Thank you for listening! 🙂
Hilton Hotels Eevents- Now featuring green meetings and weddings
BlueSky Factory- Our email service provider choice
Google Ad words
Organic google search Very important
Tubu.net Andy Qualye great resource!
Reasons for an event blog- get attendees excited through content, images, podcasts and videos. Address concerns see what attendees want to see. Ask for content from attendees.
Have someone in your organization who will own the social media aspect and blog.
Set up a Hash Tag (example #nsmfun2008) Everything marked with this tag
Show off this year to build on the next year using social media. (use hashtag)
www.websitegrader.com Compare your site or blog to others.
www.twitter.com (example www.twitter.com/mmcallen) Add me!
Newsletters – look at other newsletters and write your own. Use Bluesky factory or constant contact.com
Flickr.com (example www.flickr.com/meetingspodcast.com) Put up images! Have attendees put pictures up and tag them. Add us as a friend!
Crazyegg.com (Heat map to see where visitors click on your website and blog)
Linkedin.com (Search for Mike McAllen, Jon Trask, Tom Hillmer and add us!)
AdMob– Maybe try advertising on iphones
www.eventful.com (add gps to the mix)
www.upcoming.com (powered by yahoo which is a good thing)
Yahoo and google groups.
Thanks for listening! 🙂
510- 735-9690 is our new call in number! Use it!
Please leave us a question or comment, which we will try to address on the show ASAP!
Email us at [email protected]
or here on the Meetings Podcast site.
Music by the www.TheDelgadoBrothers.com
Audio mixing by www.RipTideGraphics.com
Brought to you by Grass Shack Events & Media
Copyright 2008 MeetingsPodcast
Female: You are listening to the Meetings Podcast with Mike McAllen, John Trask and Tom Hillmer. The Meeting Planner podcast source for what’s new and exciting in the meetings and events industry. The information and opinions expressed in this podcast are of Mr. McAllen, Mr. Trask and Mr. Hillmer and are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of their past, present or future employers.
Please send in your question and comments to [email protected] and make sure to visit our website for pictures, video and show notes at www.MeetingsPodcast.com
Mike McAllen: Welcome to the Meetings Podcast. This is Mike McAllen, Grass Shack Events and Media and today we’re going to do a little bit different show. Tom Hillmer, my co-host from Creative Group Inc. I’m out in Chicago is on a world wind tour looking for some venues with the client for an incentive trip he is on he is going to produce. So they’re off traveling around. I think he’s in Costa Rica today and so he wasn’t available to do a podcast.
Jon Trask of Alliant Events, he also is crazy busy getting ready for a trip to London and so I thought I’d take this time right now to do a quick podcast. I wanted to say first give a shout out to our sponsors, Blue Sky Factory, our e-mail provider of choice and also to Hilton e-Events and I’d like to thank them very much for their support.
And today I wanted to talk a little bit about blogs because I know that we’re doing a blog right now obviously. We’re using a blog software for Meetings Podcast. It’s very versatile and it does well with Google rankings or search engine rankings because there’s a lot of movement on it. Most of your websites now are on online brochure which is also very cool because you want to point your clients to sub-theme that they can go look at and find out about you or you could have a company or whoever you want to showcase what you could do, who you are, what your company story is and that’s a great thing too.
But I wanted to talk a little bit about blogs today because I know some of you out there are interested in doing your own blogs and I thought I did – I just finished doing a blog for Hilton Hotels and it’s going very well. They’re really enjoying it. It’s a great way that they’re this hotel, the San Jose Doubletree hotel which is a Hilton property. They’re getting everybody involved in it now so the sales team, everybody’s taking turns posting it and it’s a pretty cool idea. It’s good that they can get a little bit more information out there to their prospective clients. They can get a little bit of better search ranking obviously if you can buy, add words on Google and you can have this little side area there. You can actually pay to get ads up there so you can bid on words and then you could be on that side panel there on any kind of a search.
But in that center search there is organic search and that means that the Google spiders are out there all over the internet and they’re crawling around looking for the best websites for when you put in your search. So you know, in this day and age, the best thing to have is a blog or podcast or a videocast or all of the above together just because of that that they – that Google just loves these things because there’s a lot of action going on, there’s inbound and outbound links.
So you want to try and get that much up there so you can get in that all important organic search, that search right in the middle there of Google or Yahoo! or any other search engine you use. So I thought also, it’s really great to have a blog for an event. It’s a great kind of initiative that your company can do. If you have a blog already, that’s great. I thought it might just give some ideas about what you can do to increase in your blogs visibility and if you wanted to do one, you know, I thought why not? I’ll show you how to do it.
First of all, there’s a couple of different ways you can post blogs up there. There’s a lot of blog software out there but the most popular one, the free one is Blogger which is actually owned by Google and you can get that site to get started. It’s not as professional looking as some of the other ones. The most popular one I think right now is WordPress and there’s two different types of WordPress. There’s WordPress.com which is actually hosted, their hosted files are actually hosted up on the WordPress site or you can use the WordPress.org which means you’d have somebody host it for you.
So you would have all your hosted out – at a hosting company. One company that I really recommend is Tubu.net. It’s run by a good friend of mine, Andy Quayle and he has been fantastic, really popular in the social media realm of what he can – what his company does. He’s very responsive and can help you through anything which is really nice to actually know the person you could talk to and get things going. But so you can – you would – and there’s TypePad which is another one and there are some other ones but the most popular one is the one that I use which I’m going to kind of evangelize right now is WordPress.org.
It’s very versatile. You could find a designer on your own. If you need any help, just send me an e-mail and I’ll point you into the right direction. So let’s talk a little bit about what you can do with a blog. So you start to set up a blog – let’s talk about – how about a blog for a conference. Let’s say you wanted to do a conference blog. So it’s a great place for attendees to get excited about an upcoming event. It’s also a central, easy place that you can share all the forms of Web 2.0 information, you know, that you’re going to try and do for your events nowadays because the landscape is changing, the Twitters, the Flickrs, all these new things are all kind of converging on our events these days.
So it’s a great place a blog to share all these Web 2.0 things and where your attendees can come and find out what’s going on. It’s just a really kind of a great place to have. So let’s talk about that. So what you’re going to need to do is when you’re going to do this blog, you’re going to need somebody to own it. It’s very easy to build something like this but you need somebody to really to do it. So you need somebody who’s really a hard worker, somebody who has the knowledge about Web 2.0 or really just kind of desire to know how it works because all of the stuff is really not very hard. If it’s hard, people aren’t using it. That’s something to really keep in mind and there are so much information out there, you know, putting a posting on Twitter which is a micro-blogging site that you can go on. You could ask on Twitter say, you know, anything and you’ll get answers about Web 2.0 because those people are all out there right there.
The great thing about doing a blog is it helps get in the buzz rolling for your event. It’s a great place that you could post the videos; maybe from the year before using pictures from a year before, you get the conversations going with the attendees. You could also use the comment areas and do some surveys. You can find out exactly what your audience wants to see, maybe address some concerns and start to kind of mold the conference the way you want it. I mean, you’re going to get the people that are – you know, you put a forum board on that blog. You can really see what people are going to want to see at that conference.
One great thing to do before you – when you’re stetting up this blog or you’re stetting up your conference Web 2.0 area, you really want to set up a simple hash tag or tag. So let’s say you’re having a national sales meeting this year, so you would make it a national sales meeting for your association meeting. So you would say maybe make the hash tag, NSM Fun for 2008. So it’s NSM Fun 2008. So, whenever you send that out on and then make it plain and simple to everybody who’s going to this event that does the hash tag. So then whenever people are taking pictures at the event and talking on Twitter, they’re on Facebook, they’re going to put a tag that says NSM Fun 2008 on it. So anyone who’s searching for information about the event can put that hash tag into Google and look at all kinds of information and just really makes it easier for whoever wants to find out about your event to look for stuff. And that tag should be shared and shared and shared over and over and over for everything that you do. So it’ll be really great for searching.
During the event, it’s a great place to blog to give some reactions about the event. You know, you can do audio podcast like this one which is very simple. I’m just talking into my computer right here. You can do videos on site and you could upload all these onto your blog and also give them that hash tag so people can find it. Also then, you can also ask people to you know, take videos and set them to put it our there. So they’ll put their experiences up on your blog. So – or actually when you’re searching for it, they can find it with that hash tag. So it always goes back to that hash tag nowadays.
So also after the event, it gives your conference you know, some legs and it gives some you know, if you want people to be excited about it, they can go back and look at last year’s. So you can take a look at all last year’s stuff and so why not show off what happened by posting all of these podcasts, videos, and pictures of the event and start building the buzz for the next year coming up. You know, you can see how it starts the year, starting to own that organic search when someone looks up that hash tag or your event. They’re going to find all of this information otherwise, it’s just scattered all over the place. So you might as well kind of harness it all and get people watch it. So I’m kind of getting excited talking about. So that’s kind of a fun thing.
So let’s talk about some of the things you could put on your blog. You’re just going to start up this blog, you might want to look at some of the other people, your competitor, some other conferences or other companies that are having the same kind of events or stuff. You can look up, you know, set up a Google Alert on Google and have alerts. Just type in Google Alerts and you could set up Google Alerts. You can set up an alert for yourself, you can set up an alert for your competitors and everyday, you could actually – a Google alert can come to you at anytime that someone post something and the Google sends an alert.
What I do and what a lot of people do is they get a daily alert so it will come by and everything that day that was set about whatever you’re looking for your competitor or you yourself and it’ll send it an e-mail to you saying, these people are talking about you out there on the internet. Another thing is website grader which is Website Grader which is kind of a cool thing. You can put your blog up against other people’s blogs. You can see exactly who’s getting more hits. You can look at the keywords that they’re using that are good. You can kind of mold it you know, to get the most out of your blog or your website from Website Grader. So that’s a great little tool to go and look at. I’ve mentioned Twitter a couple of times probably I just start it out with that.
Now in the social media realm not really in our events and meeting as realm as much. Twitter is a huge social media talking area out there on the net. So you can set up a Twitter. You go to Twitter.com, you can get a username and you can start to join the conversation which I don’t like that term but you can get in there and start talking with people. You have 140 characters which you can put in there and then you can have conversations with different people. It’s a great networking tool. You can always add me, my handle on there is www.twitter.com/mmcallen. That’s mmcallen as Mike McAllen so it’s mmcallen and add me and ask me a question and I’ll introduce you around to some interesting people that you could follow.
I’m following a lot of event people but a lot of social media people, a lot of visual people, presentation people are kind of nerds. So I’m into all sorts of blogging and social media stuff. So add me and then we’ll get you rolling. If not, get on there. I’m sure people you know are on there. I will also put links to all these things that I’m talking about on the Meetings Podcast site so you can just go back in there and click on each of these and there’ll be hyperlinks so you just can click and go to these different places and check out what’s going on.
Another great thing to do besides a Twitter account is to sign up for as many newsletters as you can. Also maybe write your own newsletter. It’s really great to know what your competitors are doing, what other people are doing in the business. Also, get out there and look at some other things that it might not exactly be in your realm but maybe you know, keep an eye out on what other people are doing in other businesses. So it’s really a great tool, these newsletters to find out what’s happening and of course write your own.
Our sponsor is a good one to use. Blue Sky Factory is a great or constant contact is another one word they can kind of handle your e-mail, give you a lot of stats about who’s opening and what newsletter and you can kind of see who’s interested and what works on your newsletters kind of. Another one is Crazy Egg which I forgot to mention about your website or your blog. You go to CrazyEgg.com and it puts a little heat map right across the top of your blog or your website and you can kind of see where people are heating. It shows actual more clicks that it shows a heat.
So it’ll be like a red mark where people are clicking all the time. So you can really see what people are doing on your website. Where they’re clicking, what they’re interested in and then of course put more stuff that they’re interested in on your site. That’s another kind of a cool tool to use. I think you should set up a Flickr account to post event pictures, post company photos, check out other people’s photos. It’s a great again, that tags are in there so you could put a tag from your event, from your company, put those hash tags in there so people can find your stuff and it’s amazing how many people come to the Meetings Podcast site from images.
Jon and Tom and I have been talking about that you know, like Tom is on this trip right now. He’s traveling all around the world basically going to this Costa Rica and I think they’re going to Hawaii and all different incentive trip. He’s trying to find a great place for the incentive trip and I would say take pictures because people go to these pictures and if you have that hash tag in there, send them right back to your website. So if you look on our Meetings Podcast site, there’s a little widget we have on there and it shows where people are coming from who are visiting our website, very cool. It’s a free tool so I recommend if you want to put that on your own site. It’s a very cool little thing but images are really important.
So set up a Flickr account. You can look at our Flickr, my Flickr again is mmcallen. It’s mostly my personal pictures but you’re welcome to look at them. They’re open to everybody and also we have Meetings Podcast on there so I think it’s [email protected] or just Meetings Podcast. You can look for that. So we’re just starting to really get some pictures up there and start talking about some different places that we go because Tom, Jon, and I since we are separate companies, we’re all over the place. I’m going to Dallas in two days myself. I was in Florida last week, you know, and of course I didn’t take the pictures but actually I did take some pictures so – and I put them up there on the Flickr, on the Meetings Podcast Flickr page. So talk a look at that. So I recommend setting that up.
Another one is Facebook. I’m sure you’ve heard about Facebook in the news. Facebook is a cool kind of – it used to be kind of collegiate now, it’s right getting very mainstream. There are groups in there and I think we have a group in there. Meetings Podcast, I’m pretty sure. If not, it’s a great networking place just to connect with everybody. You can connect with people.
Another one is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the business Facebook and they are doing a lot of very cool things right now. We have a Meetings Podcast group in there. Please go in and join. You know, nowadays when you’re working with people, you’ll go into a link and then look them up. You could find out everything about them. If you’re hiring somebody, go into LinkedIn and look them up. See how many people are recommending and see you know, what they’ve done in the past, another great way to get things rolling. That’s more of a personal thing than a company thing but you know, for business. It’s great to be able to look up people and then of course I already talked about starting a blog and that’s a great one.
In LinkedIn, kind of a cool thing is they have question and answers. So you could really get in there and talk to other people in your realm, in your business by asking questions. They have a question and answer. So you can just go in there and a lot of people are going in there. Marketers are trying to market things that way but it’s also a cool way to get you know, your conference. If you’re doing something really special and you have a conference that you want people to come to, put it in there. Say, you know, you have some cool stuff going on and see what happens. You’ll never know. It’s a cool idea so try the question and answer area in LinkedIn.
So I think I’m giving you a lot of info right now. So what else do I wanted to tell you about? I think nowadays, there’s a lot of cool stuff. There’s a lot of mobile phone stuff going on. That’s starting to happen. I don’t know if you have an advertising budget for something but you could always – we use this thing called AdMob.com and they are starting to integrate advertising and iPhones which is – iPhones are very popular right now.
Another couple of things that you should do is make sure your events are on Eventful. They integrate with all kinds of stuff and they show the GPS location of your event. So I think GPS is going to be very popular coming up in the future so you ought to keep with that. Another one is Upcoming. Upcoming I think is the one that’s owned by Yahoo!. That’s a great one to get in there to promote your events. You know, if you’re doing like direct mail or something like that, that’s not really work anymore. Upcoming is with Yahoo! and you know, they have Yahoo! behind them so they can push their events out and really get the word out there and it’s no cost to go in there to you know, put something on Upcoming. So check that out too.
There are also lots of groups that you could go out on these different things like LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo!, Google. Go out there and search out, find these different groups and get involved a little bit. Spend a little time. Set aside some time on your calendar and just go and check out these things because kind of a good idea just to be out there and see what people are talking about and you might as well find out if they’re talking about you. I know – I was going to say two, a couple of the great search things besides Google Alert is – let me see, what did I write down to tell you guys. I’m so sorry I should have those right out in front of me.
Well one is Twittersearch.com and I told you about Google Alerts and Technorati is a good one to search too to see if people are talking about you. So I think we’re pretty good. That’s probably enough. Another one is blogsearch.google.com. That’s a great one to kind of look at to see if you can find if people are talking about your company or not.
So I kind of wrap it up. I guess I kind of gave you a big mash of social media stuff and I’ll take some time to post some links in the blogpost on Meetings Podcast so please take a look at it. And I think that’s it and I want to thank you for listening to me ramble on about the social media and please leave a comment for us on the blog page or I would love to ask if you’d been listening to Meetings Podcast do go to iTunes and leave review in there. A lot of times when people going to listen to podcast, they look up the reviews in there and we don’t have any reviews and I thought I don’t think people know to put in reviews. So if you could go in there and put a nice review, it would be a great too. If you’re feeling like you want to put a bad one in, please don’t. Just e-mail me at [email protected] or [email protected] and I will fix whatever the problem is you’re having.
Thank you very much and we will be back with Jon and Tom next week and also some cool interviews we have set up. I’m going to be interviewing a virtual trade show person coming up very soon and we have some more speakers in the queue that are ready to be posted. So thank you again. Get involved in the social media stuff. I know you probably are because you’re already listening to this podcast. I’d love to talk more about it with so send me an e-mail, give me a call, enjoy it out there and have a great day. Thank you, bye-bye.
Female: We appreciate and thank you for listening to the Meetings Podcast. You can find Mike McAllen at d72.c4e.myftpupload.com, John Trask at alliantevents.com and Tom Hillmer at creativegroupinc.com. The Meetings Podcast theme music comes from the Delgado Brothers which can be found at delgadobrothers.com. Special thanks to riptidegraphics.com for the audio editing of this podcast.