The Power of Facebook Retargeting

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Apr 8, 2014 in Business, Communication, Social Media

Regardless of personal preferences, there is no denying the marketing potential of Facebook, one of the most popular sites on the web. The social media giant offers such a plethora of advertising options, from the sidebar to news feed-infused sponsors, that its targeting benefits apply to most industries. Simply put, there is no reason a business should avoid exploring the marketing opportunities on Facebook.

One of the most common criticisms against Facebook’s role as a marketing tool is that its targeting is weak and ineffective. Some businesses have experienced Facebook marketing campaigns that have failed, largely because advertising was not displayed to the most lucrative and desirable niche for that industry. However, recently Facebook has strengthened the power of Facebook retargeting, resulting in benefits such as the following:

Visitors of a Web Site or Mobile App Can Become Target Demographics

Late last year, Facebook announced their plans to launch a new retargeting tool that allows retailers to display ads to people who used their web site or mobile app, thus increasing the chances they would interact with the ads. Whereas side platforms like Triggit, AdRoll and Turn had previously made Facebook retargeting a key element of their business, Facebook’s recent improved retargeting suggests they have moved on from their traditional FBX ad exchange, despite how that may make some side platforms unhappy.

Custom Audiences and App Personalization

Another new element of Facebook’s retargeting improvement efforts comes in the form of “custom audiences,” a new form of ad targeting that allows marketers to use their own customer data to match Facebook users. That means a business can find clients though Facebook with a phone number or e-mail address; this is a convenient way for businesses to send pre-existing customers an invite to their business’ Facebook page.

In addition, there are plenty of benefits in using mobile ads to deliver to custom audiences. Facebook product marketing manager Scott Shapiro used an example where Nordstrom could use mobile app engagement ads to target people who already have Nordstrom’s mobile app installed on their phones. In this case, they may be shown an ad reflective of their browsing patterns on that app.

User Reminders

Once again using the Nordstrom example, if a user adds a dress to their shopping cart but forgets to check out, both custom audiences an FBX have the ability to remind users of that potential purchase, while linking back to the cart in case they wish to complete that purchase. This is a very effective way for business to finalize sales. This applies to any industry, from online clothing shops to home décor sites like Gate to Garage.

An Ability to Opt Out

Facebook retargeting has plenty of benefits. One of them is that the customer will always have the ability to opt out of targeting, which is a great way to maintain trust. While many users are aware that targeting results in receiving more accurate and personalized ads, some consumers believe it’s not worth the privacy concerns. Facebook’s new retargeting alternative makes it possible for them to opt out based on their own tracking of web site and app visits

Facebook retargeting appears to be on the rise due to improvements and more frequent use. By noting the benefits above, it’s clear to see why businesses should consider using Facebook as a marketing tool. Especially now that a retargeting alternative has been implemented.

 This is a guest post by Carly Fierro.

Tags: , , ,


Guide to Google+ for B2B Marketing [Infographic]

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Apr 2, 2014 in Business, SEO, Social Media

While there are thousands of books written about how to promote your company on using social media, when it comes to attracting visitors: the simplicity offered by Google+ cannot be surpassed.

From its launch, Google+ existed as kind of a punchline, its attempt to copy Facebook, and how Google’s attempt to cash in on it proved initially unsuccessful. Google is never one to stop tinkering with its projects though, and since then, the fledgling social network has been steadily growing thanks in part to its integration with other Google services like Gmail, Youtube, and Hangouts.

Now that it’s becoming a necessity to represent your business on Google+, we’re happy to teach you the secrets of what kind of material gets shared and interacted with on Google’s network, and can even tell you what else you need to do to become a true-blooded citizen of Google+.

Check out the infographic below, provided by virtualphone-number.com. Whether you’re an established social media pro or a startup owner looking to be ahead of the curve, a Google+ strategy needs to be on your to-do list for 2014

Guest Post by Shane Russo

Tags: , , ,


Spin Sucks Book Review: 3 Things I Didn’t Expect

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Mar 29, 2014 in Business, Career, Communication, PR/Ad, SEO, Social Media

Spin SucksIf you’re familiar at all with the PR industry you’ve probably heard the name Gini Dietrich or at least her popular blog Spin Sucks, which has the #1 spot in Cision’s Top 50 PR Blogs list.

Gini has been one of my career role models for a few years now. When I heard she had written a book called Spin Sucks, I signed up right away to be one of her brand ambassadors and received an early copy of the book.

Since today is the official launch for Gini’s new book, I wanted to give you a sneak peak into what you’ll learn from reading Spin Sucks.

3 Things I Didn’t Expect (and the reason why you should buy the book)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t give much thought to what would be written in the book when I signed up to be a brand ambassador. All I knew was that Gini wrote it (so it would have to be awesome) and it was obviously going to be about public relations. But while reading it there were a few things I didn’t expect, that doesn’t mean they were bad surprises. Matter of fact, the book was better and more applicable than I had originally thought it would be.

1) Spin Sucks is directed towards small businesses.

Being a loyal reader and occasional contributor to the Spin Sucks blog, I had expected the book to be directed solely to PR professionals. However, the book’s targeted audience is much broader than that.

The book’s easy-to-understand and practical nature makes it a primary resource for small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs who want to do their own digital communication. It would also make a great read for communication and business students.

I was a little nervous at first that the book might be too basic for the PR professional, but that all changed when I got to chapter 3. Not only is Spin Sucks digestible for the novice but also those who have been in the PR industry for years can glean plenty of golden nuggets from the wisdom Gini shares throughout it.

2) She said what…?!

I interned at a PR agency for half a year before I took on my current job at WebpageFX. The PR agency used traditional tactics and had a blind eye to how PR connects with SEO and content marketing.

What does this have to do with Spin Sucks? Gini broke the mold. I didn’t expect her to encourage and explain how to combine all digital communication efforts (SEO, content marketing, reputation management, etc) to create an overall better PR campaign. I thought she was going to reinforce the PR mold but her book completely shatters what most PR agencies do.

3) I’m going to have to reread it.

I don’t reread books often. The list is very short and includes books such as: How to Win Friends and Influence People, Secrets of Closing the Sale, and several books from the Bible. But Gini’s Spin Sucks is now added to that list. The practical tips and tricks she shares make it certain that I’ll be taking it off the shelf to dig through it again soon.

I read a lot. Just to give you a glimpse, in March I read Spin Sucks, The Positive Dog, Epic Content Marketing, and The Oz Principle (this doesn’t include my weekly in-take of industry articles). Spin Sucks is one of the best communication books I’ve read in a long time.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out the 38 positive reviews she already has on Amazon.



Tags: ,


The Role of Emotion in Viral Content

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Mar 28, 2014 in Blogging, Business, Communication, Entertainment, PR/Ad, SEO, Social Media

rainy day girlIf there’s one quality that’s criminally overlooked when it comes to content marketing, it’s emotion. We’ve all more-or-less accepted social media and online advertising as one of the many facts of life, which only makes it easier for marketers to phone-it-in when it comes to the quality of their marketing techniques.

Audiences want to be entertained, but even more importantly they want to feel something. What, for example, are the most successful television commercials? That’s an easy one: they’re the ones that make us laugh, or the ones that tell a heartfelt story.

I’m in the business of corporate storytelling so whenever a commercial comes on I enjoy dissecting it. What emotional response did they hope to elicit? What persuasion tactic did they use? What could they have done better? More often than not, companies choose an informative commercial rather than one that plays off of the audience’s emotions, like a story would.

Why Use Viral Content?

The phrase “viral content” is a rather less-than-pleasant term that refers to content that is shareable. It’s that eminent shareability that has elevated virality to the Holy Grail status that it currently enjoys. Quite simply, viral content is a sort of perpetual motion machine of free publicity.

Think about it: a video clip made on a modest budget, if it’s done well, could be seen by tens of millions of people around the world. Viral content is proof that companies don’t need massive advertising war chests like Amazon, Google, and Apple to be successful in a hugely overcrowded capitalistic world.

The ability to break through the dull roar of the noise generated by the sheer number of ads in the world is another reason why viral content is so actively pursued. In any given year, there are trillions of ads displayed online. How anybody has managed to make a name for his or herself in such a landscape is remarkable, but viral content is without question a highly successful method for making the attempt.

How Does Online Content Go Viral?

big idea sstockmonkeys.com

It’s sometimes tempting to assume that viral videos simply spring into being or are, by some as yet not wholly understood law of the universe, simply self-fulfilling prophesies. The truth is at once more fascinating and a great deal more mundane. When you get right down to it, viral content is something of a science unto itself. Literally: scientists have been studying why online content goes viral for some time now, and have come up with a list of purportedly inviolable rules for why it does so.

A number of studies were performed, one of which involved showing audiences two videos: the first group was shown a fairly unremarkable video about basket weaving. One hopes there wasn’t a particularly spirited basket enthusiast in this “control group,” or the results of the study may have been skewed. The other groups were shown a variety of videos that spanned the range of human emotion: videos that were intended to elicit an emotional response, such as laughing or anger. Can you guess how it turned out?

The findings revealed that there’s a sort of hierarchical arrangement when it comes to the efficacy of different sorts of content. The study drove home the point that content that successfully elicits a positive emotion – humor, happiness, warmth – are more successful than content that elicits a so-called “high-arousal” emotion: that is, anger or frustration. However, both positive and negative emotions were found to be better motivators than “neutral” content that simply aims for the middle and inspires unremarkable feelings of “mere” contentedness.

One might say it’s the same principle that brought about the popular axiom about there being “no such thing as bad publicity.” It would seem that, as long as you’ve made somebody feel something – even if it’s a negative or unpleasant emotion – you’ve done your job; such feelings will not only resonate with them in that moment, but stick with them for some time afterward.

Why Does Viral Content Work?

This type of scientific inquiry has proven that viral videos are powered by nothing more or less than the human condition. Viral videos – videos that one might say spread contagiously and are successful because they appeal to the range of emotional responses in human beings – are successful because emotions themselves are contagious.

It’s true. Think about it: this is the same phenomenon whereby people regularly report being despondent if their significant other is having a bad day. Even in less personal surroundings, emotions seem to be highly contagious; people seem remarkably capable of picking up on the “mood” in their surroundings, if only on an unconscious level. Cues such as body language, gestures and vocal intonation seem to be all we need to empathize with the emotions around us.

The bottom line here is that triggering an emotional response is the key to creating content that will speak to a wide variety of individuals, and will successfully go viral. Below we’re going to take some time to examine a few recent, highly viral pieces of online content, and take a look at how they succeeded as well as they did.

Case Studies

1. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

Dove marketing viral

We might as well kick off this list of case studies with the ad that’s been hailed as the most viral ad of all time: Dove’s ingenious “Real Beauty Sketches.” The ad is actually a short film that was made with the assistance of an FBI sketch artist.

The artist drew two portraits of several women: the first was done using the women’s own descriptions of themselves, based on their personal perceptions of how they look and their perceived level of attractiveness. The second portrait was drawn according to the physical descriptions provided by strangers.

The result was remarkable. The portraits made using the strangers’ descriptions were: (1) More
objectively attractive than the other portrait and (2) More accurate when compared to the women’s actual physical appearance.

The message is a simple one: women are their own worst critics, and judge themselves more harshly than they should. Dove went for the emotional approach, and they ended up knocking it out of the park: viewers, including myself, came away with a totally new perspective and perhaps even a healthier self-image.

2. Miley Freaking Cyrus

viral campaigns

While I find her extremely distasteful, like it or not, no list of effective viral content is complete without mentioning the esteemed Miley Cyrus. Her infamous performance at the VMAs, as well as her music video for the smash hit “Wrecking Ball” have both inspired a nearly endless sea of imitators, many of which have become viral sensations in their own right.

So what’s the lesson here? It probably has something to do with the power of the herd mentality. Nearly overnight, everybody was talking about it, even I wanted to know why.

Parodies of the now infamous video starring the likes of Betty White and Hulk Hogan have been popping up with almost alarming regularity, driving home the fact that genuinely funny parodies of already famous videos have a tendency to resonate with the public. There is, after all, a sort of singular pleasure in being “in on the joke.”

3. Apple Commercials


If there’s a company that needs no introduction, it’s Apple; the Cupertino-based tech giant is consistently ranked among the most admired companies in the world; they topped the list in 2013 and are, for the time being, maintaining that coveted position in 2014.

While Apple’s products have a tendency to sell themselves, Apple nevertheless frequently engages in memorable, and on occasion, even heartfelt, ad campaigns. Remember the “Get a Mac” commercials starring Justin Long and John Hodgman? Even today, those playful ads seem like they’re embedded in our collective unconscious.

Even more recently, Apple has leaned less on humor and more on pulling America’s heartstrings. Apple’s most viral ad since Justin Long first uttered the line “Hi, I’m a Mac” is called “Misunderstood.” It ran during the holiday season last year and had people of all ages re-evaluating the role of technology in family gatherings.

One perhaps unintended result of the ad was a not inconsiderable amount of debate surrounding the message of the ad. Some have decried it as one more unfortunate step toward a totally technology-dependent society, while others hail it as a great reminder that technology can help us to preserve important family events and memories.

So How Do You Create Viral Content?

While we’ve hopefully broken through a lot of the mysticism surrounding how exactly online content manages to go viral, leveraging that knowledge is anything but straightforward. It’s definitely a creative process, which is the reason why regurgitating statistics and product specifications is so terribly ineffective in content marketing, though there is a time and place for that kind of information. Brands need to create an emotional connection with their users and prospective customers.

This is the reason why, for example, Samsung’s recently unveiled Galaxy S4 smartphone, no matter how much better it may look than Apple’s most comparable handhelds, is going to struggle to outsell its bitterest rival. Samsung hopes that the specs alone will sell the phone. Apple knows better.

So what can marketers do to create viral content? A great deal of it comes down to unlearnable traits like intuition, but the rest of the process is almost alarmingly straightforward.

1. Seek to Elicit a Specific Emotional Response

Having a clear strategy in mind is extremely important and will ultimately pay off in big ways. Have you ever watched a movie and been unsure of what you were meant to be feeling? Maybe the screenwriter just threw a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what would stick, and as a result the movie attempts to do everything, and ends up doing everything poorly. If feature films are capable of having an identity crisis, you can bet online content can have the same problems.

If you want to make your audience laugh, don’t use a Tori Amos song in the background. If you want to make your audience quake with anger, or even a comparatively milder emotion like surprise or uncertainty, think long and hard before hiring some bubbly celebrity as your spokesperson.

There is a psychological approach to evoking emotion and if you want to do it well you should research the art of storytelling, the power of comparisons and the role of mirror neurons.

2. Think of an Awesome Title

This one is obviously more applicable to articles, blog posts or infographics than it is to, say, a music video, but it’s definitely essential. A good title will do two things: it will give the reader a good idea of what to expect from the article (i.e. serve as a sort of very brief overview), and it will also leave a degree of mystery that will entice the reader to click through and read it.

Film director J.J. Abrams, who most recently helped to reboot the “Star Trek” franchise and is currently working to do the same with “Star Wars” (don’t let us down, J.J.!), is world famous for his “mystery box” approach. He tells his audience just enough to pique their interest – sometimes to the point of frustration – in order to entice them to fill theater seats when his latest film is finally released. That’s what a good title will do.

3. Associate Your Brand With a Particular Emotion

It’s the rare company that can inspire brand loyalty without eliciting a strong emotional response in the people that use their products. This is the reason why, for all its ubiquity, you really don’t see Windows enthusiasts the way you see Mac enthusiasts.

Apple has been exceptionally successful in attaching its brand to emotions like excitement, pride and mystery. The world waits with bated breath in the weeks approaching the launch of a new Apple product, and enthusiastically throws down their money even if it means paying a premium over comparable products. Meanwhile, most Microsoft users see Windows as little more than inevitable, rather than something worth getting animated about.

Analyze your competitors and what emotions they try to evoke. Think about your target audience, better yet do a focus group, and find out what emotions link your product or service to their lives.

Parting Thoughts

Viral marketing has brought us into an era where advertising has more freedom than ever before to be nuanced, subtle and even ambiguous. We no longer need to be shouted at about the latest deals; instead, we can be guided by the hand through the spectrum of human emotions and deposited on the other side having had an experience, rather than having simply tolerated yet another video, article, post, advertisement or whatever else it might happen to be.

Emotional investment is the ghost in the machine of content marketing; understanding that fact, and then acting on that understanding, is the difference between going viral and going nowhere.

Tags: , , , , ,


Costello Builders: Resources For Designing A Custom Home

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Mar 5, 2014 in Home & Garden

Unsure where to start getting ideas for your custom home? Custom home builders Costello Builders have provided some helpful tips for home owners. If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out my husband’s new blog: Homey Improvements

Take a look at these wonderful homes that they have built over the past few years:

Here are some great magazine, trade association and online resources from Costello Builders to get you started!

Home Design and Architecture Magazines

1. Custom Home

Custom Home deals exclusively with the custom home building and buying process. It is an award-winning magazine for home builders and buyers alike. It has great information and ways to incorporate all of the latest trends into your new home.

Custom Home allows you to filter information by the size, location or type of home you’re looking to build, as well as by room. It also features case studies of award-winning custom home projects to get you inspired.

You can view Custom Home online here.

2. Home & Design

Home & Design Magazine is a great resource for consumers who want to incorporate exquisite design and architecture elements into their homes.

Home & Design has a lot of great insight into the home building process. It displays award winning homes and themed-room inspirations, from natural to lofty, and modern to contemporary. It also features information about a variety of building materials at your disposal for your flooring, paint, roofing, siding, surface materials, tile and windows, making it a great research tool if you’re just getting started.

You can view Home & Design online here.

3. Dwell

Dwell Magazine stands that a modern house is a comfortable one. Dwell believes it’s possible to live in a home with bold architecture, exceptional furniture and great design work, while still being a human being. They don’t believe in the “insanely perfect” homes you see in most home design magazines.

Dwell offers insight into everything about creating a modern new home, including lighting, furniture, building materials, appliances, and technology. It also features room by room suggestions for your kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, dining room, office, and outdoor space.

You can view Dwell online here.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

The National Association of Home Builders is a trade association that promotes housing as a national priority. It analyzes housing policy issues, works toward improving the housing financial system and researches and forecasts economic and consumer trends.

The NAHB website offers information for consumers about building, buying and owning a home, types of home construction and housing data.

You can go to the NAHB website here.

Helpful Online Articles

1. How to Buy in New Construction, by Judith A. Stock and Karin Beuerlein, FrontDoor.com

This article is a great resource for guiding you through the process of buying a newly-constructed home. It features information on weighing pros and cons, researching neighborhoods, looking into amenities and upgrades, getting an inspection and home warranty, and how to ultimately close the deal.

You can view the article here.

2. Custom Home Design: Tips for Designing Your Dream Home, HousePlans.co

This article provides six tips to help create the perfect custom house plan. By starting simple, considering the future, maximizing your space, prioritizing features, considering functionality and reflecting on light, you can help us create the perfect house plan for your family.

You can view the article here.

3. Building a Custom Home: How to Make the Decisions, TechandScience.com

This article identifies many of the decisions you will have to make regarding your outside finishes, paint/wallpaper colors, light fixtures, flooring materials, and hardware. It also explores your general material and color options for every room of your new home.

You can view the article here.


7 Online Marketing Strategies for Business-to-Business Sites

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Mar 4, 2014 in Business

——————————————-Guest Post——————————————-

According to a recent B2B industry survey, 67.2% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers plan to increase their online marketing spending for this year. The joint study conducted by BtoBonline.com and TopRankBlog.com also showed that content marketing is a preferred strategy for a lot of B2B marketers, while social media, the preferred distribution channel.

Manufacturers and suppliers should definitely hype up their online marketing efforts if they don’t want to be left behind. This year, here are some strategies B2B marketers can apply to drive up conversion rates and sales:

1.      Customised Email Marketing

Traditionally, B2B companies connect with other businesses through trade shows and cold calls. But as more individuals and businesses have become more exposed to the worldwide web, email marketing has proved to be the most successful way to reach target buyers.

Take your email analytics data and use it to customise your email marketing. You are more likely to win conversions if your prospects feel that you are capable of providing personalised services and addressing their unique business needs.

2.      More Focused Content Marketing

Content marketing will definitely continue to dominate the B2B online marketing space, with a growing awareness among companies regarding the important of sustained and measurable content marketing programs. As part of a strategic content marketing campaign, there will be a greater demand not just for content, but for better overall quality. Social Media Today provides 10 tips on how to improve your content marketing strategy.

3.      Think Mobile

Mobile usage is rapidly increasing and more users are getting in the habit of researching products, comparing prices, and shopping online using tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices. It’s convenient and it’s fast; so why should it be any different for B2Bs, companies that target business owners? Everything you plan should definitely take mobile users into consideration. If you haven’t yet thought of making your website and your content mobile device-friendly, then now is definitely the time to consider.

4.      Enhancement of Social Media Presence

It’s been recommended to have B2B marketing teams start engaging with other users in social media. While this may not directly lead to sales, social media presence effectively builds your business credibility and authority. Also, social signals have been predicted to have heavier influence on search engine optimisation this year, so it’s definitely important

5.      Upgrade Your Online Marketing Tools

Online marketers now have access to a wide range of online marketing tools designed to enhance and support your strategy. These tools include ones for automation, CRM management, social media management, collaboration, cloud-computing, and analytics. Take your pick and be a more efficient marketer.

6.      Cross-Channel Integration

You might be getting better conversions in some marketing channels than others. However, according to industry observers, it would be wiser to integrate multiple channels in your overall marketing strategy. Chief Marketer predicts that B2B marketers will be more willing to discover and test out new media, which would enable them to discover and segment new markets.

7.      Shoot and Share Videos

The B2B marketer who masters the art of making and sharing short videos is the one who catches the attention of buyers. Thanks to growing Internet penetration rates, it’s been made easier to post, share, and watch videos online. Don’t miss the opportunity to tap into a media-hungry audience. Create your own videos to spice up your B2B marketing campaign.

If you’ve yet to, it’s definitely time to take advantage of digital media in making your B2B company’s products and services known to a much larger market. Whether your company has been around for sometimes, or just starting off, the industry is growing to be more dependent on digital marketing and online media. Don’t miss out on the opportunity. Take advantage of more effective and cost-efficient advertising opportunities by remembering the aforementioned tips.

Author Bio:

Cristina Beltran is a writer, blogger and online marketing specialist at Compare Hero, Malaysia’s leading online comparison portal. Tina is also a freelance writer she worked as an information researcher before she pursued her writing career.

Tags: , ,


Top 10 Most Creative Races

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Feb 28, 2014 in Health & Fitness

Hi MarCom Land readers! I’m Jacky and I blog over at Keep Calm and Blog On. Alicia and I became blog friends a while back with our shared love of travel and fitness. We swapped posts about foam rollers and tips for staying healthy abroad and have decided to swap posts yet again.  Please feel free to stop by my blog anytime to say hello!


Last week I completed the BluePrint Cleanse which you can read about here. Since then, I’ve put into action a healthy eating and fitness plan to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle.  In order to stick to an exercise plan, I’ve decided to sign up and train for a 10K. In doing some research, I came across some amazing runs that take place across the USA. I give you, the top 10 most creative runs I could find…

1. Wine Country Half Marathon - Need I say more? Something tells me this isn’t great as far as hydration goes… but you go for a run through Napa Valley and water stations are replaced with wine stations. I’d run for that!

2. Ladies Night Out 5K - I originally saw this run when I was living in Boston. It’s so amazing, I can’t even. Basically a bunch of ladies hash it out for 3.1 miles and are greeted by a red carpet and scantily clad men at the finish line offering champagne and chocolate along with a variety of hors d’oeuvres. SIGN. ME. UP.

3. Hot Chocolate 15/5K - A great winter run idea!

4. Lov Run - It’s like a Facebook relationship status run, as your Bib number lists your status. Hope my future husband doesn’t mind my ten minute miles.

5. Diva Dash - A girly-girl run with tutus and feather boas. No mud and barbed wires here!

6. Toga Dash - Brings me right back to college…. run in a toga followed by a toga party.

7. Cupid’s Undie Run - This is hysterical! It takes place on Valentine’s Day weekend and you run in your undies to support the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

8. Krispy Kreme Challenge - Seems a bit counterproductive, but who am I to judge.

9. Wife Carrying Championship - I wish I were kidding. Leave it to the Finnish!

10. Zombie Race - I’m not really into the apocalypse craze, but I sure would run faster if I were being chased by zombies.

Have you ever competed in a race before?  Do you have any tips for 10k training?

Tags: , , ,


10 Best WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Feb 25, 2014 in Blogging, Technology

Hello! I am Ginny from A Modern Commonplace Book, and I am super excited that Alicia has asked me to write a little about my favorite WordPress Plugins!

My blog did not originate on WordPress – but after I transferred to WordPress, I soon realized that the available plugins made WordPress so incredibly customized. If you want more information about WordPress vs. Blogger, see this article. If you want to transfer to WordPress, I would totally recommend Lisette with High Note Designs.

So, I am going to mix a few practical plugins with some really fun ones! Just for the record, I am NOT including the most essential and boring: Jetpack (all-in-one wordpress integration) , Akismet (spam blocker), or Disqus (comment system). IMHO, these are just necessary – go get them!

You can see these plugins in action at A Modern Commonplace Book.


1. Add Signature (Reloaded)

This plugin makes end-of-post text super easy! I use it if I want every post to end with a signature, a few links to things I am promoting, sponsor spots, a fine-print disclaimer. I have even added Google Adsense code as a “signature”. Basically, the easiest way in the world to list links at the bottom of a post. Disclaimer: you need to know simple HTML. Here’s a super easy tutorial to use this plugin.


2. Alpine PhotoTile for Pinterest

This is my absolute favorite Pinterest plugin! It is GORGEOUS, SIMPLE, and makes every pin look like a work of art. It has TONS of display options (gallery, vertical, etc.), and can be used for boards, users, or individual pins. I am not currently using it on my blog, but it is great.


3. Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer

This plugin attaches your Amazon Affiliate information to every Amazon link in your blog. If you forget to use your special link, this plugin verifies all links are covered. NECESSARY if you are a Amazon Affilates. BTW, I LOVE Amazon – and share great Amazon deals on my blog!


4. Broken Link Checker

This plugin is vital. That’s it. It will find all your broken links – and allow you to fix them. Necessary if you have ever linked to anything on your blog. Just saying…


5. Open external links in a new window

Again, vital. To create as much traffic as you can, make sure all your external links are opened in new windows!


6. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

I might say that this is my favorite and most necessary plugin. It runs a check of your site, and tells you which plugins are slowing it down. I keep mine “deactivated” when I am not running it. It spits out a brilliant summary of its check. Because let’s be honest. These plugins slow our sites down!


7. Related Posts by Zemanta

I have tried tons of “related posts” plugins – and this one is the only one that is simple, easy, and does not clog up my blog! And, it takes NO time to set up. LOVE IT.

zemanta8. Shareaholic | share buttons, analytics, related content

Again, I have tried tons of “sharing button” plugins, and this one is the best! It’s cute, simple, and it has an Amazon Wish List button! (score!)


9. Tweet old post

This plugin tweets old posts at a regular interval – and gives me stress-free tweets with my content! I keep it to one or two tweets a day (10 hour increments) so not to clog Twitter down – but it is awesome! See them in action here.tweet-old-post

10. upPrev

See the awesome pop-out on my blog? That is because of this awesome plugin! Get it here!


Make sure you comment with all your favorites plugins! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Oh, and Alicia, THANK YOU for letting me hang out here today! It’s been the best!
If you want to read more by little ol’ me, come visit me here!

Tags: , ,


[Teaser] 10 Uses For Baking Soda Everyone Should Know

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Feb 24, 2014 in Health & Fitness, Home & Garden

Be sure to check out my guest post on A Modern Commonplace Book!

baking soda

Most of us have a box of baking soda in our pantry. In addition to making pancakes fluffy and pie crusts flaky, it has lots of other well-known uses, like de-stinking refrigerators and unclogging drains. However, this powerhouse kitchen staple boasts many other uses you may not be aware of. Here are ten things you can do with baking soda to improve your health, your home and your life.


3 Reasons Videos Make You a More Efficient Salesman

Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Feb 23, 2014 in Communication

———————————————-Guest Post———————————————-

There are a large number of marketing tools that sales professionals use to interact with clients on a regular basis. As the focus of the general public shifts towards emerging technologies and a new social approach to the Internet, there is no singular technique more effective than that of the video. Because the Internet connections people all over the world together through their computer screens, videos are a great way to not only interact with your customers but make them feel like you’re actually in the same room. Using videos properly will not only make you a more efficient salesman but a more successful one, as well.


You Can Be Thorough Without Being Present

One of the benefits of using sales videos on the Internet is that you can be very thorough without actually being present with a customer. If you’re trying to sell a product or service that the client has questions about, they can refer to an online video instead of scheduling a second appointment in person. If your product is one that requires demonstration to use, for example, you can create a video that shows the precise steps a customer would take to do just that. If the client has any questions, they can refer to the video.

Just because you upload your video to the Internet doesn’t mean the client can’t watch them whenever they’d like. Clients can visit sites like http://youtubedownload.altervista.org to download the videos to their hard drives. Once the audio and video information from the streaming video are saved to a hard drive, the client can watch it whenever they’d like even if no Internet connection is present. They will also have the benefit of being able to watch the video multiple times if there is one aspect they didn’t quite grasp.

Establish a Deeper Connection

Using sales videos also allows you to establish a deeper connection with regards to your company as a whole. With a sales video you have the ability to be just as warm and compassionate as you can be in person. You can actually be more affable because you won’t be answering any questions during the video and can continue through in an uninterrupted fashion. How you present yourself in the videos will go a long way towards establishing an excellent impression with regards to both yourself and your company as a whole.

Client Testimonials

One of the videos that you create should include testimonials from other clients who have used your product or service. New customers will be able to see the way existing customers interact with your product and how it will ultimately fit into their lives. They’ll be able to see real world examples of how they will use the product or service on a daily basis, which will help entice them to place an order in the future. They’ll also be able to see that people are actually happy with what you have to offer, which will help them make the decision to call for more information.

Make sure you remember to respect IP.

Bio: Dexter Bell loves refining his salesman skills. He often writes for business and marketing blogs.

Tags: ,

MarCom Land is proudly powered by WordPress and FreeUsenext