Thursday, April 29, 2010

That time of year...(sigh)

Yes, it's nearly May. My favourite month in the garden, on my bike and outside with my kids. Saying goodbye to students makes me blue but thankfully, everything else going on this time of year lifts me up (inaugural Jane's Walk on Saturday woohoo!).

This is the time of year I also think about changes for next year's batch of students ("batch" - I like that reference - like a batch of cookies). Each year in class I move further and further away from delivering traditional content (which they can easily access online) and toward giving students new ways to engage with material, deepen their critical thinking and learn about themselves. Some courses are easier to do this with than others.

The biggest learning happens outside the classroom when students take on independent projects. I am looking for new ways to facilitate this. I am looking to my readers.

I am open to your ideas....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And search marketing evolves...

I love it when information comes full circle. Excuse the geek moment but....

Here's where search marketing is moving:

1. Customized search results (think different search results on your office computer vs. home, laptop vs smartphone, all depending on past searches on said device);

2. Localized search results (mobile search is driving national companies need to invest in local search);

3. Real time search results (incorporating online CONVERSATIONS...thanks Twitter) and this means REAL REAL time, not week- or month-old Google keywords;

4. Social media-integrated search results. (It's all gotta happen within FaceBook).

As always, popularity is king. If people love your site, more people will find your site. No trickery there.

So what does this mean for businesses? Mine your staff, they are golden. Encourage your on-staff experts to publish. Valuable content = higher search rankings. Don't hoarde what you know. People will pay you for the extras. If my favourite artist shares all her work online, I can still opt to buy a piece to hang on my wall. Same for business. Same for ideas.

Mitch Joel says websites should now be publishing sites. Makes sense as far as search rankings go. Seth Godin says attention is the goal, and to get it, you need to give something up. So go ahead, share it. It feels sooo goooood!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Angels in our midst...

Wow. I love being surprised.
Today, a well-known teacher, (who shall not be named) surprised me. He maintains the image of The Grouch, which he carefully cultivates and guards like a well-earned prize. Today we talked about Africa, sparked by a fundraising poster outside my office. (One of my students, Steph, is organizing a fundraiser for Kenya at the restaurant where she works.)

Anyhoo....this grumpy gus proceeded to tell me about the charity he is involved with ( ) - not just peripherally, mind you, he is the president - and the medical services this charity provides to disabled children in Kenya. He travels there, handles media, liaises with physicians, and has mentored a young man there who is now an "on the ground" spokesperson ('mentored' is also putting it lightly). You should have seen his face change as he talked about his adventures in Kenya.

Go to YouTube, search Bethanykids, look for Daisy's story and share it with your kids.

Funny how quickly you can see someone in a completely new light.

p.s. While you're at it, donate a few bucks to the website. We all have more money than we need. Really.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Texting as the new Elvis...

One of my dearest friends sent me an email today titled, "Check this out - proof at last of the evils of social media!" and the "proof" was a link to an article released by Canadian Press with the headline, "Students failing because of Twitter, texting and no grammar teaching".

Ahhhh!...this is one of my peeves. Great example of poor journalism. Reporting on a study in which students fail a written test, and then making a direct (faulty) causation to texting in the headline. This is why people distrust the media. It's lazy thinking to assume texting causes this, when students are writing more now than we ever did as teens (we were on the phone for hours!). Texting is a construct, a new language.

Check this out:

And closer to home:

One of the most oft-quoted studies is out of the UK and claims:
"A 2006 study by two professors at Coventry University in Britain found that 11-year-olds who used the most textisms were actually better at spelling and writing. A command of texting seems to indicate a broader facility for language. And these students seem to switch easily between text messaging and standard English."

Another interesting study:

Sorry for the rant...but texting is such an easy (lazy) scapegoat for adults who maybe should be more concerned about students not reading and all the other things they are NOT doing while viewing screens. Ahhhh!

Ttyl, (LOL)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Social Media ROI

Lots of buzz about how measurable internet marketing is. Why then is the return still so low compared to traditional direct? I finally found the hard data this morning. Over 50% of MarCom budgets are spent on Direct. Mail STILL enjoys the best ROI. Email is dismal in comparison. The only channels with a lower ROI than email, are mobile and social media.

I suspect the reason is that most businesses trying new channels - because they are so cheap, quick and dirty - are doing a terrible job at it.

They are shouting rather than listening, hawking rather than offering. Companies using Twitter, Facebook and Email campaigns need to take a page from companies doing it right: Zappos, Amazon, IKEA, etc. You don't need their budgets; you need their smarts.

Coincidentally, I received Godin's new book via FedEx today; Linchpin may provide some of the answers.

If you have questions about your company's efforts, post them here. I'll be launching a marketing troubleshooter blog on this space over Reading Week in March. Stay tuned....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big Thinkers...

Those who know me know I am a big fan of Seth Godin. Much more than a marketing guru, Seth understands how the internet has changed the world for all of us, and most particularly how it has changed the way we work. He is thoughtful, creative and full of disarming insights.

His new books is available as a free download (.pdf ebook). In it he promises, "Here are more than 70 big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year." And I am doing my part by sharing it here. Now it's your turn. Check it out, then share the link on YOUR blog, or on Twitter, or Facebook, or just tell a friend. His goal is to get the free book into the hands of 5million people. I bet he will do it.

Free ebook:

Wondering if I should encourage all my students to download and discuss.....

If you don't like to read, listen to the CBC podcast:
Seth talking to Nora on Spark: (Click on "This Week's Show" unless, of course, it's not this week anymore, if you know what I mean in a 'time warp' sort of way...)

I'd love to hear what you think about his newest creation.

Here's to new year's contemplation....