Tag Archive: Search Engine Optimization


… and no one is there to read his posts, do they make any sound …

… and does anyone give a particle of bovine excrement?

Ten years ago today, Almost DailyBrett was digitally born by means of hundreds of keystrokes on an IBM compatible, WordPress and an Internet connection.

Drum roll: A grand total of seven souls (page views and/or unique visitors) ventured to read your author’s blog in the summer month of economic discontent,  July, 2009. The predictable and rhetorical ‘Why Bother?’ question was not far behind.

Your author’s life was changing. He was guided by the immortal words of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page:

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”  

Was my blog the commencement of my own, “Stairway to Heaven?’

Even though your author’s odometer was already showing mid-life mileage a decade ago, there was still plenty of fuel in the Miata. There was an acute need to move the personal brand to New Frontiers and yes, to decide on a new path and to change the road.

Since that pivotal day 10 years ago — July 21, 2009 — Almost DailyBrett’s 573 posts …

Garnered 520 reader comments …

Generated 162,373 page views …

Enticed 110,421 unique visitors …

Hailed from approximately 170 countries around the world.

It is humbling to contemplate the equivalent of a Michigan “Big House” with each seat occupied, spending some of their precious irretrievable discretionary time reading Almost DailyBrett.

Did some arrogant academic (redundant?) types suggest that Web 2.0 blogging is dead? Yes there are oodles of deceased blogs along the path — they all started with great enthusiasm and better intentions — but thousands of decomposing writers laying by the roadside should not be interpreted as the end of blogging, maybe just the end of the beginning.

Those Troubling Widowers

Looking back on Almost DailyBrett’s nearly 600 posts, there are wide variety of topics and themes, which constitute the Top 10 blogs:

  1. The Trouble With Widowers (This post keeps on giving each day even though it was composed in 2012), 18,990 page views
  2. NASDAQ: WEED (Predicted publicly traded marijuana companies), 14,653
  3. Farewell LSI Logic (What is and what should have never been?), 4,379
  4. The Decision to Pose for Playboy (Bared my opinions), 4,106
  5. Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility (Not mutually exclusive), 4,023
  6. Magnanimous in Victory, Gracious in Defeat (Easier said than done), 2,423
  7. Smile on the Lips Before a Tear in the Eyes (Joe Biden on horrific family loss), 2,247
  8. One Page Memo: Now More Than Ever (Makes more sense than ever in our digital world), 1,902
  9. Competing Against the Dead (She’s gone, and she is not coming back), 1,628
  10. California’s Rarefied Air Tax (April Fool’s blog; Don’t give Gavin any ideas), 1,050.

Your author would be remiss if he did not point out that his “About” page has drawn 1,071 page views.

Yes, a successful blog can pay dividends in terms of personal branding and the ongoing perception of accomplishment. Writing Almost DailyBrett certainly did not hurt yours truly in securing a tenure-track assistant professorship of public relations at Central Washington University at 59 years young. 

Total Douche-o-Rama

“This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy.”

“This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position on Fox News.”

“Total Douche-o-Rama.”

These are just some of the nicer comments your author approved for posting on Almost DailyBrett.

After 10 years in the blogging trenches sending out rhetorical salvos and more than a few occasions receiving less-the-pleasant feedback and name calling, here are 10 hard-earned rules for blogging:

  1. No one was put on this planet to read your posts. A blog is the ultimate discretionary read. Someone is spending precious nanoseconds of their finite life to read your blog. Boring and lame does not cut it.
  2. Digital is eternal. The most important public relations is your own personal PR. Never blog when you are upset, sleepy and certainly not when you are intoxicated (Mark Zuckerberg’s character in The Social Network)
  3. Double Check and Double Check Again. The difference between “pubic relations” and “public relations” is one letter. The level of embarrassment is huge. Don’t rely on the Microsoft Spell Check. If the wrong word is spelled correctly, you are still personally wrong
  4. Employ Pull and Push (in that order) to Generate SEO/SEM. Juicy tags and alluring categories are irresistible to the Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing algorithms. Your blog should always be on page one following a Google search. Social media uploads are essential
  5. Write to Your Strength/Experience. Not everyone shares your interests. Some blogs will do better than others. Follow your passion. Accept that some blogs will barely register a blip on the rhetorical Richter Scale
  6. Be Provocative, Not Notorious. The last thing anyone wants or needs is another partisan rant on social media. Almost DailyBrett has a point of view (e.g., Buy Low Sell High),  but refrains from being another screaming talking head
  7. Avoid Overt Partisanship. In our increasingly tribalized society, your blogs are not going to radically shift public opinion.  Offer new ways to approach an issue. Who knows? You may move the dial just a smidge, and in our polarized world that is and of itself … an accomplishment.
  8. Buy Low Sell High. Offer a proven philosophy. Demonstrate through thoughts and example that economic freedom (albeit not perfect) is still the best way to provide for prosperity and in the end, the pursuit of happiness
  9. Have Thick Skin … to a Point. Don’t blog if you can’t take the heat. Inevitably, someone will not be pleased with your prose. Celebrate responses to a point. You do not need to accept slurs, profanities and name calling
  10. “Opinions Are Like Assholes, Everyone Has One.”  There are times when your personal experience (e.g., press secretary), if you are sure you want to share, maybe can help others. If so, a blog author can be closer to an angel as opposed to an ass ….

And as recommended by University of Oregon Journalism Professor Carol Stabile, write 15 minutes every day. Some days will be better than others. Blogging is a gift of the digital age. The ability to project your thoughts to all continents in mere nanoseconds was inconceivable before 1995. There is a great responsibility that comes with blogging, but an incredible opportunity as well.

Almost DailyBrett note: Even though he went to UCLA and received his B.A. in English (and eventually rose above this baby blue malady), the initial inspiration came from my forever friend and colleague Brian Fuller, editor in chief at ARM. The former editor of EE Times recommended blogging in general and WordPress in particular at a time when his advice made the greatest impact. The success of Almost DailyBrett is in part is attributable to Brian. Buy Low Sell High, my eternal friend!

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/nasdaq-weed/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/smile-on-the-lips-before-a-tear-in-the-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/the-one-page-memo-now-more-than-ever/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/californias-rarefied-air-tax/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianfuller24/

 

 

 

 

“This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy”

“This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position on Fox News! If so, well-played, sir. Your inability to look past the length of your nose and complete lack of logic make you a shoo-in.”

“I’m puking in my mouth.

“Total Douche-o-Rama.”

gtf

Maybe this Perfect Idiot Douche-o-Rama should compete for a doctorate?

Or a pundit on Fox News?

Never in recorded history has a humble blog drawn so much vitriol when the stakes were so low.

At Least The Name Was Spelled Right

Far worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all.” – Former Presidential Communications Director Pat Buchanan

“Communicators need to learn how to handle the hecklers on social media.  It is now a required skill. I know of two agencies and three Silicon Valley companies who include this in their pre-employment tests. What a great real-life example to show them (students)!“ — Colleen Pizarev, PR Newswire Vice President

Writing a provocative blog (e.g., Almost DailyBrett) is not for the meek and mild. My December 3 post about the recent strike by the Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTF) at the University of Oregon is a case in point. Fortunately, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation union (GTFF) finally caved in to the university and no further damage was done to the school’s 25,000 students and/or faculty.

If one is not willing to venture an opinion and take calculated chances, then why write a blog in the first place? Think of it this way: A blog is the most discretionary of all reads.

There is a huge difference between being provocative-controversial and being notorious. The first is responsible; the latter, irresponsible.

So what are the best ways to respond to online hecklers, yes even those who take issue with: “Your tactics here are a clear sign of your ignorance and privilege”?_MG_1292 (3)

 

Dem’s fighting words, but one must pick her-or-his battles.

Taking the High Road

The juvenile level of discourse you’ve displayed in these comments makes me embarrassed that you have a degree from my alma mater (e.g., M.A. from the University of Oregon).”

What are effective strategies when it comes to responding to the most determined of online hecklers?

  1. Avoid Writing Blogs When Upset and Frustrated in the First Place

There are times when you want to give someone or some organization a piece of your mind. That is not the time to write a blog. Your posts need to be thoughtful and based upon concrete facts to back your assertions. This is not to say that you cannot be provocative and controversial. Most blogs do not draw comments, generate Facebook “shares” and/or cause fur to fly. Every once in awhile this is indeed the case

  1. Never Engage in a Public Urination Contest

Learn how to be offensive without being OFFENSIVE. Dirty Harry (e.g., Clint Eastwood) always expressed his point of view (sometimes with his .44 Magnum), but most of the time he went just a tad too far. For a blogger you can respond to the heckler and parry back the verbal volleys, but you should never lose your cool and engage in a public urination battle. The results will not be pretty. There are times you want to engage the heckler, and there are others when you want to leave unanswered the charge/allegation. Your pride is not injured, if you allow the heckler to have the last word.Dirty Harry (1971)

 

  1. Pick and Choose Your Battles

The intent of the heckler is to bully, intimidate and silence dissent. Some are just not used to anyone standing up to them. We all have the First Amendment of Free Speech. A blogger has just as much right to compete in the Marketplace of Ideas as anyone else. If the heckler resorts to childish name calling, utters ugly slurs or demonstrates racist, sexist or other nasty behavior, it is best to NOT post that individual’s comments and to disengage.

  1. Allow the Heckler to Build Your SEO, Then Disengage

Keep in mind, the heckler is doing you the blogger a huge favor. The search engines (e.g., bots) take note of digital activity … the ones and zeroes of binary code … flowing to-and-from your blog URL. Every foray from the heckler can be met in kind with a witty and/or clever reply. For you this is a victory in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) arena. Let the invectives fly across cyberspace.

  1. Always Take the High Road

Turning the other cheek results in two throbbing cheeks even in the online space. Engaging the heckler to demonstrate that your dissent will not be silenced is noble, provided you are cool, calm and collected … and always take the high road. Remember: You wrote the blog. The heckler(s) is/are responding. As the instigator, you are the one driving the story.

  1. Don’t Lose Any Sleep

As a tadpole, you learned some variation of “sticks and stones will break my bones … “ These wise words still apply all of these decades later. Get a good night’s sleep. Maybe your next blog will draw even more hecklers.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2012/07/27/5-tips-for-dealing-with-hecklers-on-twitter/

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/03/09/how-to-deal-with-blog-hecklers/

 

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

Silicon Valley and other mass communicators are enamored when it comes to threes.

CNBC’s investment guru Jim Cramer talks about the three moving forces in technology: Social, Mobile and Cloud.

socialmobilecloud

Threes are easy to remember, fours or fives, not so much.

At LSI Logic, we were fond of talking about our three C’s: Communications, Computer and Consumer.

These were our three strategic markets. The three C’s were easy for customers, employees and owners (e.g., investors) or the acronym, C.E.O., (another three) to remember.

In this spirit, let’s talk about the Almost DailyBrett Communication Big Three.

These are an absolutely essential trio of communications skills, most in demand in the marketplace, and which need to be taught by our colleges and universities.

Drum roll: Persuasive Writing; Financial Communications; and Social Media.

Think of it this way: The first two are analog in nature and the latter is digital.

Compelling Writing Skills

Writing goes back to the first publicity campaign on behalf of the all-powerful Pharaoh, the Rosetta Stone. He was awesome, and if you need proof just check out the hieroglyphics on the smoothed surface.rosetta

Johannes Gutenberg speeded up the process with his Mainz, Germany printing press in the 14th Century, and now the acceleration is at warp speed with wireless communication devices.

Despite the unprecedented ability to communicate in nanoseconds to virtually any spot on the globe at any time, the old-fashioned skills of developing compelling, credible and accurate copy under deadline pressure has never been greater. For some, writing is a natural gift that comes easy. For others, it is a laborious process that can be perfected with practice.

Starting this fall, your Almost DailyBrett author is teaching Introduction to Public Relations Writing at Central Washington University. My 20 students are going to be asked to produce the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae or resume, emphasizing the student’s professional and academic accomplishments with quantifiable measurements
  • Twitter-style cover letter applying for an entry-level public relations position and emphasizing the student’s personal ROI or Return on Investment
  • Complete LinkedIn profile including the same elements of the resume, plus a professional mug shot, three references and at least 30 connections
  • News advisory targeting legacy and/or digital native media informing and/or inviting them to attend and cover an upcoming event
  • News release providing information about a breaking news story, employing the inverted pyramid and using the five W’s – What, When, Where, Who, Why – and the one H – How
  • Pitch to a selected reporter, editor, correspondent, blogger or news aggregator about a newsworthy story and offering assistance
  • Copy for a 30-second radio or television PSA or Public Service Announcement on behalf of a non-profit agency
  • Chief executive officer strategy letter to investors, analysts and employees outlining your selected company’s business strategy and future prospects
  • CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility letter to company employees about efforts your chosen corporation is making to safeguard employees, protect the environment and serve the communities in which the company does business
  • Crisis communications news release – written under deadline pressure – announcing steps a company has taken to address the crisis and pointing to the future
  • Four personal blog posts, emphasizing public relations skills and commenting on breaking news events
  • Two-page executive memo with bullets and subheads introducing a subject, examining the factors, and recommending a course of action

The philosophy behind these assignments is the only way to really become effective at persuasive writing is to Just Do It!

Financial Communications

Many right-brain types, the very people who opt for Journalism school, avoid figures at all costs. And yet, the numbers will find them.

We now live in a world of “big data,” particularly those companies that are publicly traded. Chairman Mao is probably rolling over in his grave as PRC-based Alibaba takes its predominate Mainland China digital retail play public this Friday with shares expected to be initially priced between $66 and $68.

alibaba

Right-brain students need to figure out how to make peace with numbers. UNC Professor Chris Roush (Show Me The Money) states ex-cathedra: “Behind every number is a story.”

Hmmm … that means there are stories to be told about these numbers. In addition, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) requires these stories to be told to all investors, if they are “material.” Translated: If a company has “material” information that would prompt an investor to buy, sell or hold company stock, then the company is mandated to disclose under Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure).

What this means is that each and every of the more than 5,000 publicly traded companies (NYSE or NASDAQ) in this country must issue news releases. The writers are not expected to produce the figures (there are oodles of accountants, auditors, controllers …), but they instead must tell the story behind these numbers.

That means that college and university communications graduates should know the difference between the income statement top line (revenues), the bottom line (net income or net loss) and everything in between (e.g., COGS, Gross Margin, SG&A, R&D, Operating Income, Taxes, Amortized Expenses …).

Sure wish someone had been kind enough to teach me these skills, including how to read a balance sheet, back in college.

Social Media

The world has already shifted from Web 1.0 (accessing websites) to Web 2.0 (wired and wireless devices talking to each other) and soon Web 3.0 (semantic web).

The Economist reported this week that nearly one-quarter ($120 billion) of the world’s $500 billion advertising business is coming from digital ads, increasingly being delivered to mobile devices. Yes there is no doubt that digital media is being monetized through search engine optimization (SEO) and other techniques, and that Genie is not going back in the bottle.

Facebook (friends), Twitter (140-character tweets), LinkedIn (connections), YouTube (videos), Flickr (photos), Pinterest (online scrapbooks), WordPress (Almost DailyBrett) all enjoy first-mover advantages in their respective social media spaces. There are challengers now and more competitors to come. The bottom line is that digital publishing through binary code is here to stay.

Companies and international public relations agencies are expecting that digital natives instinctively understand social media. This all circles back to the ability to write clear, concise, credible and compelling copy for an audience that is increasingly overwhelmed by information.

digitalnatives

And much of this data comes in the way of numbers, the ones with a story behind them. And increasingly, these stories no longer involve a gate-keeper but are transmitted though “owned” media (e.g., websites, blogs, social media sites).

Stating that compelling writing, financial communications and social media are the Big Three of Communications may entice the crisis communications, marketing, branding, reputation management, employee communications, public affairs and other dedicated professionals to take umbrage.

Fret not. Almost DailyBrett loves you too, and says to each of you that you need (or soon will need) graduates who can tell the story, and tell it well, through effective writing, numerical literacy and of course, proficiency with digital tools.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-writing-skills-business-845.html

http://www.unc.edu/~croush/CV.htm

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/owned-media-an-answer-to-digital-change/

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21615869-technology-radically-changing-advertising-business-profound-consequences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time the best and the brightest were convinced without any conceivable doubt: The world is flat.

They were so sure they were right … err correct … until this guy … (should I mention his name?) … Christopher Columbus proved them to be wrong. At least that is what we were taught in school.

columbus

Score one for a new way of seeing our world.

Sometimes it is difficult to overcome well entrenched, stubborn, resolute and mule-like analog thinking.

This also applies to the prevailing wisdom about one-page resumes taught by some journalism and communication professors/instructors.

Contemplating parochial school lessons emanating from the Baltimore Catechism, one learned that the Ten Commandments were handed down from on high to Moses (e.g., played by Charlton Heston). One still remembers the sketches of Moses holding up the tablets and instructing the masses to avoid killing people, refrain from stealing someone else’s possessions, and never-ever committing adultery against one’s spouse and/or mistress.

hestonmoses

Alas, I never found anything chiseled in rock declaring that any-and-all curriculum vitaes (e.g., resumes) being restricted to one page, and only one page. And yet I keep on meeting cowering-and-quivering college students who have been bludgeoned into reducing fonts, running on sentences and cramming and jamming as much as they can into one eight-by-eleven inch piece of paper to comply with those who proclaim that all resumes must be in one-page Ordnung. Verstehen Sie? You better.

Let me engage a little heresy here at the risk of being excommunicated and never being allowed to fill my growler ever again.

Has anyone in the leadership of the majority of these journalism schools ever heard of binary code? Yep, these are those itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny digital on-and-off instructions that are forever changing the world, including journalism as we know it, whether we like it or not.

Want to look up Moore’s Law? Maybe you shouldn’t.

Why does the irreversible global shift from analog-to-digital matter when it comes to resumes or CVs? The reason is that each-and-every resume for any high five-figure or any six-figure job or above, and with increasingly frequency entry-level positions as well, is submitted online. Does it really matter if the CV is one page, if the words are being transmitted and reviewed electronically…sometimes by a human and other times by a machine?

SEO Perfect Company

Is the length more important than content? Both the human and the search engine are calibrated to search out certain words that fit the job description (Hint: “Really working well with people” doesn’t cut it).

Instead when it comes to public relations, marketing, investor relations and communications, the search engine as in search engine optimization or SEO is looking for the following and more:

  • Message Development
  • Social Media
  • Employee Communications
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Crisis Communications
  • Investor Relations
  • Media Relations
  • Analyst Relations
  • Media Training
  • Multimedia Skills
  • Presentation Skills

Does it matter if the search engine spots these terms and others on one page or more? Almost DailyBrett humbly contends that content reigns supreme, not length, particularly in our digital age.

Keep in mind that many employers are now asking for LinkedIn profile URLs instead of resumes at least when it comes to online applications. Are the J-School Pharisees asking for LinkedIn profiles to be restricted to one page? Is this possible considering that LinkedIn profiles are exclusively online?

Shhhh! … Let’s not give them any ideas.

A final thought comes to mind, and maybe the most important one of all: Are all graduating seniors created equal?

One of the most common arguments advanced by the Flat Earth, One-Page Resume Society is that college seniors don’t have enough experience and educational accomplishments to require more than one page. They have the semblance of an argument here.

resume1

The Almost DailyBrett response is that some seniors overachieve and outperform compared to their colleagues. They have oodles of internships, jobs, relevant activities and skill sets in addition to their education (e.g., B.A. or B.S. degree). For them, it is extremely difficult to tell their entire story to prospective employers on only one page.

Why should we arbitrarily penalize the overachievers?

Besides the cover letters and the CVs that they ultimately transmit (think binary ones and zeroes) to would-be employers are ultimately their OWN cover letters and their resumes. Graduating seniors are adults. They will make their own decisions. They will rise and fall based upon what they upload. Let them decide.

They should not be handcuffed by yesterday’s analog thinking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

http://www.biography.com/people/christopher-columbus-9254209

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curriculum_vitae

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_code

http://www.catholicity.com/baltimore-catechism/

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblestorysummaries/p/tencommandstory.htm

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/museum-gordon-moore-law.html

http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo

The Right Woman

DSC00344

 

This is not a gushy blog.

Instead, it is a response to one of my earlier epistles that resulted in many pairs of panties getting themselves all in a twist.

It amazed this writer how my April 15 blog…as in the April 15, 2012 The Trouble with Widowers post managed to get so many (mostly of the feminine persuasion) so riled up. The offering is one that keeps on giving and gosh darn it; the piece helps my SEO as well.

Go ahead, I dare you…Type in The Trouble with Widowers into your Google search and let’s see what comes out on top. I am as confident as Muhammad Ali stepping into the ring.

Okay, it’s time for a little humility for a change.

I never wrote The Trouble with Widowers for pure SEO (Search Engine Optimization) glory. As a widower, I was perplexed and a little irritated … okay a lot irritated … why I was not doing better when it comes to the affairs of the heart.

Deep down, I am a nice guy with a fun career. I can communicate with the best of them; heck it’s my profession. If you don’t believe me, just ask me.

And yet, my efforts at honest, effective communication with the fairer gender were coming up empty. One of the problems was the image of the woman in my past: The one, who passed away eight years ago tomorrow.

May you rest in peace, Robin.

Looking back on the past 15 months, I am amazed how one blog could draw 1,338 page views-and-counting and a record 28 comments some of which telling me that I was “clueless,” an “attention seeker” and my favorite, a “martyr.” Ready to nail me to the cross?

As the famous cliché states, “You can’t always tell a book by its cover.”

The title, The Trouble with Widowers, may have been akin to Xmas morning for youngsters. The majority of the readers of this particular post (e.g., women) most likely saw presents under the tree in the form of a new avenue for male bashing. Let’s give it to those widowers…until…oh…the blog wasn’t pounding men with deceased spouses into fine grains of sand. Instead, it was a call for understanding and communication.

It was a call for the right woman.

There are approximately 3.6 billion card-carrying females on this planet. Thankfully for heterosexual widowers, there are more women than competing men. Finding that woman, an understanding woman, is an exercise in patience and perseverance. For me, it took seven years to find Jeanne.

Vice President (and fellow widower) Joe Biden lost one-half of his family in a horrific traffic accident in December, 1972. It was several years before he met his Jill. And it was even longer before he could think of his deceased wife and baby daughter with a “Smile of the lips before a tear in the eyes.” Jill is an understanding woman.

The same is true for me, even though one of my readers wrote: “God help the next woman who enters into a relationship with you” and another, who offered, “I doubt your girlfriend is as secure as you maintain.” Thank you, Gloomy Gus, Negative Nancy and the other human barbiturates.

What seemed in particular to get everyone’s bowels in an uproar was the prospect of a “shrine” to the deceased and the notion that a new GOW (girlfriend of a widower) or WOW (wife of a widower) was second best.

Growing up in Southern California, my mom at dinner time would turn on a small electric light to illuminate a large portrait of her mom (my grandma Peggy) and turn it off shortly before retiring. Was that a “shrine” to a deceased member of the family? What constitutes a shrine? The next question: Is it appropriate? I never questioned it.

As I offered before, photos of a deceased grandparent, parent, sibling, (Heaven forbid) child are kosher, but photos and art work from the late spouse are insensitive? Each and every one of them were family members. Why is it different if one married into the family?

And then there is the notion that the GOW or WOW is somehow “second best.” Let me ask this question: Does a mother with multiple children numerically rank her Kindern? Is this the equivalent of the BCS standings with the top two children vying for the mother’s number one spot when it comes to love? Will a trophy be awarded for winning the maternal, “Natty?”

There is no denying that a GOW or WOW is second, chronologically. That’s just common sense. The deceased spouse came first. That doesn’t make the new love of your life, second best. She is second. The same is true for children…only one can be the first child.

Let me offer the following: The venom that has been directed at me may be a cry of frustration. Dating a widower is not as easy as it seems. He usually does not carry the bitterness of many divorcees or those currently separated. He does not bring obvious questions of those post-40, who have never been down the aisle. In most cases, he brings to the party the experience of a successful marriage that was cut short by the Grim Reaper.

It all comes down to two-way symmetrical communication. Both need to understand. Both need to be accommodating. This is not a once-a-week practice, but it is every day. Relationships take work, even those with widowers.

A widower needs to work every day with the new woman in his life, just as he did in his past relationship. The same is true with the woman dating and loving the widower. It all comes down to the right widower and the right woman.

As one of my colleagues said to me last year: “When it’s good; it’s good.”

Thank you Jeanne. It’s been good, damn good. You are the right woman.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/smile-on-the-lips-before-a-tear-in-the-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

Is “clueless” male, redundant?

How about “disrespectful” man?

And to top it off, I have been labeled an “attention seeker.”

All of the above occurred in just one week as a result of a post that I wrote a little more than one year ago: The Trouble with Widowers.

These are just some of the joys of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Presumably, legions of women upset with widowers went to the web. They found my blog. They wrote to me. I wrote to them. The Internet bots recorded it all. My Trouble with Widowers blog is listed in the first and second positions on Google.

Can we do that again?

blog1

Life is so short.

And yet there is so much that one has to read for work, for school, for personal improvement.

And then there are the relatively few-in-comparison precious items that one actually wants to read.

A blogger needs to keep these essential truths in mind when composing a post. A blog is the most discretionary of all reads. No one makes you read her or his blog. If your blog is lame, no one will read it. If your blog is boring, the reader will simply stop reading after a few paragraphs. If your blog is predictable, then why keep on reading?

After posting 201 blogs…some obviously better than others…there are lessons that come from blogging, which allows me to offer my humble commentary to an imperfect world.

Many immediately start thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and how to entice the “bots” to visit their pages…and one should contemplate these strategies. It is all so binary code or digital ones-and-zeroes.

Having said that, some of the lessons that emanate from blogging are actually analog in nature. Some of these do not originate in digital high-tech environments, but instead they are taught in conventional Journalism school. These include catchy headlines, inverted pyramids, the use of familiar (e.g., celebrity) names, breaking news stories, controversial debate points and even subjects that pertain to matters below the waist line…that would be sex for those of you living in Springtucky.

Headlines Matter: Just as in conventional magazine and newspaper journalism, a catchy headline will draw the eye and entice the reader to take a gander at the first few paragraphs. Besides The Trouble with Widowers, my other heavily read blog posts include: Competing Against the Dead, Men and Their Schlanges, Magnanimous in Victory; Gracious in Defeat, Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility; It’s Not You; It’s Me; Taxing the Fab Four; Exiling the Stones; and A Smile on the Lips Before a Tear in the Eyes.

Leads Matter: Not every blog has to start out with the classic inverted pyramid, outlining the what, when, where, who, why and how of the story in rapid order. After all a blog is not a hard-news story, more of a feature or “thumb sucker” for those in the profession. Having said that, the reader should not be left wondering for long what the subject is about. Get to the point.

My blog about Lindsay Lohan, Hugh Hefner and $1 million to pose au naturel (Lindsay, not Hugh) did not take long for the reader to comprehend: The Decision to Pose for Playboy. I am still amazed by how many are still searching for information about skating superstar Katarina Witt’s sold-out 1998 nude spread in Playboy.

Tags Matter: What do blog readers care about? How about Katarina Witt and the word, “nude?” So far, I have posted more than 1,750 different tags to entice eyeballs and search engines. An Oregon football fan cares about Uncle Phil, Phil Knight, Nike, Autzen Stadium, Chip Kelly, Rose Bowl etc. Write your blog with tags in mind and review it to make sure you are fully taking advantage of what tags can do for your personal brand, SEO, individual visits and page views.

Stakeholders Matter: The number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, LinkedIn groups all equate to higher SEO. Every blog should be shared on these sites. Search engines are important, but they are far from the only way to drum up attention to your blog and better Google placement.

Credibility Matters: The lawyers call it “standing.” Do you have the bona-fides to write about a given subject? Why should anyone listen to you? I teach public relations at a Top 10 journalism school. I know a thing or two about communications, but virtually nothing about math and science. I write to my strengths and avoid my obvious weaknesses.

Respect Matters: One cannot be a successful blogger without being provocative. That is different from being notorious. As a former press secretary, I am not afraid of mixing it up. At the same time, I try to be respectful of others and want the same. I have thick skin to a point. Let’s dispense with name calling, slurs or foul language. The key is to be offensive without being offensive.

blog2

All of the above do not require an advanced geek degree in writing algorithms for Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google (all tags for this blog). The knowledge of effective journalistic writing and persuasive public relations all come in mighty handy in writing an effective blog.

Who said that analog skills are dead?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_bots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

https://www.google.com/search?q=Search%20Engine%20Marketing&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&gs_rn=9&gs_ri=psy-ab&gs_mss=The%20Trouble%20with%20Wid&pq=search%20engine%20marketing&cp=25&gs_id=ma&xhr=t&q=The%20Trouble%20with%20Widowers&es_nrs=true&pf=p&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&oq=The+Trouble+with+Widowers&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45512109,d.cGE&fp=b3ed9e4baad5b678&biw=1680&bih=946

“If a man says something in a forest, and there isn’t a woman there to hear him, is it still stupid?” – Too Many Anonymous Authors Claiming Credit

treefalls

Three years ago today, I began Almost DailyBrett.

Should I brag or apologize?

At the end of July 2009, my blog attracted a grand total of…drum roll…seven page views.

As I was composing my first posts, I was imagining standing alone in a cyber forest making typing noises (tree falling?), and wondering if I was making any sound? Did anyone give a particle about Almost DailyBrett? Was blogging a huge waste of time and effort?

Three years later, I am happy to report that Almost DailyBrett now totals 155 blog posts and 141 comments and counting. The total number of page views is approaching 12,000. Almost DailyBrett and by extension Kevin Brett brands are being championed by means of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, LinkedIn professional groups), tag words, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

This is not an undertaking for the humble and the modest.

It should also be noted that blogging is not for serial procrastinators or people who simply do not relish the joy of writing. For those who love words, sentences, concepts, heck even grammar, the one-and-zeroes access to cyberspace and the blogosphere is a Godsend.

In some respects, most bloggers remind me of the newbies that showed up at a health club around New Year’s Day. Their resolutions are fresh in mind. They are ready to develop a new, robust physique. Some are envisioning standing on the victory platform in their Speedos throwing muscular poses to the crowd…and then reality comes crashing down. From aerobics comes pain. From resistance training comes a form of torture. Muscles that are used to a sedentary state want to remain in a sedentary state.

As we said about these newbies: “They will be gone by the Super Bowl.”

Alas, that is the case for many new bloggers. They start with the wind in their proverbial sails and pound out their first blog; hardly anyone is clapping. And then there is the issue of the next blog…there is always the issue of the next blog. They think about their upcoming blog and no inspiration is forthcoming. Days go by. Weeks go by. Months go by. Chalk up another dead blog.

Let’s face it: Blogging requires a commitment. It demands that you can’t wait to write your next post. It means that you have to be constantly thinking about what you want to write and what your readers want to read about. So what are some hard-earned lessons about not only starting a blog, but maintaining your relationship with your readers?

● Afford yourself maximum flexibility in the title of your blog. Avoid painting yourself into a proverbial corner. If you only want to write about movies, travel, sports etc., then give your blog a name appropriate to that genre. If you want to explore a wide variety of topics, then look for an umbrella that gives you wide latitude, but also builds your brand (e.g., Almost DailyBrett).

● Steadfastly guard your credibility and reputation. A blog should be provocative and fun to read. Keep in mind that blogs are the ultimate in discretionary reading. Nobody reads your blog because they have to read your blog. However, there is a difference between being provocative and being outrageous. Maintain your professionalism at all time…and follow the “When in doubt, leave it out” rule.

● Follow the Potter Stewart philosophy of searching for a subject for your next blog. The former US Supreme Court Justice will go down in history for his famous line about obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” The public relations escapades of Tiger Woods, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, Spirit Airlines just to name a few became instant fodder for Almost DailyBrett. Keep a close eye on the news and trendy topics.

potterstewart

● See yourself as a thought leader. What unique perspectives can you offer to your audience? For me, I have written extensively on not only widow(er)hood, but also the challenges associated with dating post-positive marriage. My “Competing Against the Dead” and “The Trouble with Widowers” blogs still receive considerable traffic. Others are in the same boat. I have also devoted considerable time to communications choreography, fiduciary vs. corporate social responsibility and other subjects close to my heart.

● Develop thick skin. Just as they nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, you are not going to please everyone. Anticipate getting negative responses from time-to-time, and don’t be afraid of publishing them in your comments section. As long as they are fair (or close to being fair) and are not nasty, racist, sexist diatribes and spam, I will allow them to be posted to my site.

● Use push marketing techniques for your blogs. What are your tags? Wonder if the words, “Playboy,” “Jenny McCarthy,” “Lindsay Lohan,” and “Pam Anderson” will attract the search engines? Once a blog is posted (including this one), market your blog subject and a related link on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If the subject is germane to a particular LinkedIn group(s), then post a question to the group about your blog premise. Sometimes you can really stir the pot.

All one has to do to start a blog is to establish a WordPress account. It’s absolutely free. Even the technologically challenged can figure out the software. From that point you are in business. Some contend that blogging is dead. The numbers point to the opposite: 54.1 million WordPress sites; 327 million subscribers viewing 2.5 billion pages each year; 500,000 new posts and 400,000 comments are uploaded every day. And that’s just WordPress. There are oodles of other services to host your blog.

That’s a lot of noisy trees falling down each day.

http://en.wordpress.com/stats/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potter_Stewart

Did I get your attention?

Actually the purpose behind posing this question is much more than the yearning for the ultimate in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) victories by using the S-word as a verbal pheromone to stimulate the Google algorithms to draw even more eyeballs to my Almost DailyBrett blog.

Instead, my intentions are noble (yes, I know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions). As a result of being a widower for more than five years, I have been cast into an unenviable position as a mature, single follicly challenged male after more than two decades of blissful marriage. The padre really meant it, when he stated: “To death do you part.” And I thought the vows were just an administrative act that stood between us, the champagne reception, the delicious wedding night and the honeymoon in Hawaii.

And when you actually do part because of death (my spouse succumbed to dreaded stomach cancer), you are suddenly single wondering if you will ever recover from this ultimate curve ball of life and whether you will ever find another very special someone. So far my search has not born ultimate fruit, but it has been instructive and I have learned a lot about me and the opposite gender.

dating

As a communications choreographer, I have come to appreciate love, sex and romance as a core marketing and public relations skill. Today, we do not have to rely on the company dock, the Safeway produce aisle or the local tavern to scout out would-be partners. We can now use 21st Century digital tools to identify our target audiences, develop our strategic messages, execute our communications program and market our product (that would be me…in my case or you in your case).

Certainly I am not an expert in the affairs of the heart, but I have learned from my own experiences and mistakes and the errors of others on what works and doesn’t work when it comes to online dating. So what are some techniques that you should consider regardless of your membership in terms of the great gender divide and your orientation? Here are a few to weigh.

● First do not expect perfection when it comes to online dating websites. Some are better than others. Personally, I prefer Match.com and have been an on-and-off member for about three years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Match.com For some reason I cannot get past Neil Clark Warren the Ph.D founder of eHarmony and his embarrassing ads. Match.com gives you the tools that you need, but just be mindful that when you are done, cancel the service…otherwise they will gladly renew your subscription and renew it again and again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Clark_Warren

● Go into this process with the clear understanding that everybody is not for you, and you are not for everybody. Even though there are more than 3 billion card-carrying members of the opposite gender on this planet (or your own gender, if you are so inclined), your target audience in reality is relatively small. Plan on investing some time into this process, including responding to e-mails, participating in screening calls, and then meeting at a busy public, neutral site, such as a Starbucks or a wine bar. You can usually identify an ongoing awkward Match.com first-time meeting at Starbucks or any other upscale coffee joint. It really is a joint job interview where two people are alternating between interviewer and interviewee.

● Trust your instincts when it comes to safeguarding personal information. Don’t share your cell phone number (never give out landlines, assuming you still have one) or your personal e-mail address (never a work e-mail address) to someone until you have developed a rapport. If necessary, do a Google search on the lovely Mizz X or the mysterious Mr. Y. They are probably doing the same with you.

● Sweat the details when it comes to your profile. Use your spell checker, but then read your profile out loud (or ask someone to proof it for you). Keep in mind that spell checkers will miss the wrong word spelled right (e.g. “pubic” instead of “public”). Also avoid the dreaded “I” disease as in “I do this…” and “I do that.” Avoid coming across as self-absorbed, particularly if you are a guy, or needy, if you are a female.

● An early 20th Century advertising executive once said that “A good picture is worth a 1,000 words.” In online dating, good, recent pictures that accurately portray you are absolutely vital to success or failure. If necessary, have some professionally produced digital photos taken. They should not be corporate, but not cheesy either. Sydney Biddle Barrows, the infamous Mayflower Madam, said that “a man falls in love with his eyes; a woman with her ears.” http://www.sydneybarrows.com/  Despite the wisdom behind this turn of phrase, women are also very attracted to a portrait of a confident, handsome man. Oh and be sure to smile. Forget the linebacker stare.  Most important of all, be sure to post photos of yourself, if you want to have any hope at being successful in Internet dating. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_words

● Many lie like rugs on online dating sites, particularly when it comes to age, height and weight. And once you are caught in a lie, your would-be partner is wondering what other facets of your “background” are not the truth. Keep in mind, she or he is going to meet you and decide for herself or himself. Be honest. Don’t be deceitful about your age in order to beat the search engine (e.g. under 50…when you are clearly over that mark). You are what you are.

● If you are not happy with your appearance, don’t expect miracles. We cannot all be perfectly enhanced and airbrushed Pam Andersons. Having said that, spending a few weeks to really get yourself in the best shape possible will improve not only your physical appearance but your personal confidence as well.

● Be reasonable when it comes to that first meeting over coffee or wine (safer than a long lunch or dinner with someone who is immediately incompatible). If it is not clicking or if you are not attracted, then just have a nice cup of coffee or a good glass of wine with a friendly acquaintance. The most important point of all: If you set up the encounter as your first meeting with Mrs. X or Mr. Y, you will most likely be disappointed, and besides is that really fair? This is an awkward time for her or him as well.

● Be realistic about your expectations. If you are a 55-year-old guy (and you are not Hugh Hefner), do you really think that a self-respecting 22-year-old female is going to be interested in you? Let’s face it; you are old enough to be her father. The same applies to Cougars on the prowl, albeit some young bucks may be interested in a meaningful overnight romance. My humble advice: Pick on people who are in your own age group.

hefner

● Don’t subordinate what is really important to you, but at the same time don’t impose standards that are virtually impossible for anyone to live up to. Everyone has some baggage (and so do you). Look for someone with a carry-on bag and be willing to be flexible. If a college education, not smoking, working out, having parental experience, loving animals, harboring reasonable ambition, are important to you then don’t settle. Compromise is good; settling for someone who is not a match is a recipe for a very expensive divorce, particularly in a Community Property State.

● Stay away from tailor-made arguments. Opposites do attract to a point. Personally, I am very wary about “currently separated” (ongoing combat?), “never married” (north of 50), Bible beaters or the opposite, atheists and/or agnostics…these are just fights going somewhere to happen. Personally I relish a good political discussion, but I know when it is best to fold my tent in the face of a militant extremist (Redundant? Maybe) regardless of ideology. Avoid extremism, drama queens (or kings) if you can and seek out people who are even-keeled.

● Don’t send or respond to Internet dating websites on Friday or Saturday nights. Perception is everything, and you don’t want to unintentionally send an unwanted signal. Your pithy messages and responses can wait until the morning.

● If you have eccentric hobbies, habits or fetishes, you might want to hold off on revealing these until you have established a clear relationship. I am not advocating withholding the ultimate truth. I am suggesting like any good PR practitioner to manage the flow of your information.

Finally if you are contemplating taking the plunge into online dating, my advice is to go for it, but do it with your eyes wide open. Is having that very special someone in your life the key to ultimate happiness? Maybe. There is only one way to find out. Digital tools are now at your disposal. Use them. Besides how is she or he going to find out that you are available and all the wonderful things that you have to offer?

How many times have you heard some frustrated consumer threaten to take a vendor to the Better Business Bureau? http://www.bbb.org/

With all due respect to the triple Bees, you might as well take the complaint to the Vatican, the Kremlin and the White House as well. I have never heard of anyone securing a satisfactory result taking their case to the Better Business Bureau (maybe they can prove me wrong)…but all is not lost.

In our fast-paced lives we literally deal with hundreds of service providers during a course of a given year, some better than others. We are pleasantly surprised by those who produce great results with super bedside manner. We are mildly frustrated and disappointed with those who do not perform well. But what happens in those (hopefully) few cases where we feel that we have been downright wronged?

Well, there are alternatives to contacting the Pope, the Politburo, the President or even Santa Claus. And these alternatives are digital in nature and are becoming increasingly effective.

As we all know there are literally thousands of articles and tutorials of how digital tools can be used to build brand, promote products and ideas, and enhance reputations. There are fewer accounts as to how these very same digits…the ones and zeroes…can be used to warn your fellow consumers to stay clear of a bad actor. Think of it this way, you are providing a needed public service to your fellow consumers in our service-oriented economy.

mcguire

Without rehashing the mind-numbing detail, I went through an absolutely horrendous process in selling my home in California’s East Bay. The proverbial last straw was the agent for the buyer, Tim McGuire of Alain Pinel Real Estate, reneging on a promised $500 reduction in his commission in order to facilitate the deal. This very well may turn out to be the most expensive $500 decision in his life.

I am truly sorry it had to come to this, but I felt compelled to write about this experience last month on Yelp.com, telling the absolute truth about what happened to me. I would not wish the anguish and sleepless nights on anyone. http://www.yelp.com/biz/tim-mcguire—alain-pinel-real-estate-pleasanton. The review was written and uploaded and that was that…or so I thought.

What brought my attention back to this issue was a casual search of the McGuire’s name on Google www.google.com. My Yelp review was the number three item on the first page, right underneath duplicates of his personal website http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=0h&oq=tim&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS373US374&q=tim+mcguire+realtor.

Not only was there my less-than-flattering, but absolutely on-target “review,” but his response…and the response that he coaxed from his clients, the buyers. Didn’t Mr. Tim realize that he was generating traffic to my Yelp review and with it more eyeballs to the page? In effect, he was doing a superb job in SEO or Search Engine Optimization, thus raising the profile of my Yelp review in the “eyes” of the Google search engine.

Being me, I decided to help him out by writing a response to his response. And hopefully, he will write a response to my response to his response of my review. And maybe, he can ask his friends, clients, neighbors and family to all write a response to my response to his response to my review? The more, the merrier…right?

Taking it a step further, I even recounted this episode on my Facebook www.facebook.com, Twitter www.twitter.com and LinkedIn.com www.linkedin.com pages and now my Almost DailyBrett blog.

So what is the point here? The point is that good customer service should be the norm. Why? Because if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right. And if you deliberately commit a wrong and hurt your customer, well that customer has many digital options at her or his disposal. As a service provider in this increasingly interconnected and very small world, you really don’t have that much to lose: just your reputation and hard-earned brand. Be afraid, be very afraid.

pinel

Mark Twain once said something about not getting in fight with those who buy ink by the barrel. If he was around today, he would probably implore Tim McGuire to not get in a fight with those with access to a keyboard, Internet browsers, digital websites and social media. The results may not be so pretty.

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