Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to make your blog stand out

The increased accessibility of social networks has allowed for the average individual to make their voice heard throughout the entire world. With over 500 million active blogs worldwide, it is very difficult to make your blog stand out. The attraction is due to the level of creativity and freedom of expression that each blog holds- from vacation destinations to movie reviews and even wedding tips, there is a blog for virtually everything! In this blog I will be highlighting five tips to make your blog stand out amongst the crowd. 

#1- Choose a unique topic

Choosing an effective blog topic is easier said than done. The most important aspect is finding an area of interest that you actually enjoy. Try and narrow the focus of your topic to one or a few specific areas. Don’t always jump at selecting the latest and most popular trend. If you are knowledgeable and take pleasure in your topic, it will be well translated into your writing. After all, the last thing that you want is an over-saturated blog topic that will get lost in the crowd.

#2- The title is everything

Nothing is worse then trying to find a specific blog and being faced with titles that are completely unrelated and irrelevant to the topic. When choosing a title it is important to keep it short, bold and catchy. Ensure that the title clearly explains what the blog is about while also catching and holding the readers interest and attention.

#3- Create an attractive design

The appearance of your blog is very important as visitors will decided if they want to stay on the blog solely based on the appearance regardless of the content. It is important to be creative, take the time to create your own blog background rather than relying on a template. In addition, carefully divide your content into relative segments to better organize your content. Lastly, make sure that your blog includes a variety of different widgets including: social media sharing buttons, search bar, blog archive and contact information. 
#4- Be visual

A blog is much more than the words that you write and the information that you share; it encompasses a variety of different visual elements to appeal to the readers senses. The most effective blogs include a variety of pictures, videos, charts and graphics in order to capture and hold the readers interest. It is very important to try and incorporate an image or video into every blog post that you write. Not only will it make the blog look more appealing, but it will also help drive traffic through the use of outbound links.

#5- Update your content regularly

The key to having a successful blog is regularly updating the content with timely information that your readers can relate to. Updating your blogs content will not only ensure that the blog contains relative information, but it will also assist in increase the level of traffic to your site. Search engines such as Google, uses algorithms to systematically rank your blog amongst all of the possible search results. One of the main components in ranking websites is based upon the frequency of updated information within your blog. The best practice is to create a schedule with a list of topics that you will write about on a weekly basis; this will help you stay on track and remain focused.

The last step is to have FUN! The above information may seem difficult and tedious, but it will help ensure that your blog is successful.

Creating and managing a blog can feel very rewarding; simply watching the metrics grow is one of the most exciting aspects. Engage with your readers, capture their interest and remember to have fun!

Here is a short video that explains the concepts of a blog in plain English, check it out here: 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Humber Students Volunteer their time!

Humber College students Courtney Dicks, Catherine Laramore and Karla Olivares have graciously volunteered their time to help strengthen online communications for the Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail Club (DHBTC). This non-profit organization needed help in this area and Humber marketing students rose to the challenge.

The students have done an exceptional job creating a welcoming, stylish and informative online presence using a blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to communicate to the target market using social media. The blog showcases the beauty of the Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail, provides details on membership, events, trail information and a hiker’s guideline. Social media will be used to connect and engage with online users, in order to stimulate interest and capture attention. In addition, social media will act as an outlet for effectively communicating trail information and updates.

A screen shot of the DHBTC Blog 
The challenge was to build on the trail’s respected brand image and to increase its online presence with current members, new members, and its various trail users.  The students turned to skills obtained in their marketing communications and Internet marketing courses and worked to establish a solid social media presence for the DHBTC. “The greatest challenge was coordinating all the content into a unified platform that could be easily interpreted and shared,” explains Courtney Dicks .“The most enjoyable aspect is engaging people through social media.”

Christina Clements, Humber Internet Marketing professor states these types of volunteer activities give students an edge and some experience they can point to in a resume. “These students are very talented and motivated and I am thrilled at the work they are doing for the Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail. I have no doubt that their efforts will increase awareness for the DHBTC!" She goes on to express that International Marketing professor, John Dickason, made this opportunity available to students and is helping liaise with the non-profit organization.

This student work is an excellent example of the skills and caliber of the marketing students at Humber College. Please take a moment to check the links below that showcase the students’ work. I am sure they would be thrilled if you LIKED and FOLLOWED the Facebook and Twitter pages and SUBSCRIBED to the blog!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marketing students represent Humber College at Vanier case competition

On February 10th, Humber College marketing students had the opportunity to travel to Vanier College in Montreal, to compete in the 7th annual inter-collegial marketing BDC case competition. Vanier College welcomed 30 teams from various colleges and CGEPs across Canada as they competed in hopes of winning the prestigious marketing award. I am pleased to announce that the team from Humber College placed 4th out of 10 teams within their division! The team displayed an exceptional effort in both the competition and through representing Humber.

The overall results of the competition are as follows:
        1st Place- Mohawk College
·                2nd Place- College Lionel Groulx
·                3rd Place- Okanagan College

On the whole, the entire competition was a huge success. I would like to extend a very special thank you to all participants, coaches and supporters that played a role within the competition.

If you are a current or prospective student at Humber College and are interested in getting involved within the school, I suggest that you inquire about the Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition.

What is OCMC?
The Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition is an Ontario wide competition in which participants in teams of two are challenged through a series of case analysis covering various topics. In addition to the case analysis, there are two other categories: Sales presentation and a job interview.

The case competition is a timed challenge in which teams of two participants have thirty minutes to analyze a specific marketing case and prepare a PowerPoint presentation, which is formally presented in front of a panel of judges.  

Why Participate?
College is a time to learn- A time to challenge yourself. Participating within OCMC helps build, test and evaluate your skills within a proven setting. Although the competition is focused on Marketing, the developed skills stretch far beyond the basic business skills. In addition, you will develop presentation, public speaking, teamwork, time management and analytical thinking skills. College is a once in a lifetime event- Make the most out of your experience.

Interested? Apply today!
If you are interested in getting involved within the Ontario College Marketing Competition or would just like to find out more information, please visit the Humber OCMC blog http://humberocmc.blogspot.com/ and pick up a form in the Humber Business School in room E205 to apply and register.  

Check out this video for a sneak peak into OCMC http://youtu.be/wAc3bDVR0ho

 Thank you!

- Tim 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Facebook files for an IPO- Was it the right move?

Last week, Facebook filed for an initial public offering. The social giant is seeking to raise $5 billion in initial funding from investors. If successful, the IPO will value Facebook between $75 and $100 billion. The filed IPO is among the largest in technology history. This event will create yet another milestone for Facebook.

With well over 800 million users, Facebook is clearly the leader within the world of Social Media. As stated by Mark Zuckerberg, he “Founded Facebook on the idea that people want to share and connect with other people in their lives…” Although Facebook was only created in 2004, it has evolved; not only in the sheer number of users and advancements in website design, but also in revenues.

At the start, Facebook was grossing just over $52 million; however only 6 years later their revenues have increased to over $4 billion. Although Facebook’s revenues have steadily grown, the issue of having only one revenue stream remains.

Many people are wondering why Facebook needs to raise extra money; after all, the projected revenues for 2012 are far beyond their $5 billion investment benchmark.

In my opinion, Facebook is seeking an investment for five main reasons:

1. An increase in capital will allow for greater product investment.
2. More products and better services will help create and grow revenue.
3. The capital injection will increase Facebook’s purchasing power.
4. Employees will have a vested interest - many will become shareholders.
5. The capital will allow Facebook to further expand their services.

So what’s next?

Although these reasons are solely based on my own knowledge, I truly believe that they are in line with Facebook’s goals. In fact, yesterday Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be further monetizing its mobile platform through advertising. With nearly half of all Facebook users utilizing the mobile platform, it makes sense that advertisers would want to tap into the market.

Although the entire IPO process seems simple, in reality it’s extremely complex and risky. Facebook’s greatest concern is repeating the IPO disappointment of Groupon and Zynga where valuations fell below IPO share prices.

It will be interesting to see where the IPO will take Facebook. Will the site remain the same, or will it be transformed into an advertising cluttered powerhouse? Only time can tell.

The Wall Street Journal points out some interesting considerations on the Facebook IPO - check it out! 


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday!

We are only four days away from the most publicized and media covered day of the entire year. That’s right, you guessed it... its almost Super Bowl Sunday! On February 5th the New England Patriots will be facing the New York Giants in front of nearly 70,000 screaming fans, not to forget the estimated 110 million fans that will be watching from the comforts of their living room. Many individuals may view the Super Bowl as time to create their esteemed 5-layer nacho dip; however as aspiring marketers there is a great opportunity to observe and monitor both the creativity of advertisements and the share of communication from Social Media.

Before I delve into the staggering statistics of the Super Bowl, I would like to take a second and introduce myself. I am currently a fourth semester Business Marketing student at the North Humber College campus. I have been given the opportunity to work on the social media elements for the Marketing program as part of my Internet Marketing course.

The main focus of this blog is to connect with prospective students, current students and alumni in order to offer a helpful hand while also sharing relevant program and course information. On Facebook and Twitter we will be sharing marketing news stories and updates from around the world as well as highlight job postings and industry events. Share your thoughts and opinions - after all Marketing is a conversation, so let’s start one!

Okay, now lets get back to the Super Bowl. Although hot wings are very tasty, they can be extremely messy as you try to Tweet out to all of your followers during the big game. Rather than eating our way into a food coma, lets take a look at some impressive statistics from the US:
  • The average cost of a 30- second TV advertisement in the US for Super Bowl 46 is roughly $3.5 Million.  
  • All 70- 30-second commercial spots were sold out nearly three months in advance.
  • Over $245,000,000 will be spent in advertising for only three hours.
The numbers are simply amazing. My only question relates to the effectiveness of an individual commercial. One of the biggest challenges for a marketer is fighting the sheer amount of advertising clutter. The average individual will be exposed to over 100 different brands throughout the course of the game. Each brand will be fighting to create a lasting impression while gaining the media spot light.

So the question remains: Is the $3.5 Million price tag worthy of the airtime? Yes, in fact statistics show that nearly 50% of viewers tune in almost solely for the commercials. In addition, the level of media coverage extends for weeks preceding the game. With people heading online to watch their favorite ads and to catch the ads that they missed it seems as if commercials and the Super Bowl has truly become a pop culture phenomenon.

In order to set your mood in the right direction and to create excitement, I would like to share a video from CBS which highlights the best and the worst US Super Bowl commercials from 2011.