How Fast Should You Spend Money on a Communications Campaign?

500 Words on Thursday | Written by Lee Schneider

So you have some money to spend on a communications campaign? Great! It may surprise you to know that the amount of money you have to spend is not as critical as how fast you spend it.

Here’s the thing. In documentary production we are able to make a nice chart of how money is spent. If you view it as a timeline,  you’ll notice something right away. At the start – when it is just you and an idea – things are pretty cheap, but as production continues – adding a crew, an editor, composer, and graphics –  things get more and more expensive. If you need to make changes at the beginning, it’s cheap. If you need to change something at the end, it is not cheap.

Now, when you look at communications and PR, most people turn that formula on its head. People seem to think like movie moguls who want their blockbuster movie to ‘open big,’ so they blow an enormous amount of money on the opening …

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Email Marketing Services: A Fresh Comparison

A Personal, Biased View of Email Marketing Services

What is the best email marketing service for your online newsletter? I’ve used Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber, Emma and Vertical Response. They all will send your email newsletter. Some with do it with style. Some will do it plainly. Some will get you more  bounces (undeliverable emails) than the other providers. Others will allow you to sort through your list and send to specific people (called ‘segmenting the list’) and others will allow you to send specialized emails to people at intervals you choose (called ‘autoresponders.’) Here’s a listing of all the features of each and my rankings.


My bias:  Emma is my favorite platform (MailChimp is my second-favorite.) Emma has a large number of tastefully designed templates, but it is also easy to create your own or import templates from elsewhere. At this writing, Emma’s engineers just released a drag-and-drop interface for all templates. This means that you can move text, images, links and so forth, anywhere you want. The design flexibility is great and to my taste, far …

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How to Manage Your Blog Without Going Crazy

Manage Your Blog and Social Feeds with Calendars

Managing all your blogs and social feeds is a balancing act. But you can make it easier. Create an editorial calendar for yourself.  You can start up a calendar on Google or if you use WordPress, there is a terrific plug-in that you can use to see and schedule all your upcoming posts. If you use Hootsuite, check out the Publisher view (it has a paper airplane icon) which allows you to see all pending posts in a calendar format.  All those solutions share some key features: They are visual so you can see what things look like over a month’s time, and they allow for drag-and-drop, which means you can switch the schedule of posts around just by moving them.

Know What You’re Going to Write

For two years I wrote a blog called 500 Words on Thursday. It was (guess what?) five hundred words, posted  each week on Thursday.  Each week I rarely knew what I was going to write before I wrote it. I let each blog …

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Make Your Online Social Connections – Maximize Your SEO

The Internet is Overwhelming

I get this comment a lot: ‘The internet is overwhelming. I don’t know where to start.’  I hear you. It will help you to know that you don’t have to communicate with everyone all at once to effectively practice Social SEO. Being effective starts with getting a sense sense of your best connections and then creating a system to manage them.

There is an art and science to finding your tribe online: You can build lists of people you like on Twitter, or join LinkedIn Groups. You can use Google’s blog search to find blogs and businesses that are similar to yours. Once you have a list you need a way to manage it. Luckily, there are tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Sprout Social and Buffer to help you manage the information, watch social accounts you need to keep an eye on, and schedule your media.

Social SEO is Engagement

A reminder here: Social SEO is about engagement.  You need to be present online throughout the day, however, and pretty much every day. That’s a commitment. A small part of that can …

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Five Steps to Social SEO – Step 3: Find Your Media

This is a multi-part series written by Lee Schneider about how to be found online using social SEO.  [If you missed step one of this series, it’s right here and step two is here.]

Everybody talks about engagement, but does anybody really know what it means? For me engagement has a lot to do with loyalty. If people like the content that you’re putting out, they come back for more. Either it’s interesting, funny, or funny and/or interesting.  (For an example of funny and/or interesting, see @pourmecoffee on Twitter.)

If You Were a Content Tree, What Kind Would You Be?

To make social SEO work for you, you have to practice it. A lot. Some recommend posting a blog a day, or at least several times per week. To create all that content, you’d better like doing it. So we have to ask, What do you naturally like to do? Some of us are writers. Others are talkers, and still others are visual people. Take some time to think about the content you really enjoy posting …

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Be Found Online: Recharge Your Website Using Social Connections

You have a brand new website or you’ve just refreshed your old one. It’s got great flow, with an action step on each page, calls to action sprinkled liberally throughout, and a clear mission statement where everybody can see it. Great!  Then why is it so quiet around here? You’ve checked your Google Analytics and the numbers are looking like a 10 year old’s shoe size.  What’s wrong?

Designing for Your Crowd

I’m a big fan of aesthetics. I like simple, clean designs. There are some really ugly sites out there – and, paradoxically, some of those eyesore sites have the most traffic. Why, with their sidebars, popups, banners and screaming color schemes, do they become popular?  Simple answer.

They have designed for their crowd.

The people who visit those sites are comfortable with a lot of … well, let’s call it noise. I know they’re not in my crowd, but when designing sites and advising clients, I always do this when on the road to building more traffic:  Consider how people really use the site, and question who …

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How to Optimize Your Website and Be Found Online

How to Optimize Your Site

You want your site to be indexed by Google, Bing and other bots. The reason is simple: when people search for the name of your business, your business comes up, and even more importantly, when people search for the market category you’re in (‘eco-friendly dry cleaners in Jackson Hole’) your business comes up at the top of results. Optimizing your sites for search engines is making them machine friendly. But that’s only part of the puzzle, because people are your customers and clients, not computers. (Unless you’re living in an advanced civilization somewhere, in which case I suggest you just get on your jet pack and fly away now.)

People find what they want online by using search engines, but they also go by recommendations. If they don’t have a friend to give them advice, they turn to online proxies, like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Google. Activity online like posts, conversation and comments will change rankings. People are calling this conversational approach Social SEO. Let’s start with the simple things you need to have going …

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Why Research Matters

Many of us construct an online presence complete with a website, a Twitter account, some Facebook action, something on LinkedIn, maybe some Instragram and Pinterest posts and then just sit back and wait for the money to roll in. How’s that working for you?

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How to Develop Your Social Narrative

Everybody needs a social narrative. For some people it’s their “elevator speech” – that quick verbal delivery of services that is supposed to happen between floors in an elevator. For others, their social narrative is a storyline that their business unfolds over time and over the web.

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