26 February 2010

Friday Top 5

Untech10 was great - don't get me wrong - and SnowTech10 will be webcasting 6 more sessions. But the Tech10 cancellation was still a bummer. Top 5 Things I Missed:
  1. Vint Cerf's keynote. My geek crush is still unrequited.
  2. Clay Shirky's keynote. Am I destined NEVER to hear him?
  3. The Tweetups.
  4. Exhibit hall fun - and giveaways.
  5. Seeing my association peeps - I saw *some* of you at Untech10, but there were plenty who couldn't make it.
ASAE is thinking about trying to re-schedule for May, so keep an eye on the web/Twitter for updates.

25 February 2010

Boomers, the Fourth Turning, Pecha Kucha and Marketing

GREAT Pecha Kucha presentation on Strauss & Howe's work around the Fourth Turning and how that will affect marketing to the Boomers as they age.

Bonus? Guess which Star Wars characters exemplify GenX?

(If you guessed Han Solo and Chewbacca, give yourself a gold star!)

24 February 2010

What I'm Reading

23 February 2010

MUSE Revisited: SEO for Not Much $$$

Another post in my irregular but continuing series re-posting my articles from RSM McGladrey's MUSE enewsletter....

In the fall of 2007, I had the opportunity to talk to Layla Masri, president of Bean Creative, about search engine optimization (SEO).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex discipline. Entire companies specialize in ensuring that clients’ sites appear in the top five rankings across a host of search engines and portals when any of the terms the client has identified as key are entered. And some organizations pay thousands of dollars a month to take advantage of that highly specialized and focused expertise. But if that’s out of your organization’s price range, does that mean you’re forever consigned to page 25 of the Google listings for the industry you serve?

“Absolutely not,” stated Layla Masri, president of Bean Creative, an Alexandria-based web design and programming firm that focuses on the not-for-profit market.

“If an organization can’t invest the kind of money necessary for a full SEO engagement, they can still accomplish a lot just by investing some staff time.” Masri continued, “Five years ago, an association could be assured a good ranking in most of the search engines just by including the right title tags on their web pages. But companies like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN have gotten much more sophisticated about their rankings, so your organization needs to be more sophisticated in its approach as well.”

What are the top five inexpensive steps not-for-profits can take to improve their search engine rankings?
  1. Update your content frequently. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add a blog to your site. But, as Masri noted, “this requires a significant investment of staff time. The technology for creating a blog is easy. The hard part is making sure someone is adding well-written, relevant content on a regular and frequent basis.”
  2. Encourage people to link to you. Again, one of the quickest mechanisms to accomplish this is to create a blog that includes a blogroll (the sidebar list of links featured on many blogs), which makes it easy to exchange links. “Request link exchanges with like-minded organizations,” advised Masri.
  3. Become a recognized expert in your subject area. “One of the best ways to generate visibility for your website is to create something like a ‘top 10’ list or an authoritative article on a current topic that gets widely disseminated across the web,” noted Masri.
  4. Become active on relevant listservs and discussion forums. “This keeps your association top of mind in your market. And, as increasing numbers of these forums are archived on the web, it increases your chances of generating links and becoming a recognized expert on topics of interest to your constituents,” remarked Masri.
  5. Finally, make sure your web content is highly relevant to the focus of your organization and uses key words and phrases regularly. “Today’s more sophisticated search engines consider the quality of your content as well as its existence. If your organization’s key focus is women’s networking groups, make sure that wording and other similar phrases are used liberally throughout your site,” advised Masri.
What do all of these suggestions have in common?

They all represent great ways to get your members involved. Younger members sometimes shy away from the level of commitment required by committee or board service. However, they are precisely the members who are most comfortable with emerging technologies like blogs and social networking forums. While they might not be willing to volunteer for several years hard labor on your finance committee, they can be tapped to write occasional posts for your organization’s blog, to link to your association blog from their own personal or professional blogs, and to participate in discussion forums and listservs as a representative of your organization. And an involved member is a loyal member.

So let’s say you do have a budget, albeit small, to spend on improving your search engine position. What will give you the most bang for your buck?

"Google AdSense,” stated Masri immediately. “Google AdSense is an easy way for website publishers to create ads that will be displayed on other relevant sites. Because the ads are related to what users are looking for on the sites they surf, AdSense allows you to get the word out about your association while allowing the owners of the sites on which your ads are placed to earn some money and enhance the content of their own pages.” Because the site owners get paid when someone clicks on one of your ads on their site, you can set a cap as to how much you’re willing to spend, which makes it easy to stay within your budget, no matter what its size.

Masri offered some tips to get the best results from AdSense:
  • Make sure your ads are posted on text-rich pages (not “Sponsored Links” or “Advertisements’”)
  • Make sure your ads are placed “above the fold“
  • Match the colors of your ads with the color scheme of the site on which they’ll be posted
  • Make is easy for the site owners to blend your ads with their pages by using a transparent background and removing image borders
“The most important thing to remember is that all of these items take dedicated staff time, energy and focus. If you want to improve your site’s rank, you really do need to put in the leg work or pony up the cash for someone else to do it for you. There are no free rides!” concluded Masri.

22 February 2010

Ada Lovelace Day - Time to Take the Pledge

It's time to take the pledge for the annual Ada Lovelace Day celebration.

What's the deal?

To quote the site:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

Ada Lovelace was a 19th century mathematician who wrote the first computer program for a machine called the Analytical Engine invented by Charles Babbage.

It takes place on March 24th and provides an opportunity to blog about and share information about our science & tech heroines. It's just over a month away, so you have plenty of time to do some research and write about a pioneering woman.

19 February 2010

Friday Top 5

I'm TIRED of snow. Looking ahead with hope, my Top 5 Favorite Signs of Spring:
  1. Robins showing up in my yard, hunting unwary earthworms
  2. When the little green tops of my daffodils start poking up through the cold earth in my front yard
  3. The first day you're driving home and you notice that the trees have started taking on that faint chartreuse color that heralds leafing out
  4. Opening up some windows to air out the house, even if it kicks the heat back on
  5. Driving with the top down

18 February 2010

An Oldie (relatively speaking) but a Goodie

Thanks to my friend Deb for reminding me of the fun & informative "Did You Know?" video series:

17 February 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Are your haters frightened, clueless or uninformed? Seth Godin argues that it's REALLY important to find out.
  • Free is the new hot thing, but Andy Sernovitz argues that free can kill innovation.
  • Outlook (at least Outlook 2010 in beta) gets social.
  • Blogging for business purposes? Jay Baer has 11 great must-dos for the serious blogger (thanks to Mads for the link).
  • Guerrilla marketing tactics - we haz them.

15 February 2010

More UnTech10 Goodness

For those who want info or have info to share:

The presentation slides are being uploaded to SlideShare and tagged with Untech10.

Videos are being uploaded to YouTube also tagged with Untech10 (and stay tuned for a potential YouTube channel).

Got photos? You guessed it - upload to Flickr and tag with Untech10.

Peach New Media
will be posting Thursday's live webcast shortly.

12 February 2010

Friday Top 5

The Top 5 Things I learned at #Untech10:
  1. Still think social media's just for tweeting what you had for lunch or playing Mafia wars? Well, YOU don't, obviously, because you're reading this blog, but you might know some haters who still need proof. Boom. Proof. Two years ago, ASAE would've had to cancel Tech, and that would have been the end of the story. Now? In 36 hours, we had a bouncing baby two-day unconference ready to roll. Speaking of...
  2. The power of volunteers. Seriously, it's time to quit making your volunteers sit through endless meetings. Free them to DO something and mighty forces will come to your aid. Literally.
  3. My top tweetaway? Social media doesn't have rules - it has religions, and we need to provide different spaces for the devotees of different sects.
  4. My next-to-top tweetaway? Reggie from AOA's comment about creating a social culture in our organizations.
  5. Finally, nothing, not even snowtorious B.I.G., can keep the YAPstars from getting our dance on. NOTHING.

11 February 2010

#Tech10 is canceled - long live #UnTech10!

As probably everyone knows by now, ASAE canceled this year's Technology Conference due to the Snowpocalypse (and in a very classy move, is issuing full refunds to everyone. Thank God for conference insurance!)

However, the hardy souls of OmniPress, SocialFish, ThePort, NFi Studios, and Avectra have come to the rescue with an unconference, UnTech10, taking place today and tomorrow (Feb 11 and 12) at the Renaissance Hotel near the convention center here in DC. If you can get out and get to Metro (assuming it's running), come join us!

10 February 2010

What I'm Reading

The Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse/snowMG/Snowdiculous/I snowrredner edition:
  • Shelly Alcorn on the recent SCOTUS decision on campaign financing. Not sure why it matters? Let Shelly school you.
  • Web sites? We don't need no stinking web sites!
  • 5 Questions with Seth Godin on the release of his new book Linchpin.
  • Jeff Hurt on room block insanity.
  • I'm not a foursquare user, but I find the who douchebag fracas hilarious. Maggie McGary weighs in.
  • Deirdre Reid's put together a convenient list of the best and worst of conference schwag, so you can prepare your shopping list for your next show.
  • Dull website? Focus on the future rather than the past.
  • Fast Company helps you tame the email beast (and you'll need the help whenever you manage to get back to the office).
  • The latest release from the Pew Internet & the American Life project has some surprising findings about teens and social media.
  • Stop talking - start doing. Notes from a panel at SMWNYC.
  • Tweeting about the snowpocalypse is great fun for individuals, but if you want to tweet to build your brand, you better have a plan.
  • Just finished Aravind Adiga's Man Booker prize-winning and quite excellent The White Tiger. Orientalist fantasies about India? This book blows them out of the water and is a great read. Now re-reading Nine Lives, a fantastic book by Dan Baum about nine New Orleanians both before and after Hurricane Katrina. If the snow keeps up, I may re-read my way through all the TC Boyle novels on my bookshelf, which should keep me busy for at least a little while!

09 February 2010

"Chilling" Twitter Stream

Amazing real time stream of Lani Rosales's tweets from the ER while her spouse, Benn, was having a heart attack.

A few things occur to me:

1. You really, really can't hide bad service any more. The hospital comes off looking VERY bad, and now thousands of people know about it, not just the Rosaleses inner circle.

2. One of the main complaints about social media relationships is that they aren't "real." These relationships seem pretty damn real to me.

3. Make sure you read Amy Romano's comment.

(shout out to my colleague Mimi Saffer for the link)

08 February 2010

Career Spotlight: Association Management

Student? Young professional? Experienced professional who's new to the field of association management? Know someone in one or more of these categories?

Join me, ASAE chief staff executive John Graham, Don Dea of Fusion Productions, Velma Hart of AMVETS and current chair of the ASAE Board, and Bob Wolfe from the Solid Waste Management Association for a FREE webinar on Friday, February 26 and get all (well, OK, most) of your questions about careers in association management answered.

Busy on the 26th? Don't worry - the webinar will be recorded and archived to the ASAE site afterwards.

05 February 2010

Friday Top 5

You know it - it's the Top 5 Things that are GREAT about Being Snowed In!
  1. Getting to watch all those great movies Netflix sent me that have been sitting on top of my TV for a month.
  2. Being housebound tends to --> cooking/baking frenzy. YUM!
  3. Cats get some much needed cuddle time.
  4. Puttering. LOVE puttering.
  5. Roaring fires in the fireplace. Cozy (particularly when enjoyed with a hot toddy in one's hand)!

Image credit: me! That's my spouse on our deck during the original Snowpocalypse back in December.

04 February 2010

Always the Last to Know: Posterous

I haven't really played with Posterous yet, but John Haydon says it's the bomb-diggity for automatically re-posting content out the wazoo, which is good enough for me!

03 February 2010

What I'm Reading

You've got questions? Someone's got answers (and I'll try to point you to them) edition:
  • Need some content ideas? Ann Handley has some tips.
  • Social media efforts not working? Francisco Rosales holds up a mirror.
  • Thinking about launching a blog? Francisco (who's apparently on a roll this week) has some advice.
  • Blogging rules? Kelly Diels says "F it." (and no, that's not short for a bad word) -
  • What if no one cares? Joe Rominiecki explains why that will force you to be better.
  • What's going on at Social Media Week? Beats me (I'm not cool enough to be there), but SmartBrief can help keep my fellow un-coolios up to date.
  • Screwed up royally recently? Guy Kawasaki reminds us that there are right ways and wrong ways to rectify the situation.

02 February 2010

Always the Last to Know: Spredfast

Ready to get serious about monitoring your social media campaigns? Spredfast might be your answer. The subscription-based service aggregates tracking information from blogs, video and photo sites, and all the major social networks into an easy-to-read social media reach dashboard.

01 February 2010

Wind Power FINALLY Available in DC!

If you live in DC and pay much attention to environmental issues (which, if you do, I hope you do), you'll know that most of our electrical power comes from coal-fired plants (thanks so much Congress people from coal producing states for forcing us to use your dirty power source).

Well, after months of promises, it is FINALLY possible to switch to electricity from wind power through Clean Currents.

The power is slightly more expensive than PEPCO's regular rates (like less than 1 cent per kwh), but you'll be doing the planet and your lungs a big favor by making the switch.