Strategic Partners. Why You Need Them.

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You and I need to make time in 2011 to seek out strategic partnerships.

I had been noodling on this for a while.  Check out the video above.  It has a slightly technical presentation (with graphs!) supporting the importance of rising above personal / lone-wolf type blogging efforts and, at some point, reaching out to other bloggers and social media marketers in strategic partnerships or syndicated content-publishing relationships.  (Props to @EricStegemann for spurring great discussion on this topic.)

Doing so, not only makes your life easier, but will also greatly scale your content publishing efforts. In other words, not only is it a good idea to seek out content partners, but ultimately it’s necessary in the long term as you try not to become the victim of your own successes.  🙂

Let me know your thoughts.  And, I’d be especially interested in learning some of your thoughts about other ideas for creating strategic partnerships.

social media mastermind orange countyP.S.  If you’re in the Orange County, California area, and will be around this Saturday morning, then I’d like to invite you to a meetup where we’ll likely be discussing this–along with a whole slew of other very interesting social marketing strategies.  Here’s more info about the Social Media Mastermind Orange County roundtable on Meetup.com.

Ted Williams Video Pulled From YouTube. What Would You Have Done?

What would you do?

What would you do if you had a “feel good” video on YouTube that was generating upwards of 12 million views?  Would you take it down?

That’s what the Columbus Dispatch chose to do recently with the now famous video of Ted Williams.  You remember him, right?  The golden-voiced homeless-man-no-more.  (See above, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.)

Ted Williams was “discovered” by a Columbus Dispatch videographer who “auditioned” Mr. Williams as he panhandled at an intersection.  Ted Williams ultimately received numerous job opportunities as a result of the video having gone viral.

Ultimately, the video made its way to YouTube where it rang the bell at more than 11 million views in the span of a few days.

Today, this…

Ted Williams Video Pulled By the Dispatch

The video now graces the front page of the Dispatch’s website.  (Where they’ve kindly provided the embed code so I can share it with you at the top of this post.)

Clearly, they’re willing to share.  They just don’t want their proprietary video being posted on someone else’s YouTube channel.  I can understand that.  Heck, my knee-jerk reaction is typically to cry foul if someone else snagged my content and put it up on their site.

Really, I get it.

But, it also got me wondering: Was that twitch-of-the-knee the only way to go?  I mean, 12 million views in a few days is link-juice-potential that I’d be loathe to expunge.

What would you have suggested to the staff at the Columbus Dispatch if you were in the room as they were debating this issue?

Let’s brainstorm, shall we? If I were the Dispatch, I might have…

  • …Uploaded my proprietary / branded copy of the Ted Williams video to my own YouTube channel. (What?? I don’t have a YouTube channel?? I’m a media company!  Why the hell not??)  Then…
  • …Tagged the hell out of my copy of the video. I’d make sure to use the same or similar tags that other people, who are posting related video content and video responses about the Ted Williams piece, are using.  That way, my video shows up as a “related video” to theirs.
  • …Placed my website URL prominently on the first line of the description field under my YouTube video. Hey, I’m not modest.  Let’s give visitors a chance to get back to my website.  And speaking of that description field, I’d make sure there are appropriate keywords that would help get visitors over to my site.
  • …Created a playlist containing the top-rated videos on YouTube where others are posting video responses and having dialog about the Ted Williams piece.  Then display that playlist on my YouTube channel AND on my website.  (Hmmm…now, if I can only get people coming over to my “authorized” version of the video.  Oh! I know!)  I might then also have…
  • …Approached whomever it was that uploaded the, now highly-viewed, unauthorized copy of my proprietary video to his/her YouTube channel. Then instead of a cease and desist, I might have compelled him / her to comply with a request to place annotations in his video.  Those annotations should link back to the playlist on my YouTube channel.  And, perhaps I might have also…
  • …Certified the Other’s copy as an authorized reproduction.  (And no others.) Then drafted a one-liner for him/her to include in his description field stating that fact, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.

Those were just a few thoughts off the top of my head.  Any rebuttals?  What would you have suggested?

5 Great Ideas for Using QR Codes to Build Your Network

MelAclaro.com QR CodeQR Codes have graced the list of discussion topics lately in some of the marketing meetups I’ve  attended.

Although they’ve been around since 1994 and have gained some traction overseas, QR Codes have only recently begun gaining increased traction here in the U.S.  Mainly because of the proliferation of smartphones.  (Gartner: 172 million smartphones sold last year; up 24%.)

How To Scan a QR Code

For my friends who haven’t heard of QR Codes, let alone having ever scanned one before, I took the liberty of placing a little quick reference tutorial through the image link below.

How To Scan a QR Code

Download the Tutorial Above (Free)

If you want to download the tutorial above, here’s the link on the left.  (It comes with no express or implied warranties… yadda yadda.)

It’s free.  No signup forms or other strings attached.  Just download it and extract it.

The particulars

It downloads as a zip file.  When you extract the zip file, it expands to include two files (index.html; engage.swf) and a folder (engage_content).  If you plan on uploading it to your server to play in your own blog, feel free to do so.  Just make sure to keep the same relative file structure.

The file that launches the tutorial is the index.html file.

The Problem With QR Codes

Why am I making the tutorial available as a free download?  Because, one problem with QR Codes is that, although 172 million smartphones were sold last year, the thing of it is, there are still a lot of folks who have never scanned one before.  So, you can implement the great tips I’m going to tell you about below, but if the person who drives by your yard sign with the QR Code on it (for my real estate agent friends) or the contact who picks up your business card with the QR Code on the back of it, has no idea about how to scan a QR Code, then it’s sort of a moot point.

What I’ve found is that it helps to also include a little knowledge enabler, along with the QR Code image placement.  It helps those folks who are still trying to wrap their head around the idea of what the heck this funny looking dotted-square-thingy is all about.

The tutorial above can be that enabler.

I’m making it available for you to download and place on your own site if you want because I figure some of you may not want to use my blogsite as the knowledge enabler.

Don’t worry, I get it.  It’s a branding thing.

So, download it.  Then, put it on your site and include a small bit.ly link to it in small type somewhere visually near where you place your QR Code in your marketing collateral.  (Full disclosure, I tried to keep the tutorial relatively brand-free so it would be of use to you.  ‘Fact is, though, I needed a couple of examples.  So in a couple of panels, it’s actually my QR Code image that’s included.  Also, there’s one panel that has a snapshot of a website; the snapshot is one of my (this) blog.  But, other than that, I think I did a pretty good job of keeping it fairly brand neutral.)

5 Great Ideas for Using QR Codes to Build Your Network

Now, if you know how to create a QR Code (should I write that post next?), then here are some ideas you may want to consider.

1.  Place it on the back of your business card. Have the QR Code link back to, say:

  • your LinkedIn profile,
  • a web page where your VCF card can be downloaded,
  • a YouTube video,
  • an About page on your blog
  • or, better yet, a contact signup form.

2.  Print one on a custom name badge. Wear it at your next trade show or industry conference.  (Same link-back examples as above.)

3.  Marketing collateral. Place a QR Code on your yard signs, flyers, postcards where the buyer / prospect can find out more about the property or product.  (Tip for my trainer-colleagues, place a QR Code on your handouts.  Have it linke back to a resources page on your site.)

4.  Products. Place a QR Code on tradeshow trinkets like cups, T-shirts and other giveaways.  (Tip for restaurateurs:  Place QR Codes on your menu and have it link directly to your business page on Yelp.com.)

5.  Your car. (Hmmm… your car?)  Well, Danica Patrick has a QR Code on the hood of her car.

Your Turn

What other ideas can you think of for the use of QR Codes for small businesses?