Archive | Video RSS feed for this section

Building Relationships: Franco Uomo

14 Aug

Building Relationships: Franco Uomo

Those that know me understand my love of fashion. I’m obsessed with shoes, jackets, vintage rock tees, premium denim and bespoke dress shirts. Many of you also know that I spend a fair amount of time at the eBay Mothership in San Jose. When you combine the aforementioned two, it’s not hard to understand how I came to be a loyal Franco Uomo customer at his shop on Santana Row.

Franco has a personality that is larger than life. He’s animated, generous and has a spectacular eye for detail. When you buy something from him, it’ll be fairly expensive, but you know you’ve purchased the very best.

Franco and his staff have been very good to me over the last couple of years, but a week ago they went above and beyond what I could ever expect from any business relationship.

I realize that most businesses will never be in a position to do something like this for their customers. Beyond the fact that it’s the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack, it just doesn’t scale. However, I think there is something here for the rest of us. How can we pick up signals from our customers and act on them in a way that shows how much we value them, not just for their business, but as people? I’ve been swishing that question around in my tiny brain for over a week and I don’t have an answer. I’d love to know what you come up with…

Franco has always told me that relationships are the most important thing to him. Relationships should be at the heart of every business strategy. Are they the centerpiece of yours?

SEO Best Practices: Content and Link Auditing

17 Jul

SEO Best Practices: Content and Link Auditing

As a content creator I understand firsthand how easy it can be to lose yourself in the afterglow of impactful blog posts or well-produced video segments. I’ve often said that content is king and that should be enough to distinguish yourself from the pack. The unfortunate reality is that we have to give more than a passing thought to SEO and how search engines perceive our website. Since Google released their Panda and Penguin updates, they’ve turned the online world on its ear.

Recently I produced a video for eBay Partner Network’s ePN TV about the importance of content and link auditing on your website and the types of things that marketers needs to pay attention to.

In terms of qualifications, you don’t get any better than my friend, Jordan Koene, at eBay. He understands SEO on a level that most of us can’t comprehend. The good news is that he’s a very generous soul that doesn’t mind sharing his vast wealth of knowledge.

I’m curious to know how Panda and Penguin have affected your website or blog over the last several months? Have you been able to avoid getting clobbered in search rankings? I’d love to hear what you’ve done to address these updates in the comments below.

Over-Sanitizing Your Content

16 May

Over-Sanitizing Your Content

Creating original content for your business is a great thing, but you’re not doing yourself any favors if you’re constantly scrubbing out all the dirt, bite and passion from your blog posts, tweets and videos. Sometimes getting a little grimy is good thing.

I speak with businesses every week that say they want to make their corporate communication channels compelling and engaging to their users, yet when it comes time to pull the trigger, they trim and cut out all the meat that made the content worth publishing in the first place.

Recently, Chris Brogan posted an article on his site about agencies discontinuing their blogs due to lack of engagement and readership. He believes, like I do, that if no one is reading your blog, it’s probably because it’s boring.

Businesses take risks every day. Some of them pay off and some don’t. Content creation is an investment – one that I believe is not only worthwhile, but essential to your business. If you’re going to spend the money and human capital to make a go of it, have the courage to push boundaries. Be bold. Speak your mind. Take a position on issues relevant to your industry. That’s what your users want to see and it’s what will help you build a passionate community around your offerings.

What do you think? Do you agree that we shouldn’t over-sanitize our corporate content, or is there more at play here? I’d love to get your comments below.

Converse Embraces Their Rock N’ Roll Status

23 Jan

Converse Embraces Their Rock N’ Roll Status

Converse All-Stars have long been the footwear of choice for rockers of all genres, ages and styles. From the Ramones to Joan Jett to Billie Joe Armstrong to Slash, Converse have dominated the rock n’ roll uniform for decades. In fact, in full disclosure, I own about 10 different pairs of “Chucks” in various styles and colors and wear them just about every day. To me, the word “iconic” doesn’t begin to do this brand justice.

Today, I saw that Converse is giving back to the music community that’s been so good to them by opening a recording studio in Brooklyn, NY that caters to up-and-coming talent. The best part for bands? If you’re selected you get recording time free of charge. You also get Converse’s considerable promotional muscle working to help you find a larger audience for your work.

As Converse’s CMO, Geoff Cottrill, says “we are absolutely in the business of selling footwear and apparel. This is an opportunity for us to say thank you to lots of people who are already wearing our footwear and apparel.”

Obviously, Converse is spending a significant amount of money to fund this studio in the hopes that the investment keeps them relevant in the hearts and minds of rockers throughout the world. Is it a good plan? I think so. Rock n’ roll has arguably kept this brand hip and timeless in a way that few others have been able to pull off. This project allows Converse to talk about the support they offer to the music community, while hopefully capitalizing on the goodwill and hype of the social media community.

What do you think? Is this a quick ploy by Converse or a real chance for struggling musicians to get their music heard in a way not possible before? I’d love to get your comments below.

Happy New Year

27 Dec

I’m sitting in bed at my Mom’s house in NH as I write this. It’s two days after Christmas and I’ve got a head cold / stomach bug. As I’m propped up, sniffling, catching up on email and surfing the web for the news of the day, I’m reminded of how much goes on in the world outside our tiny tech / social media / marketing bubble. When you look at all the events and occurrences that have unfolded this year throughout the world, it really puts day-to-day life in perspective. So, with that in mind, I wanted to take a moment and wish all of you a happy and safe new year.

The Growing Impact of Online Video

14 Dec

Several weeks back I was interviewed by my old friend, Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff, at BlogWorld Los Angeles about eBay’s increased adoption of video in their communications strategy. And while I can’t comment on the larger eBay philosophy, I can say that in my role at eBay Partner Network, we’ve worked really hard to make video content a priority in our comms plan for the last year and a half. While this video obviously speaks to my work with eBay, I think the fundamental principles discussed here are important for every company to think about.

Are you using video in your marketing strategy? Why not? Does the cost seems prohibitive? Do you think it’s too much work? If your business is using video, what made you take that leap? How has it changed your relationship with your customers? I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments below.

A Look Back at BlogWorld Los Angeles

10 Nov

A Look Back at BlogWorld Los Angeles

Last week I attended BlogWorld Los Angeles in my capacity as Evangelist / Community Manager / Blog  Lead at eBay Partner Network. BlogWorld is always one of my favorite events each year because of the swell of creativity and passion that overflows from each attendee. In addition to meeting lots of new people, it’s always great to connect with old friends and reminisce about the old days of podcasting and the infancy of blogging. This year showcased the continuing maturity of the social media and online content space. Brands continue to take notice and choose to be part of the conversations on a very social level.

I put together this video recap as part of the latest season of ePN TV. Take a look:

You can read more about my experience over at the eBay Partner Network Blog.

Reed Hastings is No Steve Jobs

10 Oct

Reed Hastings is No Steve Jobs

Only a few weeks after proudly announcing their new brand, Qwikster, Netflix, again, very publicly announced they had made a mistake. Apparently Reed Hastings has seen the foolishness of his decision and decided to go back to doing the thing they should have done all along – keep Netflix as a single entity:

“It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.”

Hallelujah. Praise Jesus. Can I get an Amen?

While I think it’s great that Netflix came to their collective senses, I feel like this may have put the final nail in Hastings’ coffin. How much more will the board take before they tire of these Romper Room-like CEO brand adventures?

With Steve Jobs still fresh on my mind, this got me thinking about how you’d never see this kind of public meltdown from Apple. Even their most colossal missteps were handled with more grace and sure-footedness than this Qwikster debacle. So while we all continue to wax poetic about Steve’s achievements and what they’ve meant to our everyday lives, let’s not forget the way that he so perfectly guided and led Apple to avoid catastrophes like this latest from Netflix. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not  fair to compare Hastings to Jobs or hold him to the same standards. Not even a little bit. Steve was a once-in-a-lifetime genius. Hastings is, well, probably not long for the Netflix world I would think. My guess is ouster comes before the holidays.

What do you think of all this Qwikster, no Qwikster stuff? I’d love to get your comments below.

Standing Up for Your True Value

9 Aug

Standing Up for Your True Value

I was reading a post over at Philip Bloom’s blog about assessing your value as a vendor and getting paid what you’re worth. Philip’s post was talking specifically about camera and film operator talent, but I think it’s relevant for any contractor or consultant.

We live in an economy where there are a lot of people looking for work. That means that as a mid-senior level professional I’m competing with younger talent, fresh out of school that will work for pennies on the dollar – if not for free. How can I compete with that? Let’s set aside the well-known adage that you get what you pay for – or as Philip says “Pay peanuts and you get monkeys.” Even if I pitch to a client that understands the difference in value that my level of expertise brings over someone greener, how do I get them to actually pay me what I’m worth?

The video below speaks to this argument better than anything I’ve ever seen by putting it in the context of real-world situations.

Earlier this year I wrote about how much knowledge and information we should be willing to give away to a client without receiving some sort of compensation in return. I think that this discussion is just another side of that coin. In the end, it boils down to standing up for what you’re worth and not feeding into a trend that threatens to further de-value the talents of so many creative people.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this. How do you set your prices? What tips and tricks do you have for getting fair market value for your services?

Celebrate Your Business

4 Aug

Celebrate Your Business

This week in Santa Barbara we’re celebrating “Fiesta.” Traditionally, it’s a celebration of our Spanish heritage – an excuse for those that live here to enjoy our town and the people that live in it while watching parades and tossing back drinks. This got me thinking about how businesses could (and should) be doing the same things within their walls (maybe sans drinks and parades). How do you celebrate the people that make your organization great?