Filter The NoiseBlog

We blog about design, technology, internet marketing and business on the web. As the name implies, we aim to "filter the noise" and share only the most relevant information. Feel free to chime in anytime with your thoughts and comments. Established 2004 in Colorado Springs, Colorado by HighTouch Web Design and Internet Marketing.

10 Things to Bring Back "That Lovin Feelin" to Blogging Again

Kim Kolb - Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Blogging... can be an unwanted task, although we have been conditioned to blog, it can seem a bit overwhelming and tiresome at times.  After all, in order to make an impact in the blogging world, you have to blog at least once a day if not more.

In my last post, I was concerned about restating what was already said.  Not have anything new or valuable to offer to the readers.  How does one get "That Lovin Feelin" back into their blog?

10 things to get that lovin feelin back:

  • Take a new approach to writing - tell a story, be a commentator
  • Be humorous, if you laugh most likely others will too
  • Tell the story like you are talking to a friend
  • Write about things that you would like to know
  • Get someone to post on your blog as a guest
  • Do an interview with someone who has no idea about the topic (kinda like Leno's "Jay Walking" segment)
  • Take a poll and write a blog on the results
  • Take the first 5 blogs you read and make snippets and comment about them on your blog.
  • Make your blog about others that are doing well or that you feel are up and coming.  Nothing like giving kudos to someone who isn't expecting it.
  • BE YOURSELF!  FIND YOUR VOICE! AMPLIFY IT!

This is my new approach this year.  I hope to entertain, educate and have fun blogging.  If I do, then I  am sure I will be blogging for a long while to come.

I would love to hear how you keep the "Lovin Feelin" in your blogs.

A6PBB3U7U3MC

Why Doesn't Blogging Come Natural To Us

Kim Kolb - Monday, February 01, 2010
How many of you reading this blog post actually write your own blog?  How many of you only comment on other blogs?  How many of you are really Awesome and both write your own blog and comment on other blogs?

Why do I ask all these questions?  Because I think for most people, blogging is not a natural thing.  Yes, we can compose an email and write a few paragraphs to our colleagues, but to sit and write about something that we then share with the world is quite an overwhelming experience.

When I started Blogging, I was committed to 3 times a week. Why?  Because that is what the experts told me. The avid Bloggers.  The guys who make money blogging.  I can do this I thought.  I started off well.  I blogged twice in one week.  I missed that third one.  The next week I did two.  Then after that, I just did one a week.  This went on for awhile and then I just stopped.

When I reflect back on my short blogging experience I wondered why I didn't blog more?  I definitely read tons of blogs.  I got to thinking about how someone could come up with the content for a blog.  How do you figure out every day what to write?  Sometimes bloggers do a couple of blogs a day.  How are they so inspired.  I was overwhelmed and didn't feel that I had anything to contribute.  My blogs consisted of content from other blogs that I felt I could do a better job at writing.  I figured the experts were already writing the good stuff.  Seriously, how many "10 ways" of anything can you have of one subject?

After about a month of no blogging, I decided to check our google analytics... Man, that was a depressing image.  Our stats went from about 200 + visits a day to 0.  Yep, that's right, a big goose egg.  

So what do you do when you have hit the bottom?  The only thing you can do and that is pick yourself up, brush off the cobwebs and start again.

I can successfully report that I have blogged for three days (Friday, Sunday, and Monday).  Hey it's a start. This time I have made it a priority.

How do I find content and the time for my blog?  I have decided that my thoughts may not be as profound as others, but that someone out there feels or felt like I did or do.  I think what I have to say can help someone either by inspiring them or making them feel like they are not alone.  Now the time part, I get up every morning and do the same thing.  Feed my cats, grab a cup of coffee and head to my computer for Emails, Facebook, and sign onto HootSuite.  I have added blogging to my morning ritual.  So far so good!

Although blogging hasn't felt real natural to me, what does feel natural is my writing style.  Everyone has one.  My style of writing is as if I am talking to my best friend.  I write like I speak.  Why is this important? Authenticity is one of the most important factors when blogging.  If you aren't sincere, the reader will pick up on that and probably won't be back.

I like to be funny in my writing.  Sometimes, and I shouldn't say this, but I make myself laugh!  I have found a few authors of some great books who write like they speak.  It makes for an engaging read.  Believe me, I have to really be engaged. My attention span is shorter than one of those curly shoestring laces.

I hope this has helped someone.  I would really like to know the answer to the very first questions.  Think of it as a poll.

How many of you write your own blog?  
How many of you only comment on other blogs?  
How many of you are really Awesome and both write your own blog and comment on other blogs?

Social Media Monitoring Tools

Kim Kolb - Sunday, January 31, 2010

In my effort to help those new at Social Media or who are still trying to get their footing, I am posting just some tips on a couple of tools that I think Rock!

Ever wonder what to use to track ALL the Social Media channels out there?  When I first started with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogging, I really was overwhelmed by having to log into each of them as I needed to post something.  It was very time consuming to log in to each system, copy & paste, each post. Sometimes you had to shorten or lengthen the post because there are different character limits for all the channels.

When Facebook came out with the ability to link to LinkedIn and Twitter by putting in a hashtag, I was way excited!  I used that for a short while and then I found HootSuite.  Hootsuite allows you to track Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your WordPress, in one location.  You can also add to the mix any clients you are also monitoring.  You could literally be tracking a 100+ Social Media channels.  There is even a little owl that will pop up if you have been inactive for awhile that says "Wake Up".

The next tool I like to use is Klout.  It is not a monitoring tool like HootSuite, but rather a tracking tool.  It gives you an idea of your Reach, Demand, Engagement, Velocity and Activity for Twitter.  I use this to guage how active I have been on Twitter.  You can tell when you have contributed because every 48 hours you can update your score.  Klout also shows what people you may be influenced by and who may be influenced by you.  Really cool when you see that others may be influenced by you.

Best part about these tools, they are FREE!

I am sure there are a ton of tools that people use.  It is all about feeling comfortable with them.  If you have an awesome tool that you would like to share, I would love to know about it.  I am always looking for ways to simplify things.

Blogging Really Affects Your Site Traffic

Kim Kolb - Friday, January 29, 2010
What I am about to share with you is a personal account of my blogging experience.  Since I am blogging about this, I have to think that there are others out there that feel the same way.  By blogging about this experience I hope to bring a little entertainment, but most of all, the importance blogging is to your search results and the traffic to your site.  I plan to blog about things I have learned over the last six months of my short Social Media life.

Let's get started.  I started with Social Media back in July 09.  I was so excited to attend the FREE IMU classes, offered by Hubspot, to help me learn all there is to know about Social Media, Inbound Marketing, Blogging, and SEO.  We had a variety of speakers, all Thought Leaders in their field.  Social Media had been around awhile but there were over 5000 students in that first IMU class, so I would say there were alot of people getting on board.

So, I started Tweeting, Blogging, posting to Facebook, and LinkedIn.  I quickly realized that I was 
overwhelmed.  How can these thought leaders be all over the place?  Don't they get tired of doing all this posting?  

One thing I did realize is that people were coming to the site, they were subscribing to my blog, following me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, it was some happy times.  I felt good.

Then...I stopped blogging.  I still Tweeted and Facebooked religiously.  My stats started to drop. Visitors to my site are almost none.  It was at that point.. Yesterday, Jan 28th, that I decided that along with my morning Twitter, Facebook, cup of coffee reading, I would add Blogging back to my mix.

What is the point of this story... Blogging is very CRUCIAL to your website traffic.  Above all else, BLOG. This is what puts fresh content on your site.  This is what gets people engaged with you.

If you dropped the ball on blogging like I have, pick it up and get rolling again.

Tell me about your experiences with Blogging, I would love to hear about your ups and downs.

Next up...How did I make my life easier with Social Media

A6PBB3U7U3MC

Which Blogging Software to use

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Hello to all my fellow Bloggers.

I come to you today as a community of well knowledge people who want to help. This is one reason I love blogging so much. I love the feedback that people are willing to give. 

So, here is my dilemma. I need a Rockin Blog Software Platform! I hope that by getting your feedback, I will also be able to better serve my clients by being able to provide a case study and a recommendation to them and yes; I will share this with the Blogosphere. 

Here is the scoop. I currently have a CMS that has integrated blogging software. Yeah, that’s the good news. The blogging software DOESN’T talk to any other types of tracking tools or analytics tools. The one tool that truly bums my groove is that I can’t get it to hook into Technorati and the software company doesn’t feel this is a huge issue right now, although the forum on this is huge (which means others out there confirm I am not crazy). I can’t even get it to connect to Google so I can set a goal on how many subscribers I get through my RSS like Avinash Kaushik talked about in the last Webinar with HubSpot's Inbound Marketing University. This is the Bad news. 

So, I come to you for suggestions on blogging software:

  • What is the blogging software you use and why do you like it? 
  • Does it hook into all the cool tools that HubSpot recommends to get found?
    • Technorati 
    • Google Goals 
    • I am sure there are more and please feel free to share 
  • Does it give you complete control over the design of your Blog and if not what kind of limitations does it have (Dave loves to design and have control)? 

Since I am fairly new to blogging, I would appreciate any advise you have. I subscribe to some really cool RSS feeds and I read all the important info, but most of you have been doing this longer and know the tips, tricks on getting found and that is what I want, to get found by more, I am convinced the blogging software has a huge impact on this. 

As a Web Design and Marketing Company, I am starting to think that websites are a dying breed, like outbound marketing. Blogs can accommodate just about anything we need to convey to the world and most times our Blog gets picked up by Google faster than our website. So HubSpot, HATS of to YOU! 

Thanks in advance to all who comment on this Blog! I also hope to make some new friends during this process.

NSA549VW9GZA


Top 10 Reasons Why Online Marketing Dominates Traditional Advertising

Kim Kolb - Monday, November 16, 2009

Online marketing has become the most successful method of advertising for any kind of business during the last decade. It is fast and promotes your business to thousands of potential customers daily. As marketing is a primary factor to a successful business, the internet facilitates this process in a way that will ensure the maximum exposure to what you are offering.

Traditional marketing, known as outbound marketing or interruptive marketing, requires much more time and effort. It often takes many people to be involved which means it takes more time, resources and money to produce. Outbound Marketing is also very hard to track for results. With the internet you can reach customers all over the globe in a matter of seconds. Online marketing is superior to traditional ways of marketing in almost every aspect. Here is a list of the top 10 reasons online marketing dominates traditional advertising.

1. SPEED

  • Email marketing campaigns are fast, targeted, cost-effective, highly efficient method of marketing your business.
  • Traditional mail marketing can take months and a lot of money and effort to generate results.

2. GEOGRAPHICAL RESTRICTIONS

  • The whole globe can be your customer base when you are marketing your business online, as the internet reaches almost every house on the planet.
  • Traditional Marketing restricts the amount of people you can reach.

3. MARKETING EFFECTS

  • Online marketing is based on pull marketing or Inbound Marketing, which means the customer found you while looking for a particular item.
  • While offline marketing is based on push marketing effects, which means you have to introduce your business to every single customer that comes into your location.

4. SALES PROCESS

  • When your business is marketing online, you can make a sale in a matter of seconds; whether it is an online store they are shopping or request more information through a contact form.
  • Offline advertising is very different in that someone has to sell the person the item, which means the person has to have the product knowledge and ability to sell to someone.

5. HOURS OF OPERATION

  • Your website is your business being open 24/7. Generating leads, and sales while you are asleep.
  • Offline stores are restricted to the human active times, this means you open in the morning and close in the evening and you can’t make a sale while you are closed. In other words, the offline selling process has a shorter sales life than the online one.

6. COST OF MEDIA

  • Online marketing allows you to make a short video or audio commercial and submit it thousands of media communities and is usually free or minimal charge.
  • To make a commercial on TV or radio or place an ad in the newspaper is a very costly engagement.

7. LIMITED ADVERTISING LIFE SPAN

  • When you post an ad online about your business or website, using an article for example, it can be online forever.
  • Traditional Ads can be active for an agreed-upon period of time and then it will be replaced.

8. COST PER CUSTOMER

  • These costs are reasonably low with online marketing but relatively high with offline forms of advertising. They are simply the costs incurred to generate potential customers for the business.

9. CUSTOMER SUPPORT

  • Online customer support can usually be solved via email.
  • Offline support requires a little more time and effort to be resolved.

10. ONGOING MARKETING INFORMATION

  • Data collection online is instant. You can track marketing efforts via google and other tracking tools.
  • Offline data collection is usually paper copies of items which usually take up storage space and requires manual computation for stats.

As you can see, online marketing is a far more cost effective method of marketing to traditional marketing. Online marketing is all about saving you money, time, and effort; yet brings you the required results you seek and most of the time exceeds your expectations.

Social Networking on the Rise

Kim Kolb - Saturday, November 14, 2009

Web 2.0 is the latest evolution of search engine technology. Today it’s no longer good enough to have a professional-looking webpage and a blog. Successful companies are posting viral videos on Youtube, creating Facebook Fan Pages, Myspace pages, getting followers on Twitter, Connecting with other colleagues on LinkedIn and applying cutting-edge technology to their core business principles. Now business owners big and small are looking to get these services to help them catch up with this ever-evolving phenomenon.

According to a 2009 Deloitte survey, 94% of business executives plan on ramping up their social networking participation over the next 12 months. Additionally, nearly 40% of businesses are hiring full-time professionals at an online marketing company to manage their social networking strategies.

Francois Gossieaux, a senior fellow with the Society of New Communications Research, says there are still “plenty of companies who do not realize the power of communities, and others who have not yet figured out the proper approach for leveraging communities as part of their business.” He adds, “Businesses are truly becoming social again, and companies should look to leverage the collective wisdom of their employees, customers and partners in order to innovate faster, reduce costs and bolster their bottom lines."



A Professional website design on a solid foundation is the first step towards your Online Success.  Your Online presence needs to engage your potential customers by Calls-to-Action and the Remarkable content you display.    

Whether you are one of the companies already on the Web 2.0 wave or just starting out, the rules of Marketing your company have changed.  If you are not capitalizing on the Social Media, Blogs, RSS tools that are available to you, you are missing out. 

Today the success of marketing your company does not rely on the size of your budget rather the time and willingness you have to put into your online marketing presence.  I think some companies would rather throw dollars at the marketing than to put time into it.  I think this is one of those times when we find out who the "Real Players" are.

Thoughts?

LinkedIn and Twitter are now Synching Up

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The new feature of LinkedIn and Twitter Synching, will roll out overnight. It allows you to cross-post to both networks. From the LinkedIn side, there is a Twitter Settings panel that allows you to link your accounts and choose whether your Twitter account appears on your profile. There is also now a special box that you can check to tell LinkedIn whether you want to tweet out specific status updates

The integration on the Twitter side is in your settings. You can link your LinkedIn account to your Twitter and then choose whether you want to share all of your tweets on LinkedIn OR just specific ones by using one of two hashtags: #li or #in.

This is exactly like the Selective Twitter Status Facebook app, which updates your Facebook with the #fb hashtag. The difference this time is that Twitter officially supports the #li and #in hashtags for auto-updating LinkedIn.

This is a great advantage for both companies. While LinkedIn has more users, it gets less traffic. Maybe this will get younger folks to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great platform for promoting yourself to other companies. Alot of times people use it as their resume.

Something that is cool about Facebook and LinkedIn Synching with Twitter is that you can go to one place and post to all three. This may be a benefit to those clients that are time constrained to do several postings.

What are your thoughts?

Making Your Corporate Blog Stand Out

Kim Kolb - Monday, October 26, 2009

When I tell a client they need to blog, a lot of times they think they should blog about their company.  “Look at us and how cool we are and all that we offer”.  I find it hard sometimes to tell them, the blog is “Not About You”, it is suppose to be about your industry.  Tell the world something unique about your product that isn’t telling them “buy what I am selling”.

So how can you tell your clients the basic steps in blogging.  Thanks to Michelle Bowles, she gave us 5 ways to make your corporate blog stand out.

Talk about something other than yourself.  The most successful corporate blogs leverage product and service information with relevant industry news, human interest pieces, case studies and other useful information. That balance is what keeps readers coming back time and again.

Keep your blog focused.  Whatever message you chose to deliver, stick with it. Unfortunately, some corporate blogs lack a clear message and include posts on topics all across the board. Because goals were never defined, these blogs have a difficult time gaining readership. 

Blogs gain strong, consistent followings by giving readers the information they want and expect to find. A reader might visit a shoe retailer’s blog expecting to find information on the latest shoes styles and celebrity fashion news. If the readers have to sift through information on travel, home décor, and health & fitness in order to find what they’re looking for, they may not return.

Honda's Blog Honda Talk focuses on production, technology of cars and all things that are pertinent to the car industry in general as well as their brand.

Give your blog distinct personality. Whether you choose to feature just one blogger or multiple bloggers, let the blogger’s voice come through in the posts. Without a distinct personality, your blog will be just like every other faceless corporate blog.  Let your readers see behind the corporate and marketing jargon, and instead discover the real people behind your organization.

Have some fun. Another effective method for letting a corporate blog stand out from the rest is to infuse some humor and excitement. Granted, this technique may not be appropriate for all corporate brands. But if you’re able to, consider creating a blog that can be light-hearted, relaxed and at-times funny. It’s just another way to humanize and personalize the brand for customers. 

Southwest Airlines Nuts about Southwest blog is a great example.  The employee’s blog about the company and the airline industry.  Since each employee is different, they get to infuse their personalities into the blog.  So Joe may have really funny informative posts and you start to follow them to watch for when Joe makes a post.  Builds a following.

Provide readers with something they can’t get elsewhere. Use a corporate blog to announce company breaking news or highlight original research in order to make the blog truly unique. Assuming the information is interesting and useful, readers will keep coming back for more. The simply can’t get it anywhere else. Plus, your customers can form a close connection with your brand because they feel as if they’re gaining an inside look or exclusive information.

How to start your Blog

Kim Kolb - Monday, October 12, 2009

So you are ready to start blogging?  You have decided to do a very important piece to your online marketing strategy.

There are a few steps to help you in your posts and how to go about.

  1. The first thing you need to determine is what is your motive for wanting to create a blog? 
  2. What is the purpose of your blog? Blogs can be used to generator leads.  Blogs can also be used to generate great content.
  3. Who is your audience? Usually the audience is similar to the writer, with like interests.
  4. What do you want your readers to feel when they read your blog? Do you want to write to inspire, motivate, or cause an action?
  5. What is your goal for your blog? If your blog is a lead generator, then you should have clear steps to guide the reader to subscribe subscribe to your blog updates and/or get your lead generating content.
  6. How much time do you have to devote to your blog each week? Blogging is a commitment.   If you can’t commit to writing a lot of valuable content, then you’re doing yourself and your readers a disservice. Be honest. The most effective and successful blogs are those with fresh, new content posted at least two to three times per week. Is that reasonable for you to manage? Will you have others from your company blogging? 
  7. What’s your blog’s core message? This relates to the topic of your blog and the niche you are focused on. What do you want your readers to learn? Why should anyone read your blog, and more importantly why should they subscribe to and follow your blog? This is another key piece to get in place before you start your blog. 
  8. Create an editorial calendar. It’s no secret that content rules on a blog, so it’s helpful to have a content plan going into the game. A key element of a good blog is having a list of 7-10 keyword-rich categories. Once you determine the categories (or subtopics) of your blog, you can plan your content calendar. If you plan on posting three times per week, then plot out post ideas for each of your categories. Make a list of 5 topics for each category. Then, fill in your calendar. Five topics times ten categories and you’ve got 50 blog posts in the pipeline.
  9. Do your homework. Critical to your blog’s success is knowing your competition. Who is already blogging in your niche? What are they writing about? If blogs in your niche are scarce, this may be a great opportunity to dominate the search engines with your own content. Finding great blogs will take a bit of time and research. Start at Technorati.com and search for blogs using your keywords. Next use Alltop.com and Blogs.com to find the best of the best.
  10. Build your blog. You are now ready to start the fun part.  There are several blogging platforms available.  Choose the best that will work for you.

Blogging is actually a really fun thing to do.  Once you have the content then putting it together is the easy part.  Then stay on top of your posts by following your editorial calendar.  Remember the worse thing you can do to your blog is to NOT post anything.  

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