Photogenic Live blog pictures and video with the PicPosterous iPhone app

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 24, 2009

Ever notice how the most popular bloggers are also the most active?  It’s no coincidence.  The more you post, the more reasons you give a reader to come back.

An easy way to churn out content is to use an app like PicPosterous.   PicPosterous is a free photo and video blogging tool for the iPhone.  Picposterous image 2So when you’re out and about – or covering an industry event – you can take and publish photos and videos with no down time.  Plus, the application is dead-simple to use.

Either snap an image/film a video with PicPosterous (instead of the iPhone’s built-in camera application) or choose an image/video from your library.  PicPosterous gives you the option of creating a new album or posting to an existing album, which is great if you’re taking a series of pictures and want them to appear in the same post. Tap a button, and you’re done.

Already have a Posterous blog? Login via the app and publish to that.  You can also create a new account for free.  The benefit of registering (besides the fact that it is free) is you have access to Posterous’s email blogging capabilities, an idea we discussed last year in Start me up.

If you’re the type that doesn’t have time to update a blog – but you do have a smartphone – Posterous and PicPosterous can take care of all of your publishing needs.

PicPosterous image

Another reason to register with Posterous is the ability to automatically publish your posts to Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, and more.

Keeping content fresh (i.e. plentiful) was our number one tip at our recent Digital Marketing Meetup, the Top Ten Ideas for Creating and Managing Site Content. We've posted the full presentation online, and you can also download a PDF version here.

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  Extra! Extra! Take content on the go with Tabbloid’s RSS to PDF service

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 21, 2009

tabbloid logo

Using an RSS Reader is a great way to stay on top of industry news and trends.  You can easily digest an hour’s worth of content in about 5 minutes of headlines.

But what if you want to access content while away from the desk – or – better yet, being away from your desk is the only time you have to catch up on news articles?

Try using a service like Tabbloid, which converts all your RSS feeds into a printable PDF newspaper.   There’s no cost or account set-up involved.   Simply plug your RSS subscriptions into Tabbloid, and the service generates a personal edition just for you.  You can even schedule recurring Tabbloids by supplying your email address and setting a delivery frequency (daily, weekly, etc…).

Tabbloid is a great option for the road warrior who has downtime at the airport and in between client meetings, especially if you’re not packing a laptop or smartphone (or just despise reading micro-print on a micro-screen).  The service works smoothly, and the PDF document is quite readable.  There is, however, one tiny hiccup.

My Tabbloid didn’t pull the full story, just the headline and lead sentence/paragraph.  This isn’t Tabbloid’s fault, but rather, the result of how a blog is published and where the page divider (i.e. “read more” tag) is inserted.  Regular RSS readers are probably used to this convention, because the full story is always a click away.  Tabbloid headlines do link to the on-site article, but if you’re looking at a printout, that’s not exactly useful.

I found with some creative editing to my RSS list, the problem could be fixed (e.g. feed growth! publishes full articles for your easy viewing pleasure).


Tabbloid Sample

Many sites, including our own, pull feed content from other sources. You can easily add Delicious bookmarks, Tumblr blogs, and anything with a JSON API to your site.

Tabbloid is actually an HP product. No hidden agenda here (psych). The more you print, the more likely you are to need printing supplies like paper and ink, which HP happens to sell.

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  Choose your own venture Build your own iPhone App in 6 easy steps with SwebApps

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 20, 2009

swebapps logo

As iPhone application developers, we get requests for all sorts of apps.  While the sky’s the limit with this new marketing platform, the budget often isn’t.

That’s where SwebApps comes in.   SwebApps lets you build a basic iPhone application in 6 easy steps – and for under $500.

Keyword here being “basic”.  But if all you need is a simple way to communicate with your customers, SwebApps is the tool for you.

Here’s how it works:  SwebApps separates and corrals app potentials by industry.  Choose from restaurant, retail, business, non-profit, education, entertainment, government, or custom.  Next, pick buttons for your app’s interface.  SwebApps provides a menu of common buttons that correspond with your industry.  For example, if you’re restaurateur, you can add a reservations button, a menu button, nightly specials button, etc.   SwebApps pricing structure is actually based on the number of buttons you choose- $200 for two buttons, $300 for 6 buttons, and $400 for 8.  There’s also a one-time set-up fee of $50 per button, and if you choose, a $25/month mobile hosting fee for your data.

After your buttons are finalized, submit your information (and artwork) to SwebApps to build.   They in turn submit your app to Apple for authorization. This process can take up to several weeks, but once you’re approved, you’re app is good to go.  SwebApps gives you access to an online user management system, where you add/edit/delete information in your application (e.g. menu item changes).  You can also access any customer information your application captures, like emails and phone numbers.

Sweb Apps How To Video from magaly Chocano on Vimeo.

SwebApps is a great option if you want to experiment with an iPhone app.  If your customers respond well, then you can make a real investment in the functionality, styling, and branding of your application.

For an additional $10/month, SwebApps offers analytics on your iPhone app. Track downloads, which buttons are being used and how many times are they are being used.

App World is Blackberry's equivalent/competition for the iPhone App Store. Blackberry is still the tool of choice for the corporate set, so take that into account when deciding what application - and which application platform - to choose.

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Firestarter Create and distribute a branded interactive promotion on Facebook with Wildfire

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 18, 2009

Wildfire AppPart of creating a brand presence on a social networking site is, well, being social.  This means finding ways to engage your customers and keeping your products relevant.

Consider holding a branded contest or promotion with the Wildfire App.  Wildfire gives you the tools to create and distribute interactive promotions on the biggest social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and Ning).  You can choose from Wildfire’s existing templates or go completely white label.  There are packages and pricing for just about everyone.

Here’s how it works, choose the type of promotion you want to hold:

  • sweepstakes
  • contest
  • product giveaway
  • user-generated contest (video, photo, essay, etc)
  • coupon distribution

Wildfire provides layouts for each type of promotion, but you also have the option of creating your own custom design.  Again, it depends on the package you choose and your CSS skill level.  Once your contest/application is launched, you can start monitoring your campaign through your Wildfire account.  You can also pull data reports from your contest, like name, age, gender, email information, address, etc. of the participants.

The beauty of any social networking promotion is the built-in viral capabilities.   As someone interacts with your application, it appears in their news feed and perpetuates brand exposure.  Users also have the option of inviting their friends to participate.

In addition to your social networking application, you can create a custom contest widget for your website to reach your existing (and non-social) audiences.

Wildfire is an fbFund grant winner. The fbFund was created by Facebook and partners to reward third parties for outstanding application development through the Facebook platform.

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  Queen Bees Let influential teens socially market your products with Trendsta

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 14, 2009

trendsta logo

Teens and Tweens are a notoriously tough sale.   They rely on the influence of their own crowd, and no matter how hard advertisers try, they’re always behind the curve (that’s so, like, 5 minutes ago).

If teens are your target market, check out Trendsta.   Trendsta is a new advertising platform that takes a unique approach to cracking the teen circle of influence.  They put products in the hands of those deemed “cool” and leverage their powers of persuasion across social networks.   Trendsta already counts Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Penguin Books, and Delia’s among their advertisers.   On the Trendsta site, you’ll see conversations ranging from Microsoft Zune to SNL skits to the latest song from a band you probably never heard of.  But that’s the point, right?

Picture 3

So how does Trendsta find their influencers?  Initially, they randomly selected 50 social networking profiles (teens with networks of 600-700 people), but the current model qualifies teens on-site with a “Trend Test” (i.e. how cool are you?).   Trendsta scans each applicants Facebook profile for:

  • The number of friends they have
  • How many people comment on their status
  • How many people write on their wall
  • The number of social interactions they have

If you pass the test,  you’re eligible to become a member of the community and receive free products from advertisers.

Skeptical of the Trend Test’s validity?  Consider this.  During Trendsta’s initial testing,  they were able to follow and measure 14,000 brand-related conversations that started with the initial 50 participants.  I’d call that pretty darn influential.  Advertisers can monitor the same social conversations and measure their Trendsta campaign through a personal dashboard.

Brand communities are nothing new, but Trendsta maybe on to something here.  Instead of fighting the fact a group of 16-year-old girls control your brand image, embrace it and use it to your advantage.   The site is still a little sketchy on the details (mostly contact so-and-so for more information).  Seeing how I am neither a teen nor cool enough to pass the Trend Test, I can’t demo the product either.  ::Sigh::  It’s like high school all over again.

It's estimated that teens are responsible for $190 billion in sales last year. Pretty impressive when you consider minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and the average weekly allowance is $10-20/week.

Teens have learned to block out aggressive advertising tactics. Can you blame them? Go-to sites like MySpace are plastered in products.

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