe by Dr. Carl June’s work with immunotherapy and cancer. All of the neurological conditions constantly blow my mind (did you know there’s a procedure where they turn off and test different parts of the brain to see what if anything will be lost if they cut away part of it?). It’s fascinating stuff!

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My co-workers are also the best. They are so talented, kind, and hard-working. It’s also a very professional atmosphere free of office drama and politics. While everyone is always working really hard, we also have fun together with team building exercises such as monthly full staff meetings, our pep rally, and our Christmas bowling party. We are also starting a professional development book club which should be fun.

5. Becoming an Adjunct Professor AND a Grad School Student at Rowan University

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Image Credits: Rowan

Of all of the possible things that could’ve happened this year, I never imagined I’d become a college professor, but that is exactly what happened.

I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school to earn my MA in Writing for years. I didn’t want to get my MA originally. I was tired and burnt out after earning to BA’s and I didn’t think an MA was all that important to be honest. But after receiving bilateral cochlear implants I wrote a book and now I want so additional help to finish writing/revising it and publish it.

Still, I wasn’t sure how this would work. I didn’t know at the time that Penn has an amazing benefits package that would cover the cost of my tuition. I just knew that financial aid wasn’t an option with grad school, so I was on my own and grad school doesn’t come cheap.

When Professor Block emailed me about grad school and mentioned the TEP program which allows students to teach while earning their MA and pays for at least part of their tuition costs, I saw it as a sign that I was meant to go to grad school and apply.

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I knew I like teaching, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I ultimately did. I didn’t expect to get so attached to my students. I think teaching is one of the best things to ever happen to me, honestly. I love it so much. I love feeling like I’m making a difference and seeing my students improve as writers.

Grad school’s not bad, either. Some of the writing projects for Core were fun. It’s not the most interesting year for me though. I feel like I have a lot of pre-reqs which can be a little dry to take now to get to the good stuff like writing the memoir and non-fiction writing. But still I’ve really loved just being back in school again. I love the challenge of it all. I love learning.

It hasn’t been easy. Juggling a full time job in the city, teaching three times a week, and taking 2 graduate level courses a semester is no joke. But I love the thrill of the challenge and being constantly under pressure. I feel like I am constantly working towards a goal and I feel I’ve been fairly successful so far.

6. Going to Washington DC

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DC is another place I had plans to go to multiple times, but never actually went to until this year. I was first going to go on a field trip in 7th grade, but alas the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade caused the trip to get cancelled. Then in 2014 or whenever it was I was going to meet Casey there and get back together with him, but in a really bizarre turn of events he cancelled our plans and ran off and got engaged and married to some other girl…but that’s another story…

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Every year Rowan picks a book to have the University read together as a whole. This year the book was Americanah! by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I don’t know what the book was about because I didn’t actually read it lol. Anyway though, the book inspired the University to take a free trip to DC that was open to all students and faculty and since I’ve always wanted to go to DC anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to go.

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I was nervous about the trip at first since I didn’t know anyone who was going. Who would I hang out with so I wouldn’t get lost? Should I go as a student or a faculty member since I was actually both? I hung out with faculty originally until I met a faculty member’s son who was a current senior at Rowan and closest in age to me. We hung out for the rest of the trip and became fast friends and had a blast.

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We went to the museum of African history, an African art museum, and one of the Smithsonians, though we didn’t have much time at the Smithsonian. It was a really cool trip. I’m a museum and art nerd so I love looking at and learning about this stuff. The only down side was that the main African history museum was realllllllllllllly crowded and you could hardly move.

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We also ate at a soul food restaurant. I don’t eat soul food much, if ever, so it was a different experience for me. I had these oysters cooked in some kind of a hot sauce that were really good.

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It was a really nice trip especially since it helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I did end up befriending someone despite not knowing anyone and that I took the risk to go to a new place with no one I knew. I’d definitely do something like this again in the future and I hope that in 2017 Rowan provides me with more opportunities to do so!

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7. Going to Kentucky.

My trip to Kentucky was incredible and perhaps the highlight of 2016.

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My mom and I went with Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC). I’ve been following the making of the Ark from day 1 a few years back and when I heard it opened in the summer I couldn’t wait to go. We previously looked into driving down for my mom’s birthday in August, but it was too expensive. However, going with the church would save us money and we’d take a bus with everyone so transportation wouldn’t be an issue.

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Our trip lasted 3 days and consisted with a few hours at the Creation Museum followed by almost a full day at the Ark.

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The Creation Museum was okay. Not quite as good as I was expecting, but still pretty cool. I really loved the dinosaurs. I always liked dinosaurs ever since I was a kid. About a year ago I realized that the bible never mentions the word “dinosaur” so I started to ponder why. I turned to Answers in Genesis and they explained how dinosaurs did exist and were referred to using different words. To see and learn more about this at the museum was neat. Most of the dinosaurs weren’t as big as made out to be and the dinosaurs used to only eat plants as did all animals which the bible clearly states, but few people realize. It was very informative.

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Noah’s Ark was amazing. You don’t realize how big it is until you see if for yourself. It was also incredible biblically accurate. They had all of the animals that they had back then and the cages and everything so well done. I enjoyed learning about Noah and his family and the work that they did on the Ark as well. It made me thirsty to learn more.

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Overall, 2016 was an incredible year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!

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So…I’m still working on the 30-day writing challenge for May because I suck. I’m on day 14 so I’m still not even halfway through it. But I had to put today’s challenge off for a bit so I could figure some things out and talk with my boss, so naturally I didn’t want to say anything quite yet. Long story short: I’m making some career changes, which I’ll be getting into a little bit with this post. Today’s challenge is to write about how I see my life in 7 years.

Where to even begin? My life changed so much in the past 7 years I can only imagine where I’ll be in another 7.

Next Monday, June 13th, will be my first day working as a Website and Social Media Monitoring Specialist at Penn Medicine. It’s such an amazing opportunity and I believe this will be the start of a really bright future and long-lasting career for me. I definitely anticipate that I’ll still be working for Penn Medicine in the next 7 years.

I should definitely be finished with my Master’s in Writing Arts program within 7 years, too. The program shouldn’t take me longer than 3 years to complete. Maybe I’ll even decide to continue my education and go on to get a Doctorate degree after that or a MFA. Rowan doesn’t offer doctorate degrees in English or MFA’s. Of course, that could change over the next 7 years, but somehow I doubt that. I could get an MFA in Creative Writing (which from the sounds of it gets blended into their English program as well) from Rutgers Camden or another nearby school though.

I’m going to be teaching First Year Writing 3 times a week at Rowan for the first time ever this September as well. Since I have no prior teaching experience, I really don’t know what to expect. But if I end up really loving it, perhaps I’ll continue to teach over the next 7 years as well. Maybe I’ll even teach multiple classes and teach more advanced writing or English courses, too.

I really really really hope I finish writing God Granted Me Hearing over the next 7 years. Hopefully, if it’s God’s will, it will be published by then, too.

I want to get more involved with my church and missionary work or something, too. I found an amazing organization called Aid the Silent that works to bring the gospel to the deaf since 98% of all deaf individuals do not know Jesus. As a deaf Christian, this is a cause that is really important to me. I’d love to somehow get involved with them over the next 7 years. I actually just submitted a request for more information as I was typing this. Maybe I can join them on a missionary/missions trip or sponsor a child or something. Anything would be great.

I’ll be 33 in 7  years. I’m 26 now and about as single as one can be. I really hope that by the time I’m 33, that changes. I hope I find a wonderful man of God with shared interests and that we will bring out the best in each other. Maybe we will get married and have kids and a wonderful life together, but only if that is within God’s will. I trust God and his timing (although I often get extremely impatient). It would be nice to have that within the next 7 years, though.

Having my own home (doesn’t even have to be a huge house…just a home) would be nice. I swear 30 is my cutoff age. I love my parents dearly and appreciate all that they do for me, but I can’t imagine being a 30 year old woman still living at home. Nope.

I should probably get my license before then, though. I hope to have that within the next year. DEFINITELY before the next 7 years are up haha.

These are some of my biggest goals, hopes, and dreams over the next 7 years. Who knows what will actually happen though? I leave it all in God’s hands. Just as Job 14: 5 states, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” God knows every day of our lives. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me over the next7 years. These past 7 years I’ve been beyond blessed and I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done and continues to do for me.


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Image Credits: Amazon

Evan Bailyn’s Outsmarting Google is one of those books that have been on my “To Be Read” list for forever (which isn’t at all surprising if you look at that mile long list…). I actually got this book from a former co-worker when I worked for a digital marketing agency 2 or 3 years ago. After accepting an offer to work as an SEO Marketing Strategist for Becker’s School Supplies, I knew it was time to pick up the book and take it out of the “To Be Read” pile and move it along to the “Currently reading” pile.

I expected that much of this book would be things I already knew, and I was right. I worked for a digital marketing agency for nearly 3 years. I started as an inbound marketer working my way up to a social media marketer, assistant project manager, and later a digital marketing manager with an emphasis in social media. Since my main focus has always been social media, I’ve always just had working knowledge rather than expert level seo knowledge, but have always kept informed by reading blogs, news, and in the case of Outsmarting Google, books. I’d say I do have a lot of experience with SEO, but not as much as I do with writing or social media and I’m not sure I’d refer to myself as a “expert”, which is why I need more help from books like Bailyn’s.

I already knew that Title Tags and Meta Tags were important along with linkbuilding, so some of these chapter simply repeated what I already knew. There are some parts of the book I questioned and wasn’t sure how much of it I agreed with though. I felt like Bailyn’s really discredited the importance of having strong content on your website. He seems to operate more on the idea that on-site content doesn’t really matter at all for SEO. He does emphasize the importance of having a well-designed website which I agree with — but I don’t think that’s enough. If your website is beautiful but has little to no content or poorly written or outdated content, why would anyone want to go to it? Maybe you’ll see obtain website traffic and great rankings in Google, but your conversions may suffer and your bounce rate may be high, neither of which will do your website or business any justice.

In contrast, I feel like Bailyn over-emphasizes the importance of linkbuilding. Yes, it is important. I know that this is one of the most important ranking factors for Google. However, I question Bailyn’s methods. I wonder how strong his linkbuilding is and whether or not much of it is just spam. I also really don’t agree with the way he thinks and advises readers to simply ask webmasters, bloggers, etc. for a link. He makes it sound like the easiest thing in the world to do. Go ahead and try it, I guarantee you’ll receive one of these responses:

  1. Who are you and why should I link to you?
  2. That will be (insert price here, often more than $100)
  3. Google considers that spam and will issue my website a penalty if I do that, so no.
  4. No.

Or simply no response at all. Approaching bloggers and other quality website owners/media members for a link is definitely a much more difficult and more thought out process than simply shooting a completely transparent email asking for it. I learned that the hard way from my agency days, trust me.

Also, some of the links just didn’t seem that good. Bailyn seems to think if a website is anywhere somewhat (but not really) close to being in your industry, a link on that site is good enough. He also recommends linking all of your websites together. So, say you have a website about pizza, a website about leather, and a third website about pets. Bailyn thinks you could link them all together. I suppose it could work. Maybe you want to write on your pizza website an article on leather pizza fashions or a pizza shirt or a piece of pizza your pet is wearing/eating. It’s hard, but not impossible. But I don’t think this is always going to work and I’m not sure I would push for it as much as Bailyn seems to.

Another thing that bothers me with this book is the way the author, Evan Bailyn is constantly bragging about his success and referencing his business, First Page Sage, and yet when you try to look it up and even Google it, there’s nothing too spectacular about it. For example, on page 28 of this book, Bailyn uses First Page Sage as an example to show how his website is ranking #1 on Google for the term “expert Google optimization”. I just typed that in to Google and he’s not on page 1. He’s actually all the way on page 5…the very bottom of page 5, almost page 6.

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Looking at Bailyn’s website, it’s not hard to see why he isn’t ranking better. Some pages such as the homepage and the “About Us” page are great. But other pages, well it’s obvious Bailyn is putting into practice his belief that on-site content isn’t important. The pages for “Our Culture”, “Careers”, “Blog” and “Contact” pages are all without meta descriptions. The blog also isn’t updated as much as you’d expect. On average, it only gets updated around once a month. Maybe this is what’s hurting his rankings?

Of course, it might not have anything to do with Bailyn’s on site content. This book was published in 2011, maybe he just changed his keywords, or even his whole focus of his business, which seems to be exactly what he did. I did some keyword research and analzyzed his website and it looks like “thought leadership” and “thought leadership marketing” is more of what he’s focusing on now, so I googled that as well. He’s number 8 for “thought leadership”:

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And he’s #2 for “thought leadership marketing”:

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I’m not sure how I feel about this information. “Thought leadership” is a whole different concept and completely different keyword to target. Why the sudden change? Is it because he failed at SEO marketing so he decided to become a thought leader instead? #2 for thought leadership marketing is more reassuring, but it’s still not #1 and it’s for a whole new concept. I’m just not sure how much I trust his word as an “SEO expert”.

Bailyn’s social media presence was also disappointing to me. He has over 100,000 followers on Facebook, but he hasn’t updated his page since January — that I know is not good practice. He only has 243 followers on LinkedIn and I believe no posts. His Twitter also hasn’t been updated in over 2 months. It just make it hard to trust this guy and any of the advice he gives on digital marketing…

There are still some points that Bailyn made that I liked and learned from though. I especially enjoyed the sections on PPC and Google Adwords. I don’t have much hands-on experience with PPC advertising at all, so I’m always trying to learn more about it. I like how he explained what makes it different from SEO and the advantages/disadvantages of both. The information on display URL, negative match, and negative  keywords were all things I didn’t know about previously. Having this knowledge now I think will be very beneficial for me if I work with PPC advertising in the future.

The highlight of Bailyn’s book for me was the last part where he wrote about his predictions for Google in the future. This book was published back in 2011…5 years ago, but he was on the right track for most of these predictions. I thought it was interesting how much of a threat he thought Facebook was to Google. I have to say I do agree with this ideology. He’s right in saying that Facebook is much more of a threat than say Bing or Yahoo. The social search was an interesting concept because of how unexpected that prediction was for me. I don’t think it will ever actually happen though because I think that would make it like Facebook 2.0. It seems pointless. Facebook and Google may want to compete, but they should still exist as separate properties with their own unique features, not mere copies of each other.

Bailyn also predicted that Google would launch a social network and that it wouldn’t be well received. Spot on. Google tried with Google+, but it definitely isn’t a huge threat to Facebook by any means and many have predicted over the years that Google will kill it off. Bailyn’s book was published in March of 2011. Google+ was launched in June.

I think that he’s also right with how much he stressed how important localized search will become. Google has been releasing more and more options and features for local  businesses to help them with their SEO especially lately. There’s never been a better time to be a local business interested in SEO marketing. I think he’s also right on Google trying to encourage people to use their phone’s more and releasing features that lets people know where they are or when they visit a certain place. It sounds slightly creepy to read about it in Bailyn’s book, but we’re already pretty much there with apps like FourSquare and the ability to check in places on Facebook and Instagram. Will this really be any different from that? I can see that being a success. However, the reviews probably won’t be as big of a deal as Bailyn thinks. Let’s face it: people are lazy. Most people don’t want to take the time to leave a review unless their service is really bad and they need to vent. Overall,  think that Google reviews will pretty much stay the same over the next few years.

Evan Bailyn’s Outsmarting Google wasn’t a terrible book; I still learned a few things from it. However, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be; it was just okay. It’s worth just 3 our of 5 stars from me.


marketing blog on sm

For those of you who may not know, I blog at Confessions of a Def Deaf Girl on a regular basis. This is a blog that I started up over a year ago when I first started to seriously consider getting my first cochlear implant. This blog is something that’s become very important to me over the last year as it is my way of documenting my story, connecting and sharing my story with others in the Deaf community that may be going through the same thing(s), and also using it a a tool to express my emotions and a times, vent a little. I’m actually in the process of transforming my blog into a full-fledged novel now, with the first draft recently completed.

Around 8 months – a year after launching Confessions of a Def Deaf Girl, I realized I should take my blog to social media so that I can reach even more of my target audience. I remembered how big of a role social media played in my decision to get my first cochlear implant. If it wasn’t for all of the Facebook groups I joined and people I talked to in those groups and the people I connected with on Instagram, I may never have went through with getting my cochlear implant.

I have a lot of experience with social media marketing. I currently work as a Digital Marketing Manager – SMO at WebiMax, where social media is my specialty. Prior to my employment at WebiMax, I also managed Rowan University’s social accounts. However, that doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about social media. I do know this: there’s always room to learn more when it comes to social media. Marketing my blog on social media has taught me quite a few things. Here are 7 lessons I learned by marketing my blog on social media.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Unique. Let’s be real, there are way more people in the world that don’t have a cochlear implant and/or aren’t deaf than people who are. There isn’t exactly an  overwhelming amount of Facebook pages or Twitter accounts out there dedicated to cochlear implants and/or the Deaf/HOH community. However, this has worked as an advantage to me. I knew from my own personal experience that there is a demand for these kinds of pages on social media. I can’t be the only Deaf girl looking for a fun, informative, and positive social pages to connect with. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for on social media, create it. You’ll be at more of an advantage than a disadvantage for being unique. It just means less competition!

2. Be Generous. You know what one of my biggest pet peeves is on social media? Selfish people/brands. I can’t stand when a person or brand never takes to the time to reply to comments or messages. I hate when people or brands never share or comment on other posts or otherwise engage with their audience.

With my own social pages I am always connecting with other users and sharing their content. I noticed some of my best posts that receive the highest engagements are ones that I shared from others. And it also encourages those pages to like my page and engage with my posts, too! It’s a win-win all around.

3. Be Helpful. Why should people visit your page? What do they want to know? In my case, there’s an endless list of questions that people have. What do cochlear implants sound like? What can people expect after activation? What kind of training can they do with their cochlear implant? I share my own personal blog posts that contain helpful information, news articles, and other resources to help people out.

I also take things a step further and answer any questions people may have on a regular basis. One woman even sent me a surgery to answer for her Speech Language Pathologist certification. It was a long list of questions that took me awhile to answer, but I still made a point to answer her in a PM and she couldn’t have been more appreciate of it. I love helping others on Facebook because I remember how everyone came and helped me when I was at the beginning of my cochlear implant process in November of 2014.

FB COMMENT

 

4. Know Your Audience. One of the most important parts of effective Facebook marketing lies in knowing your audience. I know my audience very well, because this is my life – the community that I live in. I am a direct member of my audience. My audience is a wide age range (although I purposely try to target young adults/teens since I know there is a huge lack of online resources/social pages available for them that deal with the Deaf community) of individuals who have some form of hearing loss or who work or live with someone that has hearing loss. My posts are geared for this audience and questions they have, challenges they face, and products they may be interested in.

If I one day started posting about seeing dogs, LASIK surgery, braille, and the blind community I may see a decrease in my level of engagement and even lose some followers because those topics are not relevant to my audience. My audience is predominately Deaf/HOH, not blind. Know your audience and know that your content caters specifically for their needs and interests.

5. Organic Marketing Isn’t “Dead”. It’s common knowledge that it has been increasingly difficult to achieve a social following organically these days, especially on Facebook. However  the idea that organic marketing is “dead” is merely a myth. Organic marketing is difficult, but far from “dead”.

I personally cannot afford paid advertising on social media to promote my blog at this time, but I am more than happy with my organic results thus far. I have 56 Likes on Facebook. To some that may not seem like a lot, but considering I have never run an Ad for Likes and the page is just a few months old, I feel like I am making good progress. I’ve gotten 18 Likes alone just in the last 30 days. That’s more than a quarter of my overall likes!

And my engagement? It’s been even better than what I see some people getting from paid advertising. Take for instance a post I shared this morning about a doll with a cochlear implant:

good fb engagement

It’s been up for only a few hours and already gained 2 shares 6 Likes, and reached 801 people. I also gained 2 more Page Likes shortly after posting this. Not bad for an all-organic post! I can only imagine how well my page will do when the time comes that I can afford to invest in paid advertising!

6. Don’t Be Overly Promotional. One thing that I love about promoting my blog on social media that I’m sure everyone else appreciates is this: I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m sure that everyone hates constantly having their News Feed or Twitter Feed flooded with brands and businesses trying to sell their products. It definitely gets annoying and at times makes me want to unlike or unfollow the account. I do of course promote my blog, but that’s not the *ONLY* thing I do. I make sure I only post about my blog 2-3 times a month on average. The other posts are industry-relevant news, quotes, images, questions, and more fun, social, and engaging content. I imagine if all I did on social media was ask people to read my blog, I wouldn’t have as many followers or as much engagement.

When you don’t constantly shove your products or services down people’s throats, they’ll be more inclined to go to it on their own, too. Case in point? One of my followers chose to visit my blog through my Facebook page on their own today as seen through my CTA button analytics:

learn more cta FB

Instead of worrying about promoting all of your products and your business on social media, focus more on creating great content that will make people want to learn more about your business/brand and purchase your products or utilize your services.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Recycle Old Content. I share old blog posts on social media all the time. I know a lot of my earlier posts from when I was going through the process of getting my cochlear implant for the first time are some of my strongest, most helpful pieces of content I have and my audience loves them. I make a note of when I share my blog posts and where I share them though so that I can be sure I’m not sharing the same post continuously. I also like to vary between which ones I share on Facebook and which I share on Twitter to keep things fresh at all. Remember, great content is timeless and deserves to be shared more than once. You’re bound to come across some new audience members who haven’t seen it yet that will be sure to enjoy it just as much as they enjoy your newer content.

The best way to learn about social media marketing and what does or doesn’t work is by doing it. Even though my social campaign for my blog is entirely organic and done for fun, I have still learned quite a bit. Once my book is complete I’d like to invest in paid advertising to promote my blog and my book and I’m sure I’ll be learning even more about social media marketing through that experience as well.

 


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Image Credits: Bleacher Report

If there’s two things in life I’m extremely passionate about it’s digital marketing and the New England Patriots. Sometimes the two even go hand-in-hand. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see my sporting my Brady or Edelman jersey in the office the day before, day off, or day after the Patriots play. Lately, I’ve even picked up on a few ways that everyone can learn important lessons on digital marketing from the Patriots. That is why now, less than an hour before the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, I’ve decided to create a list on the top 5 digital marketing strategies I learned from watching the New England Patriots.

1. Take Risks – In my personal opinion, the New England Patriots are one of the biggest risk-takers in the NFL — and it almost always pays off for them! Who can forget their amazing playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens when Edelman switched roles and decided to play quarterback? Although Edelman played this position in his college days, he was drafted as a right wing and that is the only position he’s played professionally with the Patriots. Changing roles was a risk and very unexpected, but it definitely played off in the long run and helped the Patriots defeat the Ravens. This is a reminder that when it comes to digital marketing, we should embrace change even if it seem risky or unexpected. Sometimes the biggest risks have the most favorable outcomes in the end.

2. Engage With Your Community – If you follow any of the Patriot’s social media accounts then you’ll be able to really see just how well they engage with their community. They are always sharing photos submitted by fans, really connecting with them, and paying attention to who they are and where they are. They know that people dress their pets and babies in Patriots gear, and they show off the fan photos. They know that women are Patriots fans, so they make heels with their logo. During the holidays, they look for Patriots themed Christmas trees, Halloween pumpkins, and Patriots themed cakes. They follow the latest trends and capitalize on it so they can be sure to always be engaged, relevant, and forming connections with their fans.

3. Show Gratitude – No one can say that the Patriots are a selfish team. They are always giving back to others in every way possible. There are weekly giveaways on social media from the Gillette stadium, Patriots franchise, and even individual players. When the Patriots played against the Chargers, many of their fans followed them all the way to San Diego and Brady, Belichick and many others from the Patriots team couldn’t thank the fans enough for their amazing support.

You too, can show gratitude in similar ways. Be sure to thank your customers for their service, your fans and followers for their support and thank them often. It won’t go unnoticed.

4. Give Back – The Patriots are also a very charitable team constantly visiting veterans and sick patients in hospitals and trying to give back in every possible way. Some individual players, most notably, Brady, have also voluntarily taken pay cuts in an effort to make more money available for the rest of the team to retain some of their other players.

Follow in the Patriot’s footsteps and give back to your community by offering contests/giveaways of your products if applicable, having your business donate or volunteer for various charities, and become more involved in your business’ community for the wellbeing of others.

5. Be Honest – Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to ensure exceptional customer service, things may backfire, causing a bit of bad publicity or a customer to be upset. Even a team as big as the New England Patriot’s isn’t safe from controversy. The current deflate gate issue just further proves this point. However, the Patriots handled the controversy well by holding press conferences, being cooperative, and speaking the truth about what they did and didn’t know about the situation.

If your business ever ends up in the midst of bad publicity or dealing with an unhappy customer, just remember to be open and honest. Apologize for any wrong doing and tell the truth. People like to see honesty in a business, especially when things go wrong. Being open and honest will help your customers and followers to see your business can be trusted even if they make a mistake. Always remain cool and handle the issue in a professional manner and you’ll be fine.

Regardless of who you’re rooting for this Super Bowl Sunday, it is obvious that the New England Patriots can teach us many important digital marketing strategies. Which one do you think is the most important?


As an intern for CloudItGuru.com, my current assignment has been to work on creating the first ever Cloud It Guru E-book. One of the sections I have been focusing on for the past few weeks has been devoted exclusively to various forms of digital marketing. In order to learn how small businesses can benefit from marketing on Pinterest I have been reading Hub Spot’s E-book, How to Use Pinterest For Business. As I was reading some of the suggested Pinterest marketing strategies I was reminded of the ways that individuals market themselves online. I really liked many of Hub Spot’s ideas on how to best use Pinterest for business marketing and I believe that many of their ideas can be applied to how we market ourselves and strive to create our own personal web presence. Here are 5 things we can learn from Pinterest about building an online web presence and marketing ourselves online:

1. Show, don’t tell. Pinterest operates largely with visuals. Yes, there is some text, but look at this screen shot of my Pinterest dashboard:

Screen-Shot-Of-Pinterest-Dashboard

 

While there is certainly some text, the pictures are what catches your eye first. It is important for Pinterest users to “pin” visually appealing content. In terms of our website and general web presence, it is important for us to show what we can do rather than say it all in text. On my website’s index page I have three “feature” articles, showcasing some of the actual articles I have written rather than simply saying “I have written this and this…”.

 

2. Create content for a target audience. On Pinterest users can create various “boards” featuring a variety of topics. HubSpot’s E-book suggests that businesses create boards that reflect their company’s values, beliefs, or motto. When we market ourselves online it is important that we keep our target audience in mind and write or post content for them. For example, on Twitter I follow many people involved with both social media and creative writing. They post information relating to these fields and I do the same. This information includes where I am in my progress with social media and my creative works, links to interesting articles, and other general related comments.

 

3. Don’t be  just a “self-follower” or “self-promoter” — be engaging! It is important to engage with others. On Pinterest, Hub Spot warns against companies that strictly post their own products/company info as Pinterest boards. One example they give is of a shoe company. While it may be beneficial for shoe companies to have boards featuring their own shoes and related products, they should also create boards that can engage their users such as a board for places to wear said shoes, activities to participate in wearing certain shoes, etc. Instead of merely talking about the work we have done online, we should engage with others about it and ask what they are doing, gain feedback on our work, swap advice, and comment on where we are now or hope to be in the future. Our online presence isn’t a one way street; in order to work most effectively we should be willing to engage with others who cross our path.

 

4. Give people a reason to follow you. Keep the content you post online fresh and new. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your website or social media pages. Be fun, informative, and approachable. On Pinterest many companies have chosen to hold contests to engage with other users and to give them a reason to follow them and stay engaged. You don’t have to have a contest, but you do have to be interesting and engaging in order to gain an online following.

 

5. Build Connections both with individuals and the web. Link your social media pages together. Posting on Twitter? That’s fine, but don’t be afraid to include a link to Pinterest or your website or another online channel that you’ve built a web presence for. Connect with other individuals, too. Comment not only on their tweets and Facebook posts, but their actual blogs as well. Remember to include links to your website and social media pages whenever applicable. By doing this you will not only build connections, but help to build up your overall web presence which will make it easier for others to find you online through search engines.

 

What is your strategy when it comes to marketing yourself online and building a web presence? Have you tried any of these tips?



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