Day Two of the Webmasterworld was keynoted by George Wright of Blendtec, better known for the viral video series Will It Blend?. George gave an entertaining presentation about how BlendTec achieved millions of visits (therefore, brand awareness) with a budget of only $50.
When George was new at the company, he noticed piles of sawdust in their demo room and was told that the founder, Tom Dickson, liked to test new components by blending wood and that this was normal. George immediately saw the viral marketing potential and asked Tom for a marketing budget. Tom generously suggested $50, which turned out to be just right.
George bought a lab coat, some marbles, a McDonald’s Happy Meal, a rotisserie chicken, and so on. Each of them was blended by Tom and the video of each experiment was placed on YouTube with some Digg publicity. Some 75 such videos have been released, including some resulting from viewer suggestions.
This fantastic viral marketing campaign has resulted in:
65 million views on YouTube (34th most subscribed channel)
120 million views on the willitblend.com site
700% increase in retail product sales and a pull-through effect on B2B product lines
Great brand awareness, including a mention in US Congress
BlendTec has no need to spend money on traditional advertising. In fact, a radio station in New Mexico pays them to make blend videos, then shows them on local TV as commercials for their blend of music – this must be the only marketing department that generates revenue!
Analytics Vendors and Package Implementation
Brett Crosby, Richard Zwicky, Jamie Smith
moderator: Melanie Mitchell
Local and Mobile Search
Shailesh Bhat, Alex Porter, Chris Zaharias, Gregory Markel
moderator: Andy Beal
Brian Combs, Lauren Vaccarello, Tony Wright, Jessica L Bowman
moderator: Joe Laratro
Brian Combs is an SVP and Chief Futurist at Apogee Search. His message was that reputation is best protected before a problem occurs. It gets harder once the mud starts flying. Precautions you can take include:
Monitoring online conversations
Using consistent language
Create and propagate several websites for your company.
If the problem has arisen, then you should engage with the aggrieved person in a professional, non-defensive manner. Learn to recognise trolls and avoid them.
Set up multiple sites for products, perhaps a microsite for a problem that has gained widespread attention and encourage traffic to it (rather than your main site). Encourage positive articles on third-party sites. This does not mean pay-to-blog posts, editing Wikipedia, Googlebombing or other deceptive tactics!
Webhosting Industry Overview
Aaron Phillips, Ben Fisher, Amy Armitage, (Curtis) R. Curtis
moderator: Aaron Shear
Real-World Winning Tactics for Content Creation
Rupali Shah, Robin Liss, Ted Ulle
moderator: Derrick Wheeler
Interactive Site Reviews: Focus – Social Media
Brent Csutoras, Tamar Weinberg, Bill Hartzer, Michael Gray
moderator: Todd Malicoat
SEO Design and Organic Site Structure
Mark Jackson, Lyndsay Walker Blahut, Aaron Wall, Alan K’necht
moderator: Todd Friesen
How SMBs Can Use PR Campaigns To Grow Traffic
Lisa Buyer, Robin Liss, Greg Jarboe, Jiyan Wei
moderator: Michael McDonald
Competitive Intelligence : Know Thy Competitor Well
Jake Baillie, Andy Beal, Larry Mersman, William Atchison
moderator: Bruce Clay
Andy Beal described a lot of useful websites that you can leverage to spy on your competitors:
Ground-Up SEO Content Development as Pure Business Strategy
Heather Lloyd-Martin, Matt Tuens
moderator: Gillian Muessig
Interactive Site Reviews: Focus on Brand and Social Reputation Management
Brian Combs, Tony Wright, Geoff Livingston, Bill Hartzer
moderator: Alex Bennert
SEO and Big Search
Melanie Mitchell, Dave Roth, Maile Ohye, Derrick Wheeler
moderator: Joseph Morin
Alternative Discovery and SEO – Feeds, PDFs, and Blog SEO
Rick Klau, Stephan Spencer, George Aspland, Greg Jarboe
moderator: Joe Laratro
George Aspland talked about optimising PDFs to facilitate alternative discovery. For example, some PDFs consist of scanned documents and we know that search engines can’t read images. Their representation in a SERP can also get screwy. In the US government site shown, each page in the document showed up in the snippet as Page 1, Page 2, etc.
The first heading in the document may get picked up as the “title tag” of the search result, so pay attention to it. Better still, use the Document Title of the PDF to advantage. If you use Microsoft Word to create the PDF, you need to select File/Properties to find the dialog box. If you left it blank, the document title might read “Microsoft Word”, which isn’t very click-worthy.
Hyperlinks in the PDF should be enabled and have good anchor text. The PDF itself should be linked from an already indexed page.
You should invest in a copy of the full Adobe Acrobat so that you can edit the PDF that was created by some simple program or Office 2007.
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