Making Communications Buzz

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Online Home for Mark McLaren and Making Communications Buzz

This blog, Making Communications Buzz, has moved to the new McBuzz Communications website located at

There will actually be two blogs at the main blog on the home page, and a new blog by Mark McLaren, the Web Marketing Pro Blog, for technical and advanced topics.

Come check it out!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Search Optimized Press Release Template: Web Marketing Meets "PR 2.0"

When it comes time to do a press release about your new or existing business, here's a resource that may come in handy. A PR firm called SHIFT communications has created a template for a Web 2.0-optimized press release they call a Social Media News Release template.

This is brilliant self-promotion on the part of SHIFT. It's also a very useful resource for businesses and Web marketers alike. The traditional press release pales in comparison.

We need to think in terms of optimizing all our marketing and PR materials from the outset, not after the fact. And with a blog-enabled website, you can put every piece of marketing and PR you create up on your site the same day.

SHIFT communications
Social Media News Release template
(see callout at bottom right under "Accelerators")

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Web Marketing: Does "Monetizing" a Website Hurt Its Credibility?

Somehow, when I am taken to a page like the one below and bombarded with ads, I become skeptical about the website's motivations and its reliability as a source of useful information.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mark McLaren and National Workplace Napping Day: Why Google Search Marketing Is Not Yet a Science

When Making Communications Buzz got off the ground in April of last year, my second post was about National Workplace Napping Day. It was intended to be humorous, but now I guess the laugh is on me.

Here is one example of why search engine marketing is not a science.

Part of search engine marketing is search engine optimization, which means doing things that make web pages show up at or near the top of search engine results, like adding descriptive, keyword-rich text to the page, getting the right web sites to link to that page, making sure the site is listed in directories like the Open Directory Project ( and so forth.

When you hire an "SEO" or search engine optimization company like McBuzz Communications, you expect that they know all the right things to do to get your web pages to show up high in search engine results.

But there are always a few more variables to account for than even the best SEOs know about. Sometimes this leads to unexpected and, depending on your perspective, humorous results.

Take Mark McLaren (me) and National Workplace Napping Day, for example.

Do a search on Google right now for "National Workplace Napping Day". You will find this blog, Making Communications Buzz, on page one. Cool, eh?

No, not really.

This suggests that, out of about 459,000 web pages indexed by Google, Mark McLaren and the one-day-old McBuzz Communications blog had something important and authoritative to say about National Workpace Napping Day — on April 4, 2006 — and I was able to do so in a pithy 138 words.

Read the post and judge for yourself.

Now search Google for "Mark McLaren". You will find this blog on page 7, or maybe 8. Who's counting? Until a few weeks ago, Making Communications Buzz was basking in the glory on page one. What happened? I have no clue. As someone who makes a living telling people how to optimize a web page — among other things — you would hope that I could explain this.

My response is that, like Saturday Night Live's Middle-Aged Man says about his beer gut, I'M WORKING ON IT!

But can anyone explain why Making Communications Buzz should be on page one of Google results for "National Workplace Napping Day"? Some matters in SEO are just beyond comprehension. But this makes it fun and keeps SEOs on their toes.

And until I figure it out, look for me on page one of Google results for "Saturday Night Live's Middle-Aged Man".

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Realty Blogging: Marketing a Business Using a Blog Gains Focus

The idea that you can market a business using a blog is beginning to catch on.

[This blog, Making Communications Buzz, has moved to the new McBuzz Communications website located at]

If you are considering a redesign of your business website, don't take another step until you have looked at the possibilities opened up by "blogging" software like WordPress. WordPress is evolving into a fairly sophisticated content management system. It allows you to edit and update a website with no knowledge of HTML or any other code, and it's great for search engine visibility. I will return to this topic in coming posts.

The purpose of this post is to point out that marketing a business using a blog — and the information available to help you do so — is becoming more specialized. This is a great thing for anyone with a business to promote, and it's another reminder that blogging is not just for teenagers and techno-geeks.

A new book, Realty Blogging: Build Your Brand And Outsmart Your Competition (McGraw-Hill 2007) is reviewed by Gayle Pollard-Terry in the print edition of the Los Angeles Times (Sunday, March 11, 2007). Authors Richard Nacht and Paul Chaney are marketing consultants who offer clients direction in setting up and maintaining a blog to promote their business. Nacht and Chaney specialize in serving real estate businesses.

Their website,, calls itself "A Network of Blogging Evangelists Writing On Effective Real Estate Blogging". Good idea!

In coming years, we will see innumerable analogous sites, networks of "Blogging Evangelists Writing On Effective [Your Field Here] Blogging."

Here are the bullet points from the cover of Realty Blogging. This is what a blog can do for your business, according to the authors.

  • Build your brand
  • Find new customers
  • Attract major search engines
  • Dominate your market niche
The first three are well within reach for anyone who starts and regularly maintains a blog. The fourth may require a bit more than a blog to accomplish.

Before you can dominate your market niche, you have to define your market niche, and this is something owning and operating a business blog will help you to do.

Perhaps one of the greatest things you can do to promote your business — whether it's a small privately-owned shop, a start-up looking for funding, or a major corporation — is to perfect a 60-second "elevator pitch". This is the quick summary you give to anyone when you first meet and they ask, "What do you do for a living?"

A strong elevator pitch goes a very long way toward advancing marketing goals. It grabs people's attention, and states clearly and succinctly what sets your business apart from the competition.

By blogging regularly about your industry, you can learn to define what you do in concrete terms that your customers and your peers understand. Blogging about your industry, and your business's place in it, is like honing your elelvator pitch. You think about it before you "put it out there," and once you put it out there, you see how people react. If you get blank stares, don't worry! Tweak the material, find something more interesting to say, and try again.

It's trial and error all the way. Persistence pays off. Just be sure to ask for — and listen to — feedback.

If you are not getting any feedback, then start sending people links to your blog posts via e-mail. Ask them directly to read a post and to let you know what they think. Tell them you would really appreciate their feedback!

And ask them to forward the link to anyone else that might be interested, because you plan to write more about this topic in the future and you would like to incorporate their thoughts and address any questions they may have in your next post.

Marketing a business well is an ongoing conversation will customers, prospective customers and peers. Blogs make it possible to extend that conversation around the block, or around the world, all for the cost of web hosting and a little setup. Amazing!

Let me know what you think!

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Philadelphia Pet Adventures: Business Blog Brings Buzz

McBuzz Communications recently helped Philadelphia Pet Adventures of Philadelphia, PA, launch a new website and blog.

It's a local business looking for visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Both the owners happen to be great writers, and this certainly helps when it comes to creating web marketing buzz using a blog. But it's possible to use a blog to gain search engine visibility even if writing is not your favorite thing to do.

There are many other possible sources of content for a blog. If you know someone who has expertise in a particular area relevant to your business, they may already have written a short article or presentation for some other purpose. Ask if you can use all or part of their work on your blog -- with attribution. There you have it. If you can find just one of these already-existing sources each month, you have half of what you need to keep your blog going.

Another excellent way to generate content for your blog is to do a short survey or review of existing resources. People are always looking for a good tip. There are lots of good resources out there, but who has time to look for them?! If you have experience with a particular kind of resource that's helpful in your line of work, sit down for a few minutes and compile a list, with a brief note saying what's good about each one. You don't have to love writing to be able to do this. Just imagine you are telling a good friend about it.

Here's one example from a fantastic blogger at Intuit named Avinash Kaushik. See his "Recommendation #6: Best WordPress Plugins" in that post. It's a list of additional features for blogging software called WordPress. The subject matter is not important. Just check out how Avinash gives a run-down of available resources.

This example is loaded with keywords (terms) pertaining to publishing a blog, which is great for search engine visibility with respect to those keywords, AND it positions Avinash's blog as a resource for people working in this field, which makes others want to link to his blog / website. In short, it's what good "search engine optimization" is all about.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Mark McLaren, McBuzz Communications and Buzz Marketing: A New Is In The Works

Mark McLaren and McBuzz Communications will be launching a new blog-based website at in the next several weeks — hopefully no longer than that!

Here's a preview:

The current Making Communications Buzz site and the McBuzz Communications site will be combined at

"Buzz Marketing" has never been easier thanks to free content management software from WordPress and others. The new will be a resource for any business or organization seeking to get their message out on the Web. In some respects, "Buzz Marketing" is becoming so easy that, if I do my job right, McBuzz Communications will become obsolete.

See you soon at the new!