New Media Driver’s License will change your life – or at least get you to start a blog

I recently finished work on a master’s degree in digital media at Michigan State University. I was out of school for a few months and interviewing for jobs, and the topic of social media came up on a few occasions.

“Digital media, eh? Do you know about search engine optimization and search engine marketing? Have you ever worked with Google AdWords? Do you write a blog? Have you ever devised a digital marketing strategy?”

“Uh.. Mmm.. What’s a SEM?”

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

So, I walked away from a few interviews without an offer, but with a desire to delve into social media and digital marketing. I had heard of New Media Driver’s License (NMDL) course at MSU, but didn’t think to take it while in graduate school because it wasn’t part of my master’s curriculum.

I enrolled in the summer 2012 session and it turned out to be a tremendous experience. I learned about search engine optimization, search engine marketing PPC, digital PR and social media marketing. I worked with Google AdWords. I started a blog. And I devised a digital marketing strategy.

After the course concluded my NMDL instructor, Derek Mehraban, offered me an internship at his Ann Arbor based digital marketing agency. My first day at Ingenex Digital Marketing was interesting and everyone was eager to help me. I could tell after my first day at Ingenex that I would come away with a host of digital knowledge. Everyone was very helpful and friendly, and my first day jitters quickly subsided.

I’ll have more to report on what I’m learning in the days and weeks to come. Again, I encourage you to take the New Media Driver’s License class.

Also, I encourage you to look into Frita Batidos in Ann Arbor. It’s a Cuban-inspired restaurant a few blocks from the office, and our entire group went to lunch there on my first day. I had the chicken frita with guacamole and it was excellent.

Explore the Digital World of Marketing with MSU’s New Media Driver’s License

If you’re interested in the rapidly growing world of online marketing, this is the perfect class for you! With Michigan State University’s New Media Driver’s License, you will learn all about the different aspects of online marketing from the experts. Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, shows his students the many facets of the digital world in a fun, easy to learn way.

One of the greatest things about this class is that you are learning brand new things, but a lot of it is just expanding your knowledge of media you already use. Not everyone blogs, but it’s a pretty simple thing to do and you will learn the little extras that turn your good blog into a great blog. Most of the students who take this class already have accounts on at least one social media platform. Learn how to use platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to their full advantage.

Some things you may know little or nothing about are search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and Google and Yahoo! search rankings. When you successfully complete this class, you will have an understanding of these things and just how great of an impact they have on a business.

Another great thing about this class is that it is (mostly) online. From experience, I can say this is one of the most enjoyable and most useful classes I have ever taken. I loved the convenience of being able to do my work when it worked best for me.

Sign up now for the Fall 2011 New Media Driver’s License (ADV420) course!

 

THE NEW MEDIA DRIVERS LICENSE IS PROVIDED BY The Michigan State University Advertising, Public Relations & Retailing Deparment in Partnership with Derek Mehraban.

Facebook and Twitter Additction OK

In high school and early years of college my Facebook addiction appeared to distract me from what many others thought I “should” be focusing on. As I got older my Facebook addiction led to a fascination with Twitter and other forms of social media. Suddenly I was studying social media and digital public relations strategies in school. Within three years my degree in public relations went from cool to awesome. I was taking innovative journalism classes tailored to social media strategies and search engine optimization and all things digital. Was this too good to be true? Can I really make a career out of this?

Photo: DirJournal.com

It turns out you can. And there is quite the demand for digital agencies and social media strategist as the digital revolution continues to grow according to The Detroit News article, Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs. There is real value in social and digital and more and more people are recognizing that. The job market is fierce and there is good news for college students. According to The Detroit News Article. “By 2018 a million new jobs expected to be created.”  I don’t know if fate or luck or destiny brought me to my current internship in the digital marketing field, but the future is looking nice for me and for the digital agency.

The Detroit News: Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs

Using My New Media Drivers License

It is already December, and I am having a very hard time believing that the end of the semester is already here!  What’s more, the end of the semester signifies the completion of my public relations M.A. program at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and provides another exciting opportunity to wear a cap (which, by the way, have not become any more fashionable since my graduation from Albion College in 2009, or even from my high school graduation in 2005) and gown. As I look back on my program, one of the most prominent memories is my wonderful experience in the New Media Drivers License (NMDL) course, taught by Derek Mehraban, CEO of Michigan Internet marketing firm Ingenex, at Michigan State University.  This class, offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level, strives to teach and train students in digital marketing and new media. I easily deem it as one of the most beneficial classes of my graduate career, considering our lessons revolved around topics like social media monitoring, blogging for business, online video strategy, Google AdWords, blogger outreach and Google Tools, just to name a few.  And while I honestly enjoyed each topic of discussion, one of my favorite lessons was about search engine optimization or SEO.

With search engine optimization, certain words on an organization’s website, blog, or other form of online presence are discovered by search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, (insert favorite search engine here). The premise behind SEO is making the most of a website by using links composed heavily of keywords, while constructing “search engine friendly” content on the page.  The primary goal of search engine optimization is to attract more traffic to a website, while increasing the page rank of that site on search engine pages.  David Meerman Scott provides a very worthwhile discussion about search engine optimization in his book (our class textbook) called The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

If I had to pick out one overarching lesson from our discussion of SEO in class and in the book, it would have to be that using really broad and general terms when developing “keywords” will never work to an organization’s advantage when it comes to search engine optimization.  When we are thinking of “keyword rich links” for a site, it is important to remember that a lot of the time when conducting a search online, consumers typically look up information by phrases based on the information they are looking for (for example, “New Media Class at Michigan State University”). Having key words that are unique and special to the organization will provide more of a chance for consumers to find just what (or who) they are looking for in an effective and efficient search.

Classes coming to an end, especially the New Media Drivers License course, is bittersweet.  But I can say with all confidence that I look forward to applying all of the very worthwhile concepts from NMDL into real life situations.  If you are a student interested in public relations, marketing, advertising, etc. or you are an individual looking to become a master of all things social media and digital marketing from a personal or business standpoint, I highly recommend that you get your New Media Drivers License!  You will not regret it!

WordPress Plugin: All In One SEO

During this fall internship, we’ve been devoting a lot of time and energy to search engine optimization (SEO) — both learning what it is and how to do it, and then putting that knowledge to use. Up to this point, businesses have provided SEO as a service to those hoping to bring traffic to their website. But now it seems that might become a thing of the past. Everything on the Internet is shifting towards keywords and tags. Soon that will be the model upon which the Internet is navigated. So then one might ask, “Is there a way to automatically generate keywords based on a site’s content?” And it turns out that such methods are being developed today.

The first one I found is particularly applicable for bloggers such as myself. It’s a WordPress plugin called All In One SEO, developed by Semper Fi Web Design. I came across it last week as I was searching their plugin database for helpful tools. Out of 279 user reviews, it has an average rating of about 4 out of 5. But what exactly does the plugin claim to do? As stated on the WordPress page, the plugin should optimize your blog for search engines, generate META tags, avoid duplicate content, and more. The plugin claims to work “out of the box” for WordPress 2.3, with no fiddling necessary (Unfortunately we’re on to WordPress 2.6.2). They also say you can override META tags and specify most settings.

That all sounds great, but is there more to the story? As far as I can tell, there’s no way to confirm that the plugin is actually doing what it’s supposed to do. Time for some more research, and more writing about Digital Marketing on my own blog.

Which are your keywords?

Last Wednesday the interns and Derek dedicated the day to analyze Google Adwords possibilities. Setting a Google Adwords account is really easy but getting the most out of it may not be so easy. The following recommendations will help you with setting up your account.

The first steps after signing up for your Google Adwords account is setting a monthly budget (of at least $50, anything under that does not really show at all) and determining where your ads are going to appear. If you are starting and your business is mostly local, it will probably be a good idea for you to keep your adwords campaign also local. Another option is to set the maximum cost per click (CPC). If your keywords are very competitive, you may want to set up a high maximum CPC. Otherwise Google can set your bids in order to optimize the results.

Make sure that you get the most of the 95 characters available per ad (25 for the title and 35 for each line). While writing your ad there are some considerations to keep in mind. The first one is how accurate is your ad. If a potential customer clicks in your ad, which reads “professional photographic equipment”, and you are only selling disposable cameras that person not only is not going to buy from you, but is also going to cost you money since he/she is clicking in your ad. It is very important that your ad include the benefits of your product and/or service and some of your keywords. You can find the keywords that relate to your site by using the Google Adwords tool. Once you do this, you can see the relevance and how competitive are these words, and choose according to your site content and budget. The best idea is to combine some competitive keywords with some other more specific to your site. Being specific will attract potential customers to your site. If you are local and you only offer your product/service locally you will most likely improve your results by including your location in your Adwords ad. Also do not forget to push your customer, including phrases like order now or limited supplies will make your ad more successful.

These are some very basic guidelines for starting your Adwords campaign. If you want to learn more about Adwords and how to use it in your business you should rely on experienced professionals and contact Ingenex Digital Marketing, I’m sure they will find the most suitable digital marketing solution for your business.

The EFI Experiment . . .

How many times a day do you use Google to search for something, entering a particular word or combination of words to get the results that you want? In digital marketing, search-engine optimization (SEO) allows marketers to get their message to those people searching for information relevant to their product, reaching a larger audience and hopefully gaining some of that audience as new clients.

Part of search-engine optimization is using a unique phrase that you and you alone can claim as yours. Due to intense competition for the top spots, it isn’t uncommon to see millions of results when searching for a particular phrase (try googling Britney Spears if you don’t believe me). The goal of SEO is making sure that when a phrase is searched, your phrase is one of the top results.

Last week at Ingenex Digital Marketing we decided to conduct a small experiment and see if each of us could dominate the number one spot on Google. We each chose a phrase that we felt represented ourselves and our internships, and used that in our individual blogs, as well as using the phrases to link to each others’ blogs. My phrase of choice is ‘Digital Eco Fusion‘ and I believe that it truly does define both my internship and who I would like to be upon completing my internship. You can see a snapshot of the Google search results for ‘Digital Eco Fusion’ below; this is before I wrote using the term.

Before Experiment

Before Experiment

Once we wrote our blog posts, making sure to link back to each other, you can see the effect it had on my popularity:

After Experiment

After Experiment

Pretty cool right? Nice to see that SEO really works! This experiment has shown me that successful digital marketing requires both innovation and cooperation, and that I too can be as cool as Britney.

Experimental Marketing in Michigan

I wrote a post with this same title in my personal blog last weekend. The purpose of it was exclusively to prove that following some very easy instructions, we could make it to the top of the Google Search Results within days. So a little collective effort in tagging, categorizing, cross-linking and repeating certain terms in our posts has just been proved very successful. Now, when you google “Experimental Marketing Michigan”, the three words I choosed for my post, there are links to my post in the two first Google Search results and my post and my fellow interns’ posts are in that same first page of the search results.

I am certainly impressed with the results, especially when looking at the screen capture I made last Saturday right after I wrote my post. I look forward to tomorrow’s meeting at Ingenex for discussing the results with Derek and the rest of the interns.

Our Experimental Method

This week we set out to “own” a set of personalized keywords using search engine optimization. The goal was to try to get my blog to appear very high up in a Google search of certain keywords. I used the terms “Online Publishing Marketing” on my Digital Marketing Blog. I chose these terms because of my goal of combining web publishing (both journalism and creative writing) with digital marketing. I took a snapshot of the Google search at the beginning of the experiment, and set up a Google Alert for the three keywords. Then I blogged about it using the terms in the title, as well as the beginning and end of the blog post.

As you can see in the enlarged second image, the search terms “online publishing marketing” now bring up my WordPress blog tags fairly high in a Google search.

The other Eco-Friendly Interns and Ingenex CEO Derek Mehraban will be doing the same, and then cross-linking between our posts. Amanda Marandola posted on “Marketing an Eco-friendly Expansion.” Katie Hyzy posted on “Eco-Savvy Marketing Ann Arbor.” Pedro Martin posted on “Experimental Marketing Michigan.” Jennifer Harrison posted on “Digital Eco Fusion.” Derek Mehraban posted on “Digital Marketing Education.”

Ann Arbor Bloggers: Andrew Miller – YourSearchAdvisor.com

The Author

For the last seven days I have been following Your Search Advisor’s corporate blog. The blog’s author, Andrew Miller, is the founder of Your Search Advisor, an Ann Arbor based company that offers SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services and is located, as Ingenex Digital Marketing, in the Brickyard. In addition to his entrepreneurial efforts with Your Search Advisor, Andrew is also the co-founder of RichmondWiki, a Wiki site about Richmond, VA, where he went to college at the University of Richmond, graduating with a double degree in Computer Science and Spanish.

The Blog

As an addition to corporate websites, corporate blogs have become a great tool for companies, not only to promote their business, but also to be closer to their customers. Andrew does both things very well, in his corporate blog; he has some very interesting SEO analysis, analyzes digital marketing news and trends, and also has time for some more personal posts. Examples of this are the different topics in his last posts, which are very broad; from the very recent challenges and opportunities of an in-house SEO to the Yahoo Mash failure, passing through the analysis of the current state of the mobile web or the more personal post of how his old laptop “went nuclear”.

I think Your Search Advisor’s blog is a very interesting and enjoyable read. It is not only entertaining and written using very clear language (you don’t have to be a digital marketing guru for understanding its articles), but also very informative about the latest digital marketing trends and SEO news. I will definitely be following this blog in the future, its feed has made it to my Google Reader and I look forward to reading the upcoming post on how to be a successful in-house SEO.