December 8, 2014

The Goldilocks of Online Collaboration

Goldilocks and the 3 BearsTarget audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamI love my Gerris-branded Join.me but it’s limited in scope. It’s perfect for a virtual meeting, for a conference call, for a screenshare, and in support of a pitch, sales call, demo, or razzle-dazzle. It’s international, there are loads of global local numbers so that people can even call in locally, even if they’re at a cafe in Berlin, so it’s pretty handy and it gets global. But it’s not the right tool for webinars or virtual classrooms. There is GoToWebinar, of course, but the price point sells me a mega-yacht when all I really want is a very lovely and blue sea capable sailboat. Join.me is the boat I tow to the launch but I needed something that I could take on an around-the-world blue water cruise. I don’t need an ocean liner for that and GoToWebinar starts at oceanliner.

ClickWebinar has been the Goldilocks solution for me.  While GTW starts at a minumum of 100 attendees for $79/month billed annually ($99 for month-by-month), ClickWebinar starts you off with only 25 attendees for only $22.50/month billed annually ($30 for month-to-month). If I need more, I upgrade.

In addition, you can brand ClickWebinar white label, allowing me to make it my own. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have lived around the world and ran a DC-based business from Berlin, German, for a couple years. Like Join.me, ClickWebinar gets global. It’s been developed abroad and is known for its Simultaneous Chat Translation. Simultaneous Chat Translation allows attendees who are not native English-speakers to engage in the conversation via chat using their own language, automagically-detected, with the understanding that their Spanish, German (and 50 others as it uses Google Translate) will go from their native tongue (where they’re their smartest) to your native tongue (where you have the best comprehension).  The reason why it works is that there are a lot of people who may well comprehend English, for example, but might not feel a little shy about participating in English. It’s a very powerful equalizer, both for Q&A and for mutliligual training and support.

Of course, ClickWebinar also has all the other stuff: destop, browser, or presentaiton-sharing, audio & video conferencing, social media sharing, polling, moderated Q&A and chat, and meeting recording. Like Join.me and GoToWebinar, the littler and bigger, the too hard and too soft, the too small and too big, ClickWebinal also offers mobile support via tablet, Android, and iOS devices.

In a perfect world, I would be able to work from anywhere with absolutely anyone. Thank you, Internet. For me, it’s all about finding my Goldilocks solution, finding the solution that’s just the perfect fit for me.  Until now, I only knew about the dinghy and the yacht. It’s good to know that there are quite a few Enterprise-level solutions for the thing that we digital nomads find ourselves doing more and more: taking all of our meetings online, be it via a quick IM, Skype call, conference call, or full-fledged webinar.

For me, it’s all abou the perfect tool tool for the job. Not too big, not too little, but just right.

March 26, 2014

Why promoting a brand takes perseverance

persistence

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, SEO specialists, businesses.

Chris AbrahamIf you want to be heard above the din of the Internet, you need to speak clearly and with persistence. It’s not uncommon for someone at a loud bar not to hear you the first time, or even twice. If you assume someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better just because they don’t hear you the first or second time, then you’re doomed. The Internet is the busiest, loudest, most distracting place ever created. It’s global and impersonal and often anonymous. Plus, there’s no accountability.

At least in a bar, you can sit right next to the someone you want to meet and then just bide your time until there’s a lull in the noise or you can catch an eye. The Internet’s just not like that. Social media is loud and tends to be an insider’s club. We resonate with people we already know, be it in our in-boxes, our rivers of news, or our walls, we tend to tune out unknowns. And, in social media marketing, most of us are unknowns, most brands are unknown, and most services, too. Continue reading

October 14, 2013

Buttress your brand with content creation & community

community

To get discovered in search, be true to yourself, not to SEO tricks

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR professionals, businesses, brand strategists, educators, journalists, general public.

Chris AbrahamYou can’t control your brand perception. You can’t force your will or your perception of yourself onto Google no matter how big your advertising budget — sorry. And, now, you can’t do it through writing big checks to black hat link farms, either.

So, if you want to make sure you can shape perception of your business in search as much as possible, you’ll need to write about yourself and your company as thoroughly as humanly possible — and, part of that is doing the equivalent of a 360-degree feedback of your own brand, your own corporation. For those of you who don’t know, a 360 review represents feedback that comes from members of an employee’s immediate work circle. And, like the 360, you should ask people outside of just yourself and your board how they perceive you. Continue reading

May 6, 2013

Blogger outreach is more PR than social media

blogger-outreach-large

Discover and engage your allies with long-tail blogger outreach

Chris AbrahamThe current catch-all these days for what I do is ‘social media’. Unfortunately, when what you do is described as such, people tend to think FacebookTwitterPinterest, and maybe Google+. My expertise, however, is online community outreach and engagement. Back in 2006, I developed a strategy of blogger outreach that allowed me to reach out to more than just 25 top-tier bloggers by hand but to 2,500-5,000 bloggers.

I have always called this long-tail blogger outreach — though I would love your help with choosing a new name for it — because it focuses on the B-Z-list bloggers, the online influencers who are often overlooked by most social media teams at digital agencies.

While I agree that the top-25-50 bloggers do deserve deep, long-term, and personal engagement, spending that sort of time, over time, on “everyone else” would take all the time in the universe. So, what my team and I developed is the equivalent of blogger-brand speed dating. Continue reading

February 20, 2013

Marketers still need to learn some basic HTML

html

Image courtesy of Brian J. Bruemmer via Creative Commons

Improve your readers’ experience with some basic HTML knowledge

Chris AbrahamI have recently been blogging for the Huffington Post and they use Six Apart‘s Movable Type blogging platform. Movable Type was my second blogging platform after converting from Noah Grey’s Greymatter that I started using back in 2000. Even in 2013, the Huffington Post’s blogger interface doesn’t offer a Rich Text Editor so writing in familiar WYSIWYG isn’t possible there.

So what I do is compose over here on WordPress, on its Visual Editor, and then click the Text tab and copy and paste over to Movable Type. Then the work begins. I upload all of my media, photos, graphics, and whatnot to my server at ChrisAbraham.com and then align them correctly before I copy the raw HTML over — which should work perfectly, right? No! Continue reading