Friday, March 21, 2014

Top 7 Content Marketing Tips, Lessons & How-To's

With a hot topic like content marketing, I tried an experiment and searched Google News for that keyword. So what did I find? Some interesting, relevant pieces of news and some not so. I took the liberty of aggregating some of those content marketing news items below:

  1. Sequoia pours $24 million into Percolate - Percolate is a social media workflow software startup that is powering content marketing for brands like Hyatt, Mastercard and Ford.
  2. Jim Joseph's series on Content Marketing Like Big Brands - Jim offer sage advice to the SMB market on how to create content that breaks through the clutter and noise.
  3. MarketingProfs helps you choose sides in the content marketing war over Quality vs Quantity - If you don't want to sacrifice quality to get content out the door each or you think frequency is better; this post should help you find your way.
  4. Don't be a Content Marketing One-Hit-Wonder from StatupSmart - Are you resting your laurels on that one piece of content? Have you hit a writing or creative rut? The team over at StartupSmart is here to un-logjam your content marketing pile up.
  5. Avoid Content Marketing Fatigue with B2C - Whether you're in a rut like above or you just can't stomach another piece of content, here are some tips from the generous folks over at B2C.
  6. 13 Content Marketing Lessons from Your Mother - Arienne Holland and SearchEngineLand take you through 13 things that your Mother most likely said and how those related to the wonderful world of content marketing.
  7. 8 Lessons from Improv for Content Marketeers (for my European readers) - Maybe you do Improv, Comedy or Acting as a hobby. Well here are some content marketing how-to's from the folks over at SearchEngineWatch.
Everyone does Top 10 lists, but some times; there just isn't enough quality content out there right? If you really need 3 more gold nuggets, here they are:

  1. Content is more than just articles, blog posts and infographics; inspiration can be found across many mediums and with the pace of digital these days, you have the opportunity to package it up however you'd like - just keep your audience in mind.
  2. Content Marketing should never be about Marketing - Build pieces of content that actually provide value to someone. Step 1 - Do the Work, Step 2 - Present is Clearly, and Step 3 - Ask people what they think. (Yes inspiration comes from your audience's feedback, POV, ideas, suggestions, etc. Disclaimer: I was previously the CMO for, so I put some value in what customers have to say.)
  3. GOOB(FI) - This is a classic startup acronym - "Get Out Of Building" mixed with "For Inspiration." Kind of Improv-like right? Get away from your desk, iPhones, TVs, Wiis - get outside and experience the world, because that's where all of the other humans are.
Have an awesome Friday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Why You May Not Want To Use Rel="NoFollow" In Your Magento Website

This seems to be a lukewarm topic since early 2002 in the SEO world and even into today's present digital landscape. People are on both sides of the fence about "why" or "why not" to use rel="nofollow" on your internal links. Here's my POV (point of view for those that despise acronyms.)

Why to use it...
  • There are certain pages you may not want crawled and indexed by search engines like Login, Cart, etc. (Alternative is also to use Robots.txt file and just omit those there - we do this at our agency Digital Operative as part of the initial Magento website setup.)
  • If you're a Pagerank junkie; it's been known to create "siloed" pages, which means that removing the link will not pass back any link juice to your root page that it typically internally links to. So you think you're helping when you're hurting yourself.
  • Avoid dilution of your own Link Juice - In areas like blog commenting, forums, etc. (You know the most common places SPAMMERS hit you.)
Why not to use it...
  • Rel="NoFollow" does not stop the search engines from crawling, it just stop your link juice from getting passed on. (Refer to the following post at SEOmoz on Building Faceted Navs That Don't Suck
  • Robots.txt - this is the right way to omit pages from the search engines
  • Canonical URLs - Thank you Google for giving us a way to let you know that the duplicated product pages in our Magento websites are just alternative versions of each other. Pick your URL Methodology and get Canonicalizing!
  • Rel="Next" & Rel="Previous" are here - These will allow you to tell the search engines that your Paged navigation is legit and again, not duplicate content. (Another free link from Google showing you the light about this - read more)
So after taking off 2 years from my last blog post, I hope you found this one useful, insightful or at least filling the time in between your last meeting and the one coming up with the CTO, who needs to know about all of this for your next Magento website project.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Got any Klout?

I seem to have some. At least that's what this web service seems to think based on some interesting factors like my "influence style." How do they determine this you might wonder?

(taken right from the source)

  • The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1-100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence.
  • The Klout Score is a factor of over 35 variables broken into three categories; True Reach, Amplification Score and Network Score.
  • True Reach is the size of your engaged audience and is based on the followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that your messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential your engaged audience is, also on a scale of 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.
So based on that, Klout says the following things about me as an "influencer."
  • Style - BJ Cook is a Celebrity. You can't get any more influential than this. People hang on your every word, and share your content like no other. You're probably famous in real life and your fans simply can't get enough.
  • Overall Online Influence - 22 (out of 100 that seems way low to be considered a Celebrity, right?)
  • True Reach - 788 ( Guessing I most likely will reach 788 people when I post something.)
  • Amplification - 17 (out of 100 seems low)
  • Network - 35 (overall influence of people I'm connected to. So I know lots of influential people, but I'm not as high as them.)
What I see in the trends is the following:
  • There is a lot of correlation to being "active." When I'm active my Klout score goes up.
  • As more people come on these networks, the noise increases. I used to have a Klout as high as 63 in February 2009 and as low as 22 in July 2010.
  • My true reach was 3,500 in June 2009 and has dropped a lot.
  • On average my tweets tend to get about a 10% RT or response rate. (Some tracking I do.)
I want to hear your thoughts on this Klout service.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sound Startup Advice

Whether we like it or not, as startup founders, business owners, CEO's, leaders; we sometimes get all caught up in the day-to-day tasks and forget about the basic business details that keep us afloat. After reading the following posts, I was reminded how important these things are on a daily basis. From managing your financials to customer service to ritualizing the workplace environment. These posts have some great little gold nuggets, enjoy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Power of Customer Service and Reviews

So today I went to my favorite acai bowl spot here in San Diego called The Big Squeeze. Like any local business the people are always nice, their product is consistent and you feel good about giving your money to a small business owner as opposed to some chain. Well today was a bit different because what went from waiting 15 minutes lead me to Yelp to write a very authentic, unhappy review. So how did I get there?

  • Waiting Time - 15 to 20 minutes is ridiculous for an acai bowl
  • Unaware Employees - I not only waited, but the girl who was supposed to be making my acai bowl, continued to look over at me as she made 4 items for people who weren't even there.
  • Incorrect Order - As she wrapped up my bowl, she forgot the blueberries that I now have to pay extra for.
  • Cost - It's almost $8 for a large bowl now and they still charge you $0.30 for credit card transactions.
  • Not Environmentally Friendly - They still use styrofoam bowls/cups on top of wasting 4-5 sheets of aluminum foil to try to wrap up my overflowing, soupy acai bowl
So would I have gone and made a positive review on Yelp if everything went fine? Most likely not and here's why. I've been going here for 6 years and I have expectations, not just because I'm a loyal customer, but because I'm a part of a generation that expects things done right and if not, for someone to at least be accountable and aware. So when I left I was empowered by this poor customer service experience and driven to log into my Yelp account. I read a few other posts which validated what I was feeling and decided to write up my own review, giving them 3 stars and explaining what went wrong.

Here are a couple tips for small business owners:
  • Customer Service is King right now
  • Be aware of the online review websites
  • Engage your customers online
  • Actively seek feedback to improve business operations
  • Monitor your online reputation
  • Think about the current economy and how you can ensure your loyal customers keep coming back

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Our Agency nominated as Agency of the Year

It's been awhile since I last posted, but for anyone who's been following me throughout my career, this is a great honor in the community of San Diego. Digital Operative was nominated as Agency of the Year in the influenceSD awards. It's based on teams that have been innovative in the space of social media over the past year. I'd love to show you some of the things we've done and if you think they're unique, please click on the link here to vote:  (We're #34 Doodles)

Gaki Attack - This was a minisite that integrates with Twitter that we packaged to introduce this JApanese TV network's video content on Hulu to the US market. The result was hundreds of attacks, 200,000 views and over 65 blog posts about the campaign plus a featured post on

Holiday Cardr - This was a Facebook App we built that connects to your Facebook account, extracts photos and creates a custom holiday card colage that you can then send to friends on Facebook and Twitter.

#DOStream - This hashtag has collected the tweets of our team for over 1.5 yrs now and we share it directly on our homepage of our agency's website.

Social Media Breakfast San Diego - This is a San Diego monthly series that we took over after its second event and grew from 90 to 290 members and are now on event #13. We've installed a solid structure that offers real case studies, news from around social media landscape, an active project where the group donates its time to a nonprofit and a feedback section for anyone who has challenges. Last month, we did a session on social media and hospitality featuring JPR, Hard Rock Hotel and Croce's Restaurant and Jazz Bar.

There's actually a lot more than that and a social mobile game on the rise. IF you ike what you see, love to get your vote:  (We're #34 Doodles)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Vote for Top 100 Online Marketers 2009

Recently I found out I was nominated (BJ Cook - @bj) to Invesp’s Top 100 Online Marketers of 2009. I feel honored to be on this list of people as some of them have helped shape my own thoughts and approached to marketing over the years. So like any good marketer, I’m starting my campaign trail here. Head over to the list and if I’ve contributed to your marketing insights over the year, please cast a vote for me. Hopefully all of my readers here have enjoyed my posts over the years. I'd also love to hear some feedback if you have 2 minutes.


Vote for us - Top Marketer of 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

SEO Tactic - Subdomains vs. Subfolders

We're working on a project right now that brought up this question, which is both a technical and a business decision. Over at Digital Operative we use a subdomain for our blog in order to keep our content closer to the root domain, but also earn the SEO benefits in linking and saturating the organic listings. I was doing a little light research and stumbled upon this post from Rand Fishkin over at SEOMoz and the thread is not only informative, but there are so many scenarios that I felt it was valuable to share to see if any of you were also having the same questions.

SEOMoz post on Subdomains vs. Subfolders

Enjoy and hopefully this helps some of you readers out there!

Monday, July 27, 2009

$417 a week can get you Digital Marketing Mastery

Recently, Boulder Digital Works was born at University of Colorado at Boulder. It's described as "a project-based and accredited learning initiative focused on developing today and tomorrow's digital leaders and entrepreneurs." Just like the firms it is hoping to feed up and coming students into; it has its own three letter acronym ... BDW. I explored their website a little bit and found some interesting information, some good and some that might raise some red flags.

  • Areas of Study: Interaction Design, Mobile, Gaming, Apps, Strategy, Social Media, Creative Thinking

  • Specialization in Web 2.0 - Will this even be relevant in a year's time? Hopefully they update to web 3.0 or whatever seems to be next.

  • Courses like Improvisation in Business - "All business is show business."

  • Workshops that take the "digital" approach to basic areas like brand development, campaigns, projects, media, etc.

  • Supported by some well known larger interactive/digital agencies

  • Good coverage of digital landscape - web, mobile, social, search, gaming

Boulder Digital Works is as much as you'll make in your first year within any digital agency if you start in a junior role. Hopefully that $20,000 investment has a decent ROI and doesn't take you as long to pay back.

What do you think of this type of digital program?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Customer Feedback Is Here To Stay

So as many of you know or should know, one of my previous roles was as CMO for and in that role I was able to watch a market start to form around customers. These select group of companies like Starbucks, Dell, Zappos, Comcast and a few others were paving a path for others on how to leverage customer feedback in the areas of customer service, conversational marketing and innovation. Now if you look at blogs like Customers Rock or Experience Matters; you'd think ... "Why isn't everyone adopting these best practices?" or "How can I capture customer feedback and improve my customer relationships?" I'd say the answer is as simple as installing some type of customer feedback widget (there are tons) and then responding to every single one, but you have other things to do like run your business, pay invoices, interview employees, attend events, etc. For the purpose of efficiency, I want to make a recommendation to take 15-20 minutes out of your day and explore what Uservoice is doing in this space. Their recent funding news in WSJ shows that they are on the right track and will be around for awhile.