Won't you be my neighbor? Tap into a local blog audience with outside.in

Posted by tom klein July 7, 2008 at 8:08 am

Even the greatest rock bands start with a small, local following. If you’re looking for a way to promote your blog and gain some new groupies, keeping your efforts close to home may be the ticket.

Try submitting your blog to a site like outside.in. Outside.in keeps tabs on all the latest stories, conversations, and events happening by neighborhood. Imagine Craigslist for blog content. It’s a great (and free) tool to help you connect with a local scene. To get your content featured, submit your blog feed to outside.in, then use their tagging system to route individual posts to the exact location you mention (or are targeting).

You can link directly to an outside.in Place Page in your post and your story will appear on a Place Page (e.g. Atlanta), the individual neighborhood (e.g. Midtown), and a blog map. Or, include a specific address or Google map link in the body. The more technically savvy can encode GeoRSS data in their feed and outside.in will route your stories accordingly.

Outside.in lets you tap into a hyperlocal audience base. If your blog is barely a spec in cyberspace, here’s an opportunity to put it front and center . . . in your neighborhood.

Think the world revolves around you? Outside.in's new radar feature gives you an even more granular view of your local happenings. Receive content as it happens and within a 1000 foot radius of your position.

It's not just all politics that's local. Thanks to the sustainability movement and the desire to reduce carbon footprints, local is what's happening in the food and restaurant business, too. This tool helps you rethink your approach when you want to target very attractive neighborhoods, not the whole area.


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  Kermit's cousins Put your brand on the map with Google Mapplets

Posted by tom klein July 2, 2008 at 7:00 am

When customers search for products or services, location is often a deciding factor. Google has long recognized this fact and has been steadily adding features to their Google Maps API. With a simple mouse click, a user can see restaurants, hotels, and gas stations as a map overlay, helping them identify and narrow down choices by vicinity.

Now, Google is literally letting companies put their brand on the map. Google Mapplets is a free developer application that lets you add your company or product information as a place point on Google Maps. Technically, it’s a mini-webpage, so pretty much anything you can think of within the constraints of html is allowed, including images, JavaScript, and Flash. Let’s say Peppy’s Pizza adds a Google Mapplet. Customers can access their menu, read restaurant reviews, or feast their eyes on their amazing Chicago-style deep dish pies, directly from Google Maps.

Mapplets are fairly simple to create but require basic web development knowledge to write the code. Considering Google is offering a free platform for exposing your brand to millions and complete content control, it may be well worth the investment.

Mapplets are part of the Google Gadgets family (as we mentioned in Gidget goes . . . on the desktop), html and JavaScript applications that can be embedded in other applications or webpages. Expect more gadgets as Google has just unveiled a single line of code that will help developers make certain gadgets open-source.

Google built an ad layer into their Mapplets application via their Adsense system. Similar to their other ad vehicles, advertisers appear as listings in your Mapplet content, and you earn revenue for every link click.


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  Quiet on the set Put your ad on the map with Google and YouTube

Posted by tom klein April 18, 2008 at 7:00 am

Not everyone’s ready to spend millions on TV ad production and media. There’s a new alternative.

Now you can embed a YouTube video into a Google map. When your potential customers find you through Google, they can watch a video that describes your business. Here’s an easy to follow example for a San Francisco bakery.

Ideally, you have already gone ahead and set up your business in Google maps, so prospects can find you easily. If so, here’s what you need to do: simply upload your videos to YouTube and ensure that the ‘embed’ option is turned on. Then, associate your video to your business listing through the Local Business Center.

For the cost of a simple YouTube video recording, you can ensure that web searchers find your video that explains in glorious detail why they should buy from you.

We talked about this capability earlier (see the article You goob!), but it was limited to Google Earth - an application with a much smaller following than Google Maps. This is just a natural step forward and another push for everyone to get smarter about video.

Do you sell a product or service that’s difficult to explain? Want to really communicate how you’re different in a way that sells? Looking for that extra edge against your competitors? Here’s an easy to use, free tool that’s just waiting for you. Get going.


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  If I knew you were coming ... Bring customers into your virtual store with Everyscape

Posted by tom klein December 5, 2007 at 2:30 am

There’s been so much hype about virtual reality for decades, it’s no wonder everyone is jaded. So, for a change, here’s an idea that’s focused on a virtual world – but we’ll be short on hyperbole.

Try attracting users to your business, using the searchable virtual world called Everyscape. Maybe you’re thinking about going out to eat in Miami and considering Cafe Ragazzi. With this Everyscape map of the restaurant, you can quite literally walk through the front doors and see everything there is to see … and how to get there. As you might imagine, even though the site is new, this sort of map can attract people to whatever business you’re in. In addition to letting people walk into your store, the system will also let you post advertisements / links to your company site.

This service should make one thing clear to you – mapping is just going to get bigger as virtual worlds are developed that are near exact replicas (but probably with more advertising). If you are looking to stand out, especially if you’re in a travel-related business (restaurant, hotel, gallery), this type of mapping may bring more customers to your door.

This site / service just launched, so they’re no doubt going to be adding more functionality and more maps over time (they currently feature maps of New York, Miami, Harvard Square, Boston, Aspen, and Laguna Beach - note high end target).

We’ve covered how to put a Google map on your site in No folding required (something that everyone should consider). An Everyscape map raises the bar, while also helping potential buyers make the final decision- you or your competitor?


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  You goob! Deliver geo-targeted YouTube videos to Google Earth users

Posted by tom klein October 31, 2007 at 2:30 am

Web based advertising is often wasted because it’s not targeted based on geography. Secondarily, there’s a certain serendipitous pleasure to finding something that’s new and local – whether it’s a shoe store or a new restaurant.

Google brings these concepts together by letting you connect a specific YouTube video to a place in Google Earth. While everyone probably knows about YouTube, Google Earth is a virtual globe program that lets you traverse the world and see everything from satellite images of your house to pictures of every key monument in the world. The novelty here is that by combining YouTube and Google Earth, local companies now have a great way to create and upload YouTube videos and then associate them with their specific location.

As more and more people rely on Google Earth as their mapping tool, they will now be able to stop on your store or office and also view your YouTube videos. This tool can serve as a virtual advertising platform for nearly any kind of business. If you have video content available, what’s the harm in advertising your brand to Google Earth’s millions of users?

In case you were wondering, you can also add other things to layers in Google Earth. You might find it easier to just add a photo to a certain location or maybe just geotag a relevant Wikipedia entry. It’s up to you.

This combination of YouTube videos inside Google Earth is referred to as a mashup - combining two web-based content and delivery systems. Compelling, targeted content should always be your objective, as vehicles for delivering it will just continue to proliferate. Now your advertising can be found in virtual worlds with just a few clicks.


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