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Archive for October, 2009

Has Social Media Transformed Your Life?

October 31st, 2009 by Bob Bly

The subtitle of Erik Qualman’s new book “Socialnomics” states that “social media transforms the way we live and do business.”


I can’t think of a single way in which social media has transformed my life or my business.

Has it transformed yours?

Qualman says that social media is the new inbox.

For me, my e-mail inbox is the new inbox.

He also says that “Are you on Facebook?” has become the equivalent to “May I have your phone number?”

When I deal with clients, customers, vendors, and prospects, I ask for their phone number and e-mail address.

I don’t ask whether they are on Facebook.

How about you?

Source: Target Marketing, 11/09, p. 14.


Category: Online Marketing | 56 Comments »

Another Nail in the Newspaper Business’s Coffin

October 25th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Newspapers are dying not only because readership is dying off, but also because few journalism students have any incentive to work for them.

When I graduated college, writing for a newspaper was glamorous — a dream come true.

After all, Superman … Clark Kent … was a newspaper reporter!

Even though I didn’t have a journalism degree (I majored in chemical engineering), I sent letters and resumes to 300 newspapers.

I got only one interview — the Associated Press in Buffalo, NY — and they didn’t hire me.

Today, if you graduate with a B.S. in journalism, you have no incentive to write for a newspaper.

It isn’t glamorous — print media are moribund — and to add insult to injury, it pays poorly vs. the Internet.

According to an article in the Folio: Superbook 2009 (p. 9), the average salary of a journalism major going to work for a daily newspaper (where pay is much higher than weeklies) is $28,000.

Beginning TV journalists don’t fare much better, with an average salary of $29,300.

The highest paying job for journalism majors is online, where the average salary is $37,400 — 33% higher than newspapers pay.

Is there ANYONE reading this blog who writes for newspapers or wants to?

If so, given the decline of the medium and the lousy pay — why?


Category: Writing | 52 Comments »

Best Fonts for the Web?

October 21st, 2009 by Bob Bly

You always read the old rule ?use serif type which is easier to read than sans serif.?

That may be true in print but it?s not online.

Reason: the lower resolution of the screen vs. print renders serif imperfectly, making it less attractive and more difficult than sans serif to read.

With that in mind, here are the best fonts for online marketing:

>> For e-mail marketing messages, use either 12-point Arial or Verdana.

>> Do not use Times Roman for web pages ? it?s a serif type and difficult to read online.

>> Recommended typefaces for web sites include Helvetica, Arial, Verdana, and other popular san serif fonts.

>> If your web pages are too light to read on screen or when printed, use a boldface font like Helvetica Bold Condensed.

>> The most common error in web page design is using too small a type size. Use at least 12-point type. Even 16-point won?t look awkward, and larger is easier to read than smaller.

>> For web page headlines, use Arial Bold in 2 or more point sizes larger than the body copy.

Do you have other fonts you like better? Or disagree with any of the above?


Category: Online Marketing | 93 Comments »

The 10 Wisest Things I Ever Heard

October 19th, 2009 by Bob Bly

1–You play the hand you’re dealt.

2–Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

3–There is no “try.” There is only do or not do. (Yoda)

4–It’s not just what happens to you; it’s also how you handle it.

5–Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. (Scottish proverb)

6–Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

7–Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

8–Life is unfair.

9–Be second, not first; the pioneers are the ones who get arrows in their backs.

10–Live below your means.


Category: General | 49 Comments »

False Advertising on Diner Menu

October 18th, 2009 by Bob Bly

My wife and I met another couple at a diner for breakfast this morning.

I had eggs and Amy ordered the short stack of French toast.

When her order arrived, it was a single piece of French toast on a plate.

Merriam-Webster Online defines a stack as “a pile” or “a large quantity or number.”

By definition “one” of anything cannot be a pile or large quantity.

I know this seems like another one of my nitpiks.

But this is what happens when Americans do not learn to use the language properly.

In this situation, what would you do?

A–Send it back and ask for a regular stack.
B–Tell the diner owner of his error.
C–Laugh it off and eat the one piece of French toast.


Category: General | 49 Comments »

How to Measure Social Media Effectiveness

October 16th, 2009 by Bob Bly

An article in SIPA Hotline (10/16/09) suggests that a way to measure the effectiveness of social media is to track certain metrics before, during, and after the social media campaign.

The metrics to be measured can include:

>> Traffic to web site and blog.
>> Number of brand impressions per month.
>> Percentage of content clicked through.
>> Percantage increase in site-return visitors.
>> Percentage increase in followers or fans per month.

It also recommends monitoring what is said about your company on social networking sites using a new service called filtrbox ( and responding to negative comments to correct perception.

Make sense?


Category: Online Marketing | 54 Comments »

Small Business Says Social Networking Doesn’t Work

October 15th, 2009 by Bob Bly

According to a new Citibank survey, more than three out of four small business owners have not found social networking sites to be helpful in either generating new business leads or expanding their businesses during the last year.

An article in Marketing Charts, sent to me by online media expert Sarah Stambler, reports: “Despite widespread consumer use and increasing marketing efforts on social sites among larger organizations, managers in small businesses apparently are not jumping on the (social media) bandwagon.”

Since small businesses have much smaller marketing budgets than large organizations, and since social media is supposedly free, you would think small businesses would flock to social networking sites and embrace social media marketing.

The only reason why they might NOT do so is lack of ROI: even with its low cost, if social media doesn’t generate results, small businesses are not going to use it. They simply cannot afford to waste their time or money on marketing that does not generate positive ROI.

Large organizations can get excited about social media and write articles about its importance, because large corporations often spend millions on marketing programs, like branding campaigns, that generate no discernible ROI.

Make sense? Am I right, wrong, stupid, or crazy?


Category: Online Marketing | 61 Comments »

Don’t Drink Social Media Kool-Aid

October 9th, 2009 by Bob Bly

David Armano is a VP at Edelman Digital, and I never heard of him until today when I read his column in Advertising Age (9/21/09), p. 43.

But now, after reading his piece on “separating the social media snake oil from the vinegar,” I’m a fan.

His main message: Don’t think social media will save you, because it won’t.

“Anyone framing social media as the solution to the world’s problems is either drinking Kool-Aid or looking to make a buck,” writes Armano.

He acknowledges that social networking is causing a shift in the way we communicate. But, he warns, “don’t confuse shift with salvation.”


Category: General | 67 Comments »