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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Saturday, June 28, 2008

HOW-TO Grow Your Blog's Audience - Guest Post

This post is by Amy in Arizona, also known as Rocketwife. We've swapped posts this weekend, taking part in the 20somethingbloggers' Big Blog Swap. Thanks to Ben Boudreau for organizing it all! And thanks Amy for the fabulous post.

My post on Amy's blog can be found here.

I'm pretty new at this blog thing. I had a Blogspot account for a long time but it was more of a place to post pictures of my dogs and talk about "feelings" than anything else. I think the most readers I ever had in one day were three. (Hi mom! And dad! And mom again?)

I made the decision to buy my own URL and start blogging a little over a month ago. I figure out how to use Wordpress, learned what a file manager was and even set up my own email account. I was all set! Except, well, nobody was reading the website.

I would wake up each morning and say to myself, "TODAY is the day that hundreds of people read my blog! And they will love it and think that I'm SO funny!" But, each morning I would check the stats on my blog and realize that I wasn't getting any more hits than when I had my "puppy" blog.

At that point, I sat down and began to realize that readers just don't show up, you have bring them to you. It's sort of like making friends. You can't sit at home and hope that someone knocks on your door and wants to go to brunch with you. It just won't happen. You have to be proactive.

And that's exactly what I did. I started first with some very cheesy "blog" companies that promised thousands of hits per day. All I got was spam, and very vulgar spam at that! I DO NOT recommend this.

What has worked best for me is, like I said before, being proactive. I make the effort to engage in other blogs and in return, they engage in me. I post comments but not just any comments. What you say needs to be something that adds to the conversation. I don't think something like "YOU ROCK!" on a random blog would produce any more traffic than saying nothing at all.

In conclusion, I think the best things that have worked for my blog marketing have been:
1. Join websites that relate to you. If you're a 20-something without kids, don't join a Mommies-R-Us blog service.
2. Be PROACTIVE. You have to leave comments to receive comments.
3. Relax and be yourself! When it comes down to it, WHO CARES if anyone reads your blog! If you enjoy posting, then that's really all that matters!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's just about goals

Carman’s post about planning campaigns or creative based on what you or your peers or your friends will believe to be “cool” got me thinking about something we all have to ask ourselves and our clients all the time.

What’s the point?

I left a comment on his post saying that I was critiquing a client’s website (as it’s incredibly hard to use) and was told that it won awards (or was recognized in some way) at Cannes.

That’s a fabulous honour but it matters not at all. Nobody who actually tries to engage with the site, only to be confronted with a loading page and then a non-existent nav structure in a fully-Flash page (no direct linking, no image/text copying) cares at all that the site won some awards. They might be intrigued with the look of the site, briefly. But they’ll never come back. Best case, best case, they pass the link along to a friend because the site looks cool. Worst case, they never enter the contest, their friend never enters the contest, no one sends a direct link to the contest.

And that worst case is just about the current case, it turns out.

If your campaign has a goal, which should almost never be to drive traffic to a micro-site, build around that goal. If the goal is to get information on your customers through a contest, make getting to the contest, sending the link to the contest, and entering the contest the easiest friggin thing in the world.

That simple.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Glossary: % Comp UV

% Comp UV: (Or, Percent Composition of Unique Visitors) The percentage of a site’s visitors that are in your target demo.

This is why reach ain’t everything. If you have a small demo especially, you might not want to blow a ton of money on big sites with huge reach to hit them. If you try to figure out smaller sites whose visitors are highly-composed of your demo, you can probably buy on a bunch of those sites for cheaper, and still end up getting the same (or close to it) reach.

Glossary: Reach

Reach: The percentage of your target demo that visit the website you’re advertising on.

If you’re looking to hit as many people in your demo as possible by buying on as few sites as possible, reach is your metric of choice. If your target is pretty broad, you’re going to be looking at buying on the big sites like Yahoo! or even Facebook.

But reach ain't everything.

If you have a very narrow target, you can still hit them usually by going on the big sites (my Yahoo! reps tell me that when you combine all their properties together they approach 100% reach), but it’ll cost you a decent chunk of change. Why not find a bunch of smaller sites that your demo visit, and buy on them for cheaper? That’s where % Comp UV comes in.

Traffic Ain’t Everything

In fact, it's almost nothing.

“How much traffic does your site get?” This is a question commercial websites get asked a lot.

And it makes sense, right? If you’re paying to put an ad on a website, you want as many people as possible to see it, so you’d want to make sure that lots of people visit the site.

Well, that’s just not how it works.

See, most of these sites sell on a CPM basis. This means that you’re only paying when someone sees your ad. So if you buy 10,000 impressions (or 10,000 instances of someone seeing the ad), then it often makes little difference how much traffic the site gets.

If you’re considering purchasing ad space online, “traffic” is simply not a thing to worry about in most cases. Reach might be. %Composition UV should be. But traffic? Not so much.

If it is a crucial part of your decision-making process, you’re thinking about the wrong things. You’re thinking that you’re buying space in a newspaper, or on a TV show. You’re thinking about Gross Rating Points. You’re not thinking that you’re advertising on the internet.

Internet advertising allows you to measure every single time someone sees an ad, every single time someone clicks an ad. You can see where they’re from (down to the postal/zip code), you can see what browser they’re using, whether they’re on dial-up or broadband, and so many more things. And many sites offer all of these things and more as targeting options. This is not TV, this is not radio.

Traffic isn’t a thing, people. Hitting your target demo precisely, and only paying when you do -- that’s a thing. That’s the thing that matters.

Slashdot has a ton of traffic, but if you’re selling nail polish*, that just doesn’t make a difference.

*Sorry to whip out the No Girls on Slashdot cliché, but you get my point.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

HOW-TO Remove Twitter Followers

Just a heads up, if you try to get people to stop following you, you might get accused of being a “Twitter snob.” But frankly, that’s a risk many of us are willing to take. Social media tools are just that, and it’s entirely acceptable to use these tools however you want to.

So, basically, if you want to stop people from receiving your updates unless you allow them to, just go into your Settings, and check the box at the bottom to protect your updates. You’ll be able to approve/deny people who try to follow you.

If that’s a little too proactive and not retaliatory enough (someone of us like a little spite), go into your list of Followers and block the ones you don’t want following your updates anymore.

That’s all there is to it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What are you social media or web marketing questions?

Got any? Send me an email at, or post a comment. If you're wondering about social media, web marketing and copywriting, or what I had for breakfast today (hint: light roast from Just Us! on Barrington St.), let me know! I'll answer it right here on my fancy internet website. Viewed by literally several people a week!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

HOW-TO Unfriend Someone

Find his or her name in your list of friends, and click the little “x”. That’s all there is to it.

The top referrals to my site come from people searching for something along the lines of “How to unfriend someone.” It’s really not that hard, it’s not something you should be taking tons of time to think about. It’s not serious. You’re not blacklisting them, (unless you are actually going to block them, which is recommended in some cases) you just don’t consider them really good friends. Like, real-life friends, not the bastardized term “friend” we use on the internet.

If you’re considering unfriending someone, it’s the right thing to do. You can always friend him again, later. “But,” you say, “won’t they be offended?” Maybe. But seriously, if you’re done having him on your friends list, why do you care? Someone who makes you feel obligated to friend them is far from a friend, he’s a leech.

Facebook for almost all people is a collection of names and nothing more. It’s not a network of trusting and trusted friends. It’s a phone book with pictures.

You don’t have to friend your boss, you don’t have to friend your coworkers. You don’t have to friend anyone you don’t want to. If you’re worried that your boss will be mad at you, then you have a pretty terrible job, and a much bigger problem than internet etiquette.

Imagine a world where your friends list is populated only by close, real-life friends. People you trust with your personal thoughts and feelings, people you can count on to help you out and who you want to help. You know, friends. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to censor your thoughts about something because you’re worried the wrong person might see it?

Oh, and if you’re thinking, “But what if a real friend on my list sees something I’ve written and then passes it on to someone else?” Well, if you’re concerned about someone doing that, then he’s not your friend.

Unfriend him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You'll have another best idea

Don't save great ideas for media or creative executions (or anything, really) because you think they might work better with some ideal future campaign or situation. Use it as soon as you can, even if it feels like you're "wasting it" on a campaign that's not high-profile, or doesn't have a huge budget.

You'll have another best idea ever.

You might worry that you won't, though, that you have this one great thought that you need to save until you have the perfect opportunity to use it the way you think is ideal. You're sabotaging yourself, though, and you won't be happy with the campaign you're working on, and you'll never be happy with your great idea because you'll likely never get to use it exactly how you'd like to.

People who seem to have great ideas all the time are no different than you or I, they just use the good ideas they have as soon as they come to them, confident that, eventually, another good one will follow.

It's frustrating to talk to someone who says that they had a great idea for a website or advertisement, or anything else, but they didn't use it because they wanted to "save it."

People don't care if you have a great idea you're holding onto, they only see that you're not executing on any great ideas. It's small consolation that maybe someday you'll be of some use.