If You Can Survive This…

survive this graphic

“If you can survive this, you can survive anything.”

Those are the last words my father said to me as he dropped me off to go to wrestling camp in my senior year of high school. The coach encouraged all of us to participate in a week of intense character and muscle building with college coaches and athletes at Lehigh University.

It sounded great when the coach told us, and I begged my parents to let me go. As I stared at the bus idling in the parking lot, it felt like a huge mistake.

He nudged me out of the car, said the words, and drove off. I considered how fast I’d have to run to catch the car at the streetlight, but he was gone. I had no choice, except to survive my own poorly considered decision.

Every day of our lives and careers we are faced with decisions. Most are trivial, but sometimes we’re staring down some serious, career-altering challenges. Learning to survive is something genetically coded into our DNA, yet we often walk away from challenges that might make us better people.

There’s always going to be a challenge. Something just slightly beyond the you that you think you are and the you that you need to become in survival mode.
Continue reading

Snikt! Wolverine Infographic Claws Way to Successful Content Strategy

Wolverine Infographic Cropped

Wolverine Infographic Cropped. Click for full-size image.

If you haven’t yet seen it, there’s a terrific infographic featuring the popular Marvel Comics superhero Wolverine. Much of the world became familiar with the Wolverine character through his portrayal by Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movies.

But Wolverine was a fan favorite, ever since his introduction in Incredible Hulk #181 (1974). The character exploded in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to be an A-list character in the comics and on the silver screen.

I discovered an infographic on Gizmodo.com and was impressed with the way the designer managed to incorporate the right amount of design, text, and layout to this rather complex character.

This was no average fan. This was a pro designer at work and this infographic was quickly going viral. At the bottom of the infographic was a cleverly placed URL that drove you to a website where you can buy costumes.

Yep, you guessed it, there are even costumes of Wolverine. This was a fantastic example of visual content marketing in action. They knew who the audience was, what would draw them in, and how to get them to their target website.

Two of the architects behind this content marketing campaign were Kate Willeart and Mark Bietz. They sat down for a brief email interview to discuss their content strategy tactic from a marketing perspective.  (Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series. Check out Part 2.)

 

BUDDY: To get started, can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?

Kate Willaert

Kate Willaert

KATE: My name is Kate Willaert, and I’m a graphic designer for Fun.com (and its sister sites HalloweenCostumes.com and T-Shirts.com). My job includes web design, creating t-shirt designs, and designing marketing materials such as infographics.

MARK: I’m Mark Bietz, VP of Marketing for Fun.com and I lead the marketing strategy here.

 

Just for context, there’s this great infographic that painstakingly details the costumes of the Marvel superhero character Wolverine. At the bottom is a URL for HalloweenCostumes.com. Can you describe how this project came about?

KATE: The Wolverine piece is actually the third in a series of superhero costume infographics I’ve designed, which previously included Iron Man and Superman. The inspiration came from an infographic I saw comparing the cost of Batman and Iron Man’s estates — their suits, their houses, their cars, etc. You get to the bottom of this infographic and see that it’s by an insurance company. I thought that was really clever. Continue reading

Interview with PR News for My Next Content Strategy Presentation

Steve Goldstein of PR News.

Steve Goldstein of PR News.

Every once in a while, you gotta turn things upside down, right? Right. Let’s do it.

Next week, I’ll be speaking at the PR News Content Marketing Bookcamp. They posted a description of my panel and even ran a nice interview with me. I’m pretty excited to be meeting Ben Shields of ESPN, since we’ll be sharing a stage together for our panel. Good stuff.

But…I wanted to do something a little different. This time, I turn the tables and interview the convention organizer. In the hot seat is Steve Goldstein, who is the editorial director, events, for PR News. Let’s see what he has to say about the upcoming event…

 

BUDDY SCALERA: First off, hello. We’ve never actually met in person, but I am going to be speaking at one of your upcoming conferences. Can you tell me a little about the upcoming event?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: What we’re doing is gathering thought leaders in content marketing from brands and from PR agencies to show PR professionals how they can help their brands and clients amp up their content strategy and, not incidentally, create content that’s shareable. Continue reading

11 Things Worth Paying for Online

Here’s something awesome…the Internet is still (mostly) free. Despite the sometimes mammoth costs of launching and maintaining a website, social media campaign, or interactive tool, the cost has remained about the same. In same cases, it’s actually become less expensive.

As the end user, just about everything is free, even though we know darn well that it’s not free to create. There are technical people, writers, designers, marketers, and everyone else…all working together to create stuff online. Some of it is supported by advertising and some of it is paid for by the target user.

So why would you pay for anything online? Well, I guess there are just some things worth paying for. Here are 11 things I’m willing to pay for (and maybe already do) on the web.

It’s worth noting that almost all of these are freemium services. That basically means that you get the core service for free. If you really like it, you can pay for an upgrade. Freemium is the ultimate in “try before you buy” solutions for brands to market themselves and their services.

Top 11 Things I’m Willing to Pay for Online Continue reading

How to Break WordPress and Destroy Your Blog

WordPress Logo Cracked

I broke WordPress.

Everything was working fine. Let’s get that out there just to start. My blog was not broken, nor did it need any specific adjustments.

But still I said to myself, “today…we optimize!” And that was the beginning of the end…and how I broke WordPress.

I’ve been developing websites for a long time. I got into this business in 1995 and the web was a very different place. There were fewer tools for generating webpages and they were buggy and frustrating to use. Making content online required generating HTML code by hand, which meant you really had to learn it.

I don’t mind monkeying around in the code. Experimenting is good, but you can go too far.

And now, let me give you a tutorial on how you can do exactly what I did to mess up my blog.

You too can break your WordPress installation, cause yourself hours of aggravation, lose productivity, and learn a very, very important lesson.

Ready for some fun? Break out the Rolaids ’cause we’re going to break WordPress! Continue reading

Nook Upgraded & the 5 P’s of Marketing

Nook Color ereader

Nook Color ebook ereader now supports Android Apps

And just like that, the Nook matters again. Yes, in the war to win the hearts and eyeballs of readers continues to rage on, and Barnes & Nobles has just proved that it’s not out of the fight.

In 30 seconds or less, the Nook was upgraded from being a humble ebook reader with an attractive color screen, a market where Amazon dominates. A software patch pushed the Nook into the crowded space of tablets, where Apple dominates.

Soon the Nook will have full access to the Android Marketplace, which includes the kinds of games and apps that makes the iPad so popular.

Here are five reasons why this matters to you as it relates to the Five P’s of Marketing (loosely interpreted, of course):

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place (distribution)
  • Promotion
  • People

1.PRICE: Nook competes on price and features. Everyone from the media to the average buyer is enamored with tablets. The venerable iPad 2 is one of the most coveted gadgets on the marketplace, but with prices starting at $499, it’s not exactly within reach of all buyers. For a while, the Amazon Kindle was the device to beat, but it’s still a black and white technology in a color world. At $250, the Nook offers a sharp, full color display. It may not be as full featured or sensitive as the iPad, but it suddenly feels light years ahead of the Kindle, but with a very attractive price point. Continue reading

Flexible Future – Readius eReader

Readius-hand-smRight now, we’re in the early stages of ebook technology. The playing field is rather flat, as consumers haven’t truly made a decision about who will be the leader in the field. Mainly because the grass in the field still hasn’t matured enough for a real game.

A new ereader by Readius shows a lot of promise because — get this — it rolls up. Yeah, like a little newspaper. How cool is that?

Okay, in concept, it’s really cool. In practice, the first Readius is chunky and uninspiring. It’s sort of like early “portable” computers that weighed 20+ pounds. My first portable was like lugging around a cinder block

But this is new technology. And if you’re willing to squint a little and tilt your head to the side, the darn thing looks a little like the future of ereading. Because after all, isn’t an ebook supposed to be about breaking out of rigid standards and into a more flexible future?

Presented at Marketing Conference

As a marketer, you have to get out there sometimes and interact at events. I was fortunate to be invited to be a faculty speaker at ExL Pharma’s “The 3rd Pharmaceutical Search Engine Marketing Strategies Conference: Best Practices for Integrating SEM into a New Media Mix.” The conference was held in Princeton, NJ, which is a really inspiring location.

This was a smaller, more intimate conference, which was nice because you really got to engage with the speakers. In a larger room, you can sometimes get overlooked in the conversation. But here, we could really ask questions, get involved, and interact.

During my part of the conference, I discussed interactive content and how it affects search engine optimization and some of the latest SEO techniques. Of course, it was a pharma marketing discussion, so everything I presented was customized to the needs of the audience.

Here’s the actual description of what they had me present:

Demonstrating What Skills are Essential for Building a User-Friendly, Search-Friendly, and Persuasive Site

  • How To bring consumers to your site and convert them into customers
  • Significant changes/shifts in SEM for Pharma over the past 12 months: What is new right now?
  • Competitive SEM research: Search engine marketing does not occur in a vacuum of just your company. Learn what competitive data is out there and how to best leverage the information prior to launching your campaign or to optimize on an existing campaign

During my presentation, I really tried to engage the audience and invited them to participate. I used one of the core decks our agency uses to pitch new SEM business, but modified to to be more educational and less sales oriented. It was a good deal more colorful with larger pictures and fewer words.

There were several really impressive SEM/SEO presentations over those two days. And even though I do this full time, I found myself discovering new techniques and perspectives that helped me improve at my job. That alone was worth the price of admission.

Plus, it was really interesting to see how several micro-bloggers used Twitter to cover the convention for people who could not attend.

I need to offer special thanks to Jason Youner and Shawn O’Hagan for inviting me to participate at their event.

Here’s my  bio from the ExL Pharma event. Kind of cool to be called “faculty.” I like that. Makes me wish I had gotten an MBA or something so I could teach at the college level.

Flickr & Picasa Your New Photos

I’ve been posting more pictures these days to photo sharing sites. My two current favorites are Flickr and Picasa.

Picasa (owned by Google) offers some nice sharing features, including the ability to embed your photos inside your blog. It makes it easy to share a gallery…except on WordPress. (Unless I pay for a WordPress upgrade.)

At least I can embed a preview image that links to the Picasa gallery:

Random Photos by Buddy Scalera

Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is also a cool service, but it only allows you to insert a link to your gallery. That’s sort of old school, considering all of the cool things you can do with widgets and code.

Flickr has a really vibrant and engaging social network, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. I can join groups where I can share my photos and I can track photographers I like.  By comparison, Picasa’s social community is a little weak.

On the other hand, Picasa offers many cool features, including the ability to upload video and embed slideshows. For the same features, Flickr requires you to pay $24.95 to get the premium features, which include basics like the ability create multiple galleries.

If one of these sites offered the right package, I’d certainly be willing to pay. Of course, I want to pay according to my needs. So, I’d pay $12 a year for upgraded consumer services on Flickr. And if I wanted pro-level services, I’d be willing to pony up $24.95. With only two choices (free or $24.95), I’m sticking with free.

On the Picasa side, I’d like to see Google do a better job of integrating their other services. I already use many Google services, so I’d pay extra to have them synchronized. Again, give me some pricing thresholds, and I’ll choose the one that makes the most sense.

Flickr & Picasa Your New Photos

I’ve been posting more pictures these days to photo sharing sites. My two current favorites are Flickr and Picasa.

Picasa (owned by Google) offers some nice sharing features, including the ability to embed your photos inside your blog. It makes it easy to share a gallery…except on WordPress. (Unless I pay for a WordPress upgrade.)

At least I can embed a preview image that links to the Picasa gallery:

Random Photos by Buddy Scalera

Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is also a cool service, but it only allows you to insert a link to your gallery. That’s sort of old school, considering all of the cool things you can do with widgets and code.

Flickr has a really vibrant and engaging social network, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. I can join groups where I can share my photos and I can track photographers I like.  By comparison, Picasa’s social community is a little weak.

On the other hand, Picasa offers many cool features, including the ability to upload video and embed slideshows. For the same features, Flickr requires you to pay $24.95 to get the premium features, which include basics like the ability create multiple galleries.

If one of these sites offered the right package, I’d certainly be willing to pay. Of course, I want to pay according to my needs. So, I’d pay $12 a year for upgraded consumer services on Flickr. And if I wanted pro-level services, I’d be willing to pony up $24.95. With only two choices (free or $24.95), I’m sticking with free.

On the Picasa side, I’d like to see Google do a better job of integrating their other services. I already use many Google services, so I’d pay extra to have them synchronized. Again, give me some pricing thresholds, and I’ll choose the one that makes the most sense.