25% off registration for What’s Next DC Conference with our code!

What: What’s Next DC Conference
When: Monday, January 24 | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: The George Washington University, Marvin Center, Grand Ballroom, Washington, D.C.

Kick off 2011 with fresh thinking and new approaches to marketing and communication. What’s Next DC has cut the fat from your typical bloated business conference.

There are no sales commercials masquerading as presentations here, or sleepy Q & A sessions where only 1 of 8 questions apply to your business. What’s Next DC is about brainstorming, case studies, energy, networking, strategy and – best of all – personalized solutions to your company’s most important challenges.

How will we accomplish this? By jamming as much information into the day as possible. We’ll have floating experts in a variety of fields available, so if you hear something you like and want to bounce ideas around right there on the spot, you can! We’ve scheduled group brainstorming/strategy sessions and niche learning sessions where you can discuss your areas of interest and expertise. There will also be an area dedicated solely to networking all day long.

This is not just a conference, it is an experience. Come prepared and energized to learn and share with other Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising, and Communication Professionals!

** use coupon code: 451marketing to get 25% off registration **

How to Write a Press Release Wearing an SEO Hat

When writing a press release traditional PR practitioners wear a number of hats- content creator, creative director, editor and in the last few years- SEO expert. Press releases provide an opportunity to contribute to your brand’s search visibility and yet many releases are issued without being optimized for SEO.

Defining your company’s or client’s keywords, and a keyword strategy should be done in advance of release writing and involve key members of your PR, marketing, and web marketing or SEO team. You should have three to five very relevant, high search volume keyword terms that are core to how you define your company in the market. You’ll use these terms in strategic places throughout each press release. Don’t have a team to collaborate with you? You can use Google’s keyword tool while doing your keyword research to find variations of the keywords that are generating a high number of searches.

Marketwire includes a nice tool in its distribution process that will give you an SEO grade on your release, but the most effective way to apply SEO savvy to your release is to work it into the drafting process. Here are a few simple steps to creating an SEO-smart release:

  • Retain reference to company name and pre-defined, most important keyword(s) in headline of all press releases
  • Strategic value of keyword placement in body of release:
    1. Headline – First 70 characters most valuable; include one of your top keywords here
    2. Sub-headline – Include secondary keywords here
    3. First sentence; first paragraph – Include related keywords to re-enforce main keyword
    4. Peppered throughout release – Avoid anything that sounds “spammy;” use natural iterations of your keywords
  • Use about 3-5 hyperlinks in body of release
  • Attach URLs to descriptive anchor text – hyperlink keywords to URLs on your website that use that keyword and/or is focused on/optimized for that keyword
  • Include the complete URL for your company website in the boiler plate (http://…)

Don’t forget to use your three to five most important keywords other places too, including on social media channels! Twitter posts, blog posts and Facebook updates are all great places to apply your SEO strategy.

From College to the Real World…

A couple of weeks ago, Boston University PRSSA invited me to participate in a panel of recent College of Communication grads to talk about our experiences in the “real world” since graduating.

It was pretty bizarre to be sitting up at the front with my fellow COM grads when just a few months ago we were in those very same seats, unsure and apprehensive about our futures after graduation. We fielded a variety of great questions from students, from how big of a role social media played in our job searches, to how important it is to have a Smartphone in the public relations industry.

It seemed that the most pressing questions the students asked revolved around the job search and tips on how to stand out when applying for entry-level positions, which wasn’t surprising given the current job market.

What did you find most helpful in your job search? Or, if you’re an employer, what advice would you give aspiring public relations professionals on how to stand out in the application pool?

Top Social Media Strategists to Watch in 2011

We, at 451 Marketing, cannot believe it’s been a whole year since we published the list of the “Top Social Media Strategists to Watch in 2010.” Time flies and so much has changed in the last 12 months!

What hasn’t changed is that our industry is still attracting and cultivating some of the smartest, most talented, and ambitious individuals around. This list consists of the people who the 451 team feel are setting the bar high.

As with any list of this nature, it cannot be comprehensive. If you know any great social media strategists out there, we invite you to contribute their names with a brief description of their work for us to post.

We look forward to seeing what these people will do in 2011!

Stephanie Agresta (@stephagresta) has been instrumental in developing digital strategies for Microsoft, Windows Phone, PepsiCo, HP and P&G. In 2010, she was named to PR Week’s “40 Under 40.” Her first book, Perspectives on Social Media Marketing, was released in October 2010. Additionally, she is a frequent speaker at industry events and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Social Media Advertising Consortium (SMAC).

David Armano (@armano) is SVP at Edelman Digital. He has 14 years of experience in the industry with the majority of his time spent in digital marketing and user experience design. Armano currently writes for the Harvard Business Review, and for his blog, Logic + Emotion, which is ranked in the top media and marketing blogs according to Advertising Age. BusinessWeek also named him to its “Best of 2006” list.

John Battelle (@johnbattelle) is an entrepreneur, journalist, professor and author who has founded, or co-founded scores of online, conference, magazine, and other media businesses. In addition to his work at Federated Media, Battelle continues to serve as the Executive Producer and Program Chair of the Web 2.0 Summit, as well as brand manager for BoingBoing.net. Battelle maintains Searchblog, which covers the intersection of media, technology, and culture. He was named one of the “Most Important People on The Web” by PCWorld.

Connie Bensen (@cbensen) is a community strategist whose passion is community building, and the related facets of social networking and branding.  Forbes.com listed her blog (conniebensen.com) as one of the top 20 marketing and social media blogs by women in 2009. She is also a 2009 Fellow with the Society of New Communications Research and speaks at leading social media conferences.

Ron Callari (@roncallari) is a self-proclaimed social media scientist and editorial cartoonist who currently consults, and is a freelance correspondent in the social media space. Callari’s published works explore current trends on the digital horizon, social media, humor, politics and innovation. His mission is to provide brands with social media expertise to distinguish them from their competition, while turning customers into brand advocates. Novologies’, the company Callari works for,  social media service FLIP.TO has been successful in adding over 50 hotel BETA customers internationally in the last 8 months.

CC Chapman (@cc_chapman) is a dedicated freelancer who works directly with clients, or through agencies in both creative and strategic roles. In 2009, he launched Digital Dads, a site where dads can share their thoughts on a variety of topics. Additionally, Chapman launched a podcast series in 2004, titled “Managing the Gray,” which provides, in simple terms, new media strategies, and information on technology and social media. His highly anticipated book, Content Rules, is available for pre-order.

Adam Cohen (@adamcohen) is a partner at the digital agency, Rosetta. Cohen leads Rosetta’s social media practice. His blog, A Thousand Cuts, was started in February of 2008 to encourage conversations about social media and interactive marketing.

Bob Collins (@robertcollins) is a digital media and public relations strategist with over 16 years of experience in marketing, new media communications, and public relations. He is the organizer and host of Boston’s Social Media Breakfast.

Angela Connor (@communitygirl) is an online community strategist who currently works for Capstrat as a social media manager. Angela is the author of 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online.

Joe Cothrel (@Cothrel) is the Chief Community Officer at Lithium Technologies. He is Lithium’s top expert on community and social best practices. He has helped more than 300 companies execute social efforts.

Jeff Cutler (@JeffCutler) is a social media journalist and an event speaker who has run Novel Ideas for 19 years. Novel Ideas specializes in social media, advertising, marketing, non-profits and journalism. Jeff currently writes for  over twenty blogs, including Things To Worry About and Bowl of Cheese. Additionally, he is a Social Media Trainer for http://SPJ.org – the Society of Professional Journalists.

Caroline Dangson (@cdangson) is currently a consultant with Dachis Group. She focuses on the cultural and operational transformation required for companies to realize the full potential of social business initiatives. Caroline writes about relevant social media topics and issues for Dachis Group’s corporate blog.

Jason Falls (@JasonFalls) owns, co-authors and edits Social Media Explorer. He is an active public speaker, and thinker in the world of digital marketing and social media. As an industry-leading blog, Social Media Explorer is ranked consistently in the top 25 of Advertising Age’s “Power 150 Marketing Blogs.”

Laura Fitton (@pistachio) is the CEO and Founder of oneforty, which helps people discover thousands of tools that help them do more with their businesses, careers, or lives. She re-launched Pistachio Consulting, the first Twitter for business consultancy, in September 2008 to connect businesses to new ideas and innovations using all the tools of microsharing. Laura co-wrote Twitter for Dummies.

Kyle Flaherty (@kyleflaherty) currently works for BreakingPoint Systems, a leading provider of network simulation and traffic generation tools. Kyle manages external communications, community relationships and influencer marketing. He also regularly speaks at events and writes in his highly regarded industry blog, Dance with Strangers, which he “hopes will be the most read marketing blog in the entire world.”

AJ Gerritson (@AJGerritson) is a founding partner at 451 Marketing and has more than 13 years experience in brand strategy, search engine optimization, public relations, advertising and interactive marketing. He is a frequent speaker on the national circuit, and in 2010, Boston Business Journal named AJ to the “40 Under 40” class. AJ writes for 451 Marketing’s blog, 451 Heat.

Paul Gillin (@pgillin) is Principal of Paul Gillin Communications where he consults and advises on strategies to optimize social media’s use for marketing.  Prior to founding Paul Gillin Communications, he was the founding editor-in-chief of TechTarget and was also an executive editor of Computerworld. He has written two books, The New Influencers and Secrets of Social Media Marketing. Both books explore social media’s influence in marketing. Paul also writes a regular column for BtoB Magazine.

Tyson Goodridge (@goodridge) is Founder and Principal of Dialogue, a Social Media Education and Advisory Services Firm.  His firm specializes in social media training, curriculum development and consulting. Dialogue’s clients include IDG, Chaco, Harvard School of Public Health, and Novartis. He’s also founder of “Eat, Drink and Be Social” and is social media instructor/consultant at Apple retail stores.

Rachel Happe (@rhappe) is the Principal and Founder at The Community Roundtable, a peer network for community managers and social media practitioners. Happe also has a blog, The Social Organization, where she discusses her perspectives on how social media can be used as a problem-solving tool for organizations.

Doug Haslam (@DougH) is a supervisor for Voce Connect. At Voce, he has worked on social media projects for Nokia and Yahoo!. Haslam is also an organizer for Podcamp Boston, which provides ideas for content makers, by sharing knowledge of podcasting, blogging, video blogging, and social media. He writes regularly for his blog at doughaslam.com.

John Havens (@johnchavens) is the Senior Vice President for Social Media at Porter Novelli where he provides digital and social media counsel. Before that, Havens was the Vice President of Business Development at Blog Talk Radio. Havens is the co-author of the book Tactical Transparency: How Leaders Can Leverage Social Media To Maximize Value and Build Their Brand.

Shel Holtz (@shelholtz), Principal of Holtz Communications + Technology, is a writer, blogger and consultant. Holtz has written several books, including How to Do Everything With Podcasting and Blogging for Business. He is also a five-time winner of the International Association of Business Communicators’ “Gold Quill Award.”

Marta Kagan (@mzkagan) is the US Managing Director for Espresso and runs the blog, The Secret Diary of a Bonafide Marketing Genius.  Her presentation “What The F**K is Social Media?” has been translated into seven languages. She has received such accolades as a finalist for the “2004 Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs” and a finalist for Fast Company’s 2004 “Fast 50 Winner.” She is a recipient of Maildog Manager’s “Best in Show” award.

Rachel Levy (@bostonmarketer) is the Founder and CEO of the website, webinarlistings.com, which allows companies to promote webinars and simultaneously allow people to find webinars that may be of interest to them. Levy uses her twelve years of experience in marketing as a consultant and trainer for social media at Rachel Levy Consulting. She blogs at rachel-levy.com/blog.

Charlene Li (@charleneli) is a New York Times Best-Selling Author for her book, Open Leadership. She co-authored the book, Groundswell, which was named one of Amazon.com’s “Best Business Books of 2008.”  Li is the founder of Altimeter Group, and blogs at charleneli.com/blog.

Ravit Lichtenberg (@ravit_ustrategy) is the Founder and Chief Financial Officer of Ustrategy Consulting, a boutique consultancy that specializes in helping companies understand their customers’ psychology in today’s social world. She blogs at ravitlichtenberg.com.

Steven Lubetkin (@podcaststeve) is the managing partner of Lubetkin & Co. LLC, which specialize in Internet broadcasting and communications consulting. Lubetkin is a Senior Fellow of the Society of New Communication Research and is a recurrent speaker on social media. Lubetkin is the recipient of the “2010 ASTRA Award” for B2B podcasting from the New Jersey Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association.

Simon Mainwaring (@simonmainwaring) is the owner of Mainwaring Creative. Mainwaring works as a brand consultant who has over 20 years of performance experience. He has received over 60 international awards. He wrote a book, scheduled to be released in 2011, in response to Bill Gate’s speech, “Creative Capitalism.” Mainwaring’s book seeks to show ways in which new media can help promote positive world change.

Joselin Mane (@JoselinMane and @BostonTweetUp) carries 20 years of experience in computer technology as an Internet marketing consultant. Mane is the CEO and Founder of LITBeL Consulting, and the founder of Boston Tweetup. He focuses on leveraging Internet to systematically reach clients’ financial and growth goals.

Drew McLellan (@drewmclellan) is the CEO of McLellan Marketing Group. He is also a blogger and author. McLellan is recognized as a national branding and social media expert, and continues to be sought after as a public speaker. His blog, Drew’s Marketing Minute, is highly regarded in the marketing space.

Marc Meyer (@marc_meyer) is a digital, and social media strategist for Ernst and Young. Additionally, Meyer is the founder of the website, Hash Tag Social Media, which hosts a live sixty-minute Twitter chat at 12 pm every Tuesday, and helps people connect and share ideas related to the use of social media for businesses.

Tom O’Keefe (@BostonTweet) is the creator and founder of bostontweet.com.  His site was created as a way to generate business in a downturn economy and has transformed into an excellent way to find out about the happenings in Boston as well as to drive traffic to certain businesses.  With over 20,000 followers on Twitter and thousands of visitors to his blog, O’Keefe provides customers with the information they want, and boosts traffic to and gives valuable demographic information to businesses.

Neil Patel (@neilpatel) is the co-founder of two internet companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. He was named to Technorati’s “Top 100 Bloggers” list, and according to the Wall Street Journal, is one of the top influencers on the web. Patel achieved these accolades by the age of 21. He uses his successes and failures as an entrepreneur to help others on his blog, Quick Sprout.

Erik Qualman (@equalman) is the author of the book, Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business, and the blog, Socialnomics. Erik is an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School. For the past 16 years, Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies, including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo!, Travelzoo and AT&T.

Neal Rodriguez (@notifyneal) is Managing Director of Shovecom, a full-service New York Interactive Agency. He is an online marketer with seven years of experience in social media engagement and search engine optimization. Neal writes for the Huffington Post and PBS.org.

Mike Rowland (@ImpactInteract) is president and founder of Impact Interactions. There, Mike leads the company’s engagements with large organizations to utilize online communities, and social media to engage site visitors and generate measurable business results. Prior to founding Impact Interactions, Mike built Participate Systems  into one of the pioneers in the online community management world.

Steve Rubel (@steverubel) is SVP, Director of Insights for Edelman Digital. In his role, he helps clients identify emerging technologies and trends that can be applied in marketing communications programs. Rubel also explores these topics on his site at steverubel.com, and in monthly columns for Forbes.com and Advertising Age.

Marian Salzman (@mariansalzman) is president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America.  Marian is the author or co-author of 15 books on topics ranging from current affairs to the youth market and the commercial workplace.  She co-founded Cyberdialogue, the world’s first online market research company, in 1992.  Her annual trends forecast is highly regarded in the industry.

Allan Schoenberg (@allanschoenberg) is currently the Director of Corporate Communications at CME Group. He has broad experience in all aspects of business-to-business communications, including social media, brand management and marketing. Allan also has been teaching many public relations classes in the graduate school at DePaul University since 2005, and undergraduate public relations classes at Loyola University since 2006.

Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) is currently working at Rackspace to build a new community of people fanatical about tech startups called, “Building 43.” He is a tech enthusiast, video blogger and media innovator who searches for world-changing technologies. Before working at Rackspace, Robert worked at Microsoft as an evangelist and one of the people who started its Channel 9 video community.

David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker and the best-selling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR. He is also the author of Real-Time Marketing & PR. David’s popular blog (davidmeermanscott.com), and numerous speaking engagements around the world give him great credibility and authority to discuss how businesses are implementing/should be implementing new strategies to reach buyers.

Derek Showerman (@derekshowerman) is currently the Director of Digital Marketing and Business Development at Environmental Data Resources. Prior to working at EDR, he was the Senior Manager of SEO at Sokolove Law, LLC and prior to that, he was the Director of Social Media at Authority Domains. Derek is considered a pioneer in the industry as he utilized Web 2.0 tools when he owned and ran a music website before they were utilized regularly in the business world.

Jim Storer (@jimstorer) is an experienced community manager and social media strategist who co-founded The Community Roundtable. Within the past ten years, he’s built and managed communities as well as consulted with both start-ups, and large enterprises on how to effectively build lasting value with community, and social media solutions.

Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout) is the Chief Marketing Officer at the social media agency, Powered Inc.. He provides a social voice for the company by speaking, blogging, podcasting and participating in social networking activities. Aaron is a founding member and former president of BIMA, and serves on the advisory board of the prestigious Social Media Club.

Mike Troiano (@miketrap) is the Principal of Holland-Mark, a leading independent advertising agency. Mike serves on the boards of several VC-funded technology companies, including Crimson Hexagon. His blog, Scalable Intimacy, is listed on both AdAge’s “Power150” and Alltop, and he is ranked in the top 1 percent of the most influential people on Twitter.

Todd Van Hoosear (@vanhoosear) is the Principal of Fresh Ground, and a founding member and interim director of the Social Media Club of Boston. He is also the VP of Social Media for Publicity Club of New England and has lead regional, national, and global public relations teams in the telecommunications, CAD/CAM, networking and Web spaces. Todd was recognized as a 2009 Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research.

Mark Wallace (@mwallcomm) is the Vice President of Social Media for EDR. He oversees the strategic growth initiatives for Commonground – the global community for environmental and property due diligence professionals. Prior to joining EDR, Mark was Vice President of Community Sales at Mzinga, a leading provider of social networking consulting, technology, and services

Tamar Weinberg (@tamar) is the author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web and the creator of Techipedia. She provides consulting in internet marketing, and manages community support and  advertising at Mashable. She specializes in social media consulting and strategy, blogger outreach, reputation management, and search engine marketing.

Alan Wolk (@awolk) is the Managing Director of Social Media Strategy at KickApps, a fast-growing company that builds, and maintains social web sites and applications. His blog, The Toad Stool, is “one of the ‘must read’ blogs for our industry,” and looks at the confluence of advertising, marketing and the social web. Wolk is also the founder of “The Hive Awards,” a new awards show that debuted at SXSW Interactive in March 2010.

Adam Zand (@nooneyouknow) is the Marketing & PR Consultant and Connector at Almost Ubiquitous. With over 16 years of business development, marketing and media relations experience, Adam specializes in marketing communications, PR, social media, advertising, content creation, and business development.

Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella) is an award-winning social, search, and viral marketing scientist and author of the O’Reilly Media book, The Social Media Marketing Book. He has been featured in numerous well-known newspapers and speaks at conferences around the country. In 2009, he was awarded “Shorty and Semmy” awards for social media and viral marketing.

Add your picks for top social media strategists below!

MassInno 19 – Content Curation, Wine and Video Games

I recently attended MassInno 19. The brainchild of Bobby Carlton (Carlton PR & Marketing) and Dan Englander (High Rock Media), this free monthly product launch event relies on social media to connect and gain exposure for the most innovative Boston startups. The energy in the room was great- lots of give and take between entrepreneurs and expert advisors. The food and drink was lacking- probably the only negative to making the event absolutely free for everyone. The good news is that there are lots of sponsorship opportunities for brands willing to help!

Any startup can submit its product to be considered for selection to present to the crowd. Popular vote decides which lucky companies get the opportunity. Tip to presenters: take the time to practice your pitch. I know the fear of the blow horn haunts you, but when you speak too fast or hold the mike too far away you quickly lose the room. That said, last night’s event featured some wonderful companies including:

HiveFire – A personal favorite (disclosure- I beta tested for them). HiveFire’s CEO Pawan Deshpande (pictured above) developed this content curation solution to help companies quickly and easily establish topic-specific resource portals. The sites are a valuable tool for marketers running thought leadership campaigns.

Second Glass — Catering to anyone who loves to drink wine, this company just launched a beta site to help you remember which wines you loved and which you hated. If you’re like me, then you enjoy a wine in a restaurant and plan to hunt for it at your local wine shop later, but rarely have success doing so. Second Glass is our new problem solver!

JoyTunes – A MassChallenge finalist, this video game makes learning how to play a real musical instrument fun and easy (at least it looked like it in the demo, which got a lot of laughs when the user showed us how the birdie on the screen drops a doo-doo, if you miss a note when you’re playing).

For videos of the presenters, see the MassInno 19 follow up blog post. Did you attend MassInno before? Share with us your thoughts on the event and the companies participating!