Benefits of Hiring Freelancers

According to Wikipedia, a freelanceris somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term.” In the marketing world, contract workers and freelance writers are important to all businesses. After all, contractors often have wonderful ideas because they’re coming in to the industry fresh and open minded.

A person providing custom copywriting will obviously meet with the client, do a lot of research, and in the end, create a unique product.  

I touched upon this topic previously in a post dedicated to intellectual property. I’ve done some freelance writing in the past and am hoping to meet at least one or two new clients within the next few months that I can help.

Because truly, what could be better than getting paid for learning, writing, and meeting new people?

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The Importance of Supporting Your Library

I came across a blog today that covered a topic I’ve talked about before – marketing in libraries. There is a belief that libraries are no longer needed, and as a former Ohio library employee, I know that idea is far from the truth. In fact, libraries today are even more important than in the pre-Internet era. Libraries offer resources such as free computer use, reference materials, technology training, educational programs, and an abundance of opportunities to increase your general knowledge.

That’s why in today’s society, and today’s economy, it is so important to support your local library. If we all look back to our youth, we can be thankful for what libraries have taught us, whether your memories consist of story times, Summer Reading Clubs, a favorite book series you were introduced to, or simply, a way to find others who share the same interests.

The American Library Association (ALA) created this video featuring singer Lisa Loeb. Loeb shares her fondest library memories, illustrates how library resources helped her learn about music, and also mentions how she utilizes the library today.

Truly, marketing behind libraries is phenomenal. Libraries have constantly reinvented themselves and are often on an extremely tight budget.

The most educated individuals I have met are former co-workers of mine. After all, to be a librarian, you must possess a master’s degree, attend trainings, stay up-to-date on industry news and be tech savvy.

Besides having books and other materials at your fingertips, possessing the ability to interact with such educated individuals, librarians, is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

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How Social Networking Can Boost Your Site Traffic

In the early days of Facebook, circa 2004, profiles were solely available to college students. Seven years later, the site is open to anyone, no longer discriminating against age or educational background, and of course, is open to businesses. Some national businesses have taken social networking and let it serve as a pathway to successful customer service.

Whole Foods and Talbots are two national businesses that use Facebook and Twitter well. Whole Foods responds to tweets from angry customers and provides a solution to their problem, anything ranging from a banana that rotted too soon or a rude cashier.

Talbots helps customers on Facebook find products their local store doesn’t carry.

These are obviously great business practices, but how do small businesses gain exposure from Facebook and Twitter? Let’s say your business has 200 fans and serves a small portion of your community…how can this help you? Here are a few tips that are sure to boost your site’s traffic:

Promote online sales
Small businesses can boost their link popularity by tweeting a link or posting it on Facebook. If your business is having a promotion offering 20% off all e-commerce, simply add the link into your message and your 200 followers are bound to see it. If the promotion is worthy of a click, you’ll see a difference in conversion rates and online sales.

Link to a landing page
Maybe your business doesn’t offer e-commerce, but you still want to promote a portion of your site. You can entice your fans or followers by linking a landing page. Because landing pages are often associated with specific products or services, this is a perfect opportunity to highlight a special aspect of your business.

Be creative with your social networking efforts
If the words leading up to your link sound fun, the odds are, a reader will want to learn more about you and what you’re selling. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, your reader is sure to discover that with ho-hum words and a lack of excitement supporting the link.

Use a URL Shortener for Twitter
Although some social networking sites do not have a limit on the characters you may post, Twitter has a limit of 140 words. By using a URL shortener, such as ow.ly, bit.ly or tinyurl.com, you will have more room to sell the reasons why someone should visit your site. Each shortener has its own tracking system which will make it easy for you to see who’s clicking and how often.

Of course, there are always other ways to boost your site’s social media presence but like with all SEO commitments, don’t expect a boost in site traffic overnight. The more effort you put into social networking, the more business will start to come your way.

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Product Placement & Celebrity Apprentice

I’m not a reality TV junkie; however, I do like some reality competition shows, including Celebrity Apprentice. I knew product placement in Celebrity Apprentice was outstanding, but a recently published article admits that the show used 120 mentions of products in its April episodes! 120 mentions is much more than I ever would have imagined.

The chart below that describes what other shows use product placement in an extreme way:

product placement Nielsen

Not fimiliar with Celebrity Apprentice? The video below shows how a product is introduced to the celebrity team and a sample of what they expect out of the team’s presentation:

 
I must admit, their product placements have “sucked me in” in the past. I remember one episode in 2008 that introduced new Quizno’s sandwiches. Of course, I had to go and try these for myself, and according to a Quizno’s press release, this marketing technique brought a lot of new people into the restaurant chain.

Tomorrow is the Celebrity Apprentice finale and I’m quite excited to see how much exposure 7UP, the product featured in the challenge, receives throughout the program. Will I, along with many others, be subconsciously placing 7UP in grocery carts on upcoming shopping trips? We’ll have to wait and see…

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Email = passé?

I learned in this week’s IMC 619 lesson that 22% of Internet users claim they use social networking sites in lieu of email, indicating they’re turning to instant messaging and text messaging (my personal favorite). This is nearly a quarter of email users that are forgoing this type of communication for more instant gratification.

The chart below shows the the popularity of texting by age group and its growth from 2009 to 2010.

This 22% statistic seemed to be rather shocking at first, but the more I thought about it, I tend to use Facebook messages instead of email if I want to share something personal with a Facebook connection. I use email more for work and only communicate through my personal email with certain people, typically when I want to share a file.  I’m a 25-year-old young professional and if I’m finding myself not using email as frequently as I used to, I can only assume that high-schoolers and college students are using email even less than I.

In fact, some agree that social media will continue to grow and make email a thing of the past because teens don’t care about privacy – this generation doesn’t mind posting personal information on each other’s walls or Tweeting public messages back and forth. Email will still stick around for more professional uses because of its ease and ability to gain leads for business owners.

Finally, my IMC 619 course is wrapping up tomorrow and I am thrilled to say I learned a lot during the past nine weeks. I had never blogged previously and had a blast finding interesting topics to write about each week. Topics associated with emerging media are endless and always changing. This blog has enabled me to research topics that I am passionate about and learn how to be more creative. I hope to continue writing and posting after this course ends.

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Big City Marketing

I spent the past few days in New York City and had a ball. I stayed in a hotel a block from Times Square and did lots of touristy things. I kept having to remind myself I was really in NYC because I had wanted to visit for so long.

Every inch of Times Square was covered in advertising and it was wonderful to be there as I’m taking the class Emerging Media and the Market. NYC is truly the hub of trendy and up-and-coming developments but one thing I really did notice was the “old-school marketing” techniques – everything from flashy signs to pamphlets to canvassers. There seemed to be a lack of social media promotions in store fronts, on literature, and I didn’t visit one business that was promoting their presence on Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare.

This made me think – are New Yorkers too cool for social media? Could the city be so busy that the more traditional marketing approaches are what get through to locals as well as tourists like me? Or maybe, the businesses don’t see a need in having a social media presence because they’re already successful with their current approaches?

In fact, I had booked my hotel a few weeks before leaving, and this past weekend, a co-worker put on Facebook he was looking for a place to stay in NYC and someone recommended the hotel I had booked (I was someone who researched hotels for a week straight and second guessed my decision – seeing that recommendation made me smile). The hotel doesn’t have a Facebook page and their website is less than perfect, but obviously, word of mouth made me realize I made a good choice in my decision, and if I go back to NYC, that would be my first pick on a place to stay.

Obviously, NYC does well with its traditional marketing approaches as countless tourists flock there each year to see the flashy Times Square, visit the slice of heaven that is Central Park, eat some awesome pizza and of course, have an experience like no other.

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Music Marketing & Social Networking

My favorite band growing up (and still one of my favs now) was Evan and Jaron. They are twin brothers who are considered one-hit-wonders but I was a fan long before they were “Crazy For This Girl” in 2000. In fact, I started listening to them before the Internet was standard in everyone’s homes in 1997.

When my favorite band was dropped by their record label in the 2000s, they created a true social networking gem entitled “52 Sundays.” Each Sunday for one year, Evan and Jaron released a new song on MySpace (remember MySpace?). This event proved to be a great way for Evan and Jaron to share their passion, make their fans happy and gain a few new followers along the way during a transition period. Bloggers caught on and realized this was a unique approach to sharing music, and an approach successful before the social networking buzz caught on.

Half of the duo, Jaron, also has a YouTube presence thanks to a video stint with Debbie Gibson that has acquired over 120,000 hits in one year.

Today, Jaron (sans Evan) is back on the music charts, in part to the bands presence on MySpace when their career was struggling. Facebook has also been used for a number of years to successfully spread word of new songs and happenings.

Would Evan & Jaron (and now, Jaron and the Long Road to Love) have continued to share music successfully if social networking and its cost-effective benefits hadn’t allowed them to do so? That’s hard to tell, but I for one am happy the duo got creative and benefited from a combination of MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and of course – catchy tunes.

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