All posts in "In the Media"

Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Professional Voice Talent for Your Project

You’ve built a killer explainer video and now you’re about to hire a Professional Voice Talent for your project. But wait, there are alternatives that will save you money and build up cool points with your audience.

1. You already spent thousands of dollars on the development of the project

With all the writing, filming, editing, and media buys, you really have no money left for the voice part. Plus, anyone can talk, so it’ll be easy to find someone with a nice voice who can read the words in a few minutes.

 

A professional voice talent pays attention to the details behind your message allowing it to stand out just as you intended. Whether it be a commercial, a video for your website or a training for your employees, a trained voice actor enhances the words you chose to convey your product and represent your brand.

2. A professional image and greeting when potential clients call your business isn’t that big of a deal

Go ahead and have the receptionist voice the entire phone tree. It’s okay that she sounds like a cross between a valley girl and Marge from The Simpsons… people can relate well to that. Plus, if you give it to Hot Sally in accounting who “has a nice voice”, this could so be your in with her.

 

Your phone greeting is your first impression for many people reaching out to your business. Don’t miss an opportunity to make a great first impression.

3. You love the authenticity

Quickly slap together a recording on your iphone – that’ll be good enough. those mouth noises, HVAC systems, computer buzz and room echo when your staff members record on a USB mic at their desks add to the true authenticity your company represents. Recording environment just isn’t that big of a deal…

 

A pro voice talent uses quality equipment, and excellent microphone, has a quiet treated environment designed for recording and has a clear voice.

4. You’re the Boss and it is all about you

As the owner of the business – who sounds like he’s eating a sandwich whenever he talks and never lost his thick Jersey accent – you need to be the star of the commercial.

 

A trained voice actor lets your message be heard and engages your audience without distracting with strange accents or mumbled words. You’ve gone to all the trouble to convey your message – why would you skip the step of making sure it is delivered with excellence so your listener can receive it well?

5. Professional voice actors sound *too* good

And they pronounce things funny (aka – correctly). Why spend money when you can have just “good enough?” The neighbor next door will do it for free.

 

Whether it’s the sound of your neighbor next door, a friendly employee or a polished authority, a professional voice actor has experience that allows them to be versatile to deliver the specific sound you need.

6. Because…. Every… One…. Loves… It…. When…. They…. Sound…. Like… A… Robot…..

You know that “I’m reading the lines” kinda read. You’ll sound clear, everyone will understand each word and that monotone 1980’s AI robot voice does wonders for your branding.

 

Sounding natural is harder than you think. Even for seasoned pros that talk for a living. The natural, talking to your friend, girl next door sound takes a lot of practice.

7. You will become addicted to our sunny personalities and professionalism and not be able to stop hiring us.

That can get expensive since they are PROS. You will no longer be able to pay your bills. They are that powerful.

In all seriousness, the only videos that you should be voicing over in house are the ones you are doing on Facebook Live – directly. Let a Professional Voice Talent handle the advertisements, explainer videos and phone lines. Your pocket book will survive and your branding will be fabulously represented. Huge shot out to Melanie Murphy for helping us with this post. You can see more of her on the Voice Over website: http://www.melaniemurphyvo.com

Have you worked with a Professional Voice Talent or tried the DIY method? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

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Featured: Klustter marks 2017 Social Media & Marketing Conferences

Shout out and huge thanks for the Social Media & Marketing Conferences 2017 for featuring us on their Klusster helping to promote the DIGIMARCON CRUISE 2017 Digital Marketing Conference that takes place April 16th to 23rd, 2017 onboard the Royal Caribbean ‘Oasis of the Seas’ Cruise Ship departing Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, sailing to Nassau (Bahamas), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) and Philipsburg (St. Maarten).

Unfortunately, I will not be attending or speaking at the 2017 event as advertised.

If you have a chance to make it to the next event, and you love cruises, this event is an interesting option. The conference is incredibly small. The first conference in 2015 was populated with mostly speakers. The 2016 conference where I did actually speak featured a handful of speakers and fewer paying attendees + their spouses.

I did reach out to the event creator and producer, Aaron Polmeer, about returning to the event, but as a partner to grow the conference. My plan was to add on workshops and create a VIP experience for my audience that attended. This did not sit well with Aaron as he felt like I was creating a separate conference on top of his venture. Miscommunication.

Brand Dot Blog has considered partnering with Roberts High Performance LLC and the Business Growth Network for a VIP Business and Marketing Cruise for 2018. The conference at sea is a fabulous idea and has the capability of creating a tight nit group of peers and resources unlike any conference I have ever attended or spoken, but this event left much to be wanted.

Again, Huge thanks to the Social Media & Marketing Conferences for the shout out!

Are you the type that would take a week out of your year to participate in a week long cruise and conference? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

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New Updates to Facebook Algorithm

If you don’t already know, there is a Facebook algorithm to decide who sees your updates and when. These algorithms change all the time! Which means that as a business owner, you need to adjust your strategies as Facebook makes changes to their strategy

Facebook’s latest update is actually two separate updates this time.

These updates will impact your visibility in the News Feed not just for individual updates, but for your Page as a whole.

What does that mean? It means pay attention and make changes accordingly.

Wanna make sure you’re playing by the new rules as of February 1, 2017?

In an effort to show people the stories that are most relevant to them, the Facebook algorithm is making the following changes:

  • Incorporating new signals to better identify and rank authentic content
  • A new way to predict and rank in real-time when posts might be more relevant to you

So, Facebook is fine-tuning their ability to measure real-time signals, and they’re paying closer attention than ever to whether or not your updates are authentic.

In general, there are two major identifiers on Facebook:

  • Personal signals are specific to you the user. These are effected by your personal behavior interacting with other posts. Ex: When you interact with someone on Facebook, you are more likely to see their feed in the future.
  • Universal signals are specific to user or Page postings an update and are based on what is posted in general. Ex: If your business page frequently receives high engagement rates with likes and comments, the posts will be shown to more users.

New Signals to Identify Authentic Content

False and misleading news has been a serious issue in the past year on Facebook. Users want information that is genuine and not misleading, sensational or spammy.

But how can Facebook possibly stop this nonsense?

When ranking News Feed, Facebook looks at many signals personal to you, such as how close you are to the person or Page posting, as well as more universal signals like the overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) that a post has. So what did we all do? Game the system! We asked for engagement, we started exploiting images and videos for engagement and Facebook got mad.

With this update, Facebook is adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, they categorized Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares. Facebook then used posts from these Pages to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.

If a post is likely to be authentic based on the new signals we look at, it might show up higher in your feed.

What does that mean for you:

  • You can not ask for likes, comments and shares. Some Pages explicitly ask people for likes, comments, and shares as a way of increasing their reach – a tactic that the Facebook algorithm believes is dishonest and inauthentic. Ask a question, but skip the words “like”, “comment”, or “share”.
  • Graphics only live streams
  • Don’t post inflammatory content people will report
  • Don’t post or share lies. Facebook has used the habits of Pages that regularly share inauthentic updates to build a model that can automatically identify and predict whether or not other Pages’ updates are authentic.

Updates to Real-Time Signals

When ranking feed to determine the relevance of a post, Facebook algorithm always looks at real-time signals, such as whether a friend has just commented on it. They continue to improve News Feed to evaluate the importance of different signals at different times.

With the new Facebook update, they will now take into account how signals change in real time. So now if there is a lot of engagement from many people on Facebook about a topic, or if a post from a Page is getting a lot of engagement, Facebook can understand in real-time that the topic or Page post might be temporarily more important to you, so they will show that content higher in your feed.

For example, if your football team, the Patriots, just won the Super Bowl, Facebook will show you posts about the game higher up in News Feed because people are talking about it more broadly on Facebook.

Does that mean that all of your Page updates should be relevant to the exact moment?

I hope not! You would never have time to work.

What you do isn’t always going to be that timely. In fact, an overwhelming majority of marketers prefers planning their Facebook updates well in advance. Even at Brand Dot Blog, we schedule based on a custom content calendar and offer 365 post created for the entire year. Obviously, this can not possibly be relevant to the exact moment…or can it?

What does that mean for you:

  • Continue adding evergreen content that is relevant to your business
  • BUT consider a content calendar with trending days like #HotdogDay
  • And with regularly scheduled content, you are free to make those up-to-the-moment post as needed for big events – like the Super Bowl.

Will This Impact My Page?

Facebook anticipates that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in the organic News Feed. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic or outbound clicks, and some Pages might see minor decreases. Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences.

What do you think of the Facebook algorithm changes?

Do these changes make sense to you?

Will they influence what you share on your feed in the future?

Do they address concerns you might have, or that you’ve had in the past?

Share your all your thoughts in the comments below!

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100+ Business Tools to Make Your Life Easier

My Vision Challenge with the Business Growth Network showed me I needed business tools that allow me to work anywhere, anytime, efficiently so that I can enjoy the profits of my business. The applications below are vital to building not just my business, but those of my clients. I use these apps to build my business, run and manage my employees and clients, and handle mundane & time consuming tasks.

Sales & Marketing Tools

  1. ActiveCampaign: Yes, I know – MailChimp is free, but it’s double opt-in, weak integrations and CRM limitations are holding back your business. Constant Contact isn’t worth the price! ActiveCampaign starts at just $9 a month and offers full automation! Your CRM (Contact Relationship Manager) and email list is one of THE most important tools in your tool box. Choosing the wrong Email and CRM manager can cause painful challenges down the road. It’s important to start with the one you need from the beginning in order to save yourself time, money, and stress later as your business expands. Bonus: Pulls social media data so you can connect with your customers everywhere they are!
  2. OptimizePress: A full website theme and layout creation tool that creates websites that are tailored to convert your online audience. OptimizePress is the new way to create high converting landing pages, sales pages and even membership portals. Plus, you buy it once and you own it unlike competitor Thrive Themes.

Social Media Tools

  1. HootSuite: This is the #1 tool for for Social Media Management all around. If you are attempting to utilize social media in anyway, Hootsuite is a must and comes at a great price. You can collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks like Facebook and Twitter from one web-based dashboard. It is the essential tool for managing social media, tracking conversations and measuring campaign results via the web or mobile devices. Hootsuite offers a free, pro and enterprise solution for managing unlimited social profiles, enhanced analytics, advanced message scheduling, Google. Analytics and Facebook insights integration. This is an all-around great tool for any social media manager, digital marketer or small business owner to schedule post through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram (but poorly thanks to Instagram’s closed API.) Downside: No Pinterest scheduling and you have to pay much more for stat reports above just the basics. Unlike MeetEdgar, post only roll through once and you have to manually schedule them.
  2. PostPlanner: FREE to start with just one account attached and additional plans start at just $7 for individual users plans up to Enterprise level agencies. Post Planner makes it easy to FIND, PLAN and POST content that is scientifically proven to increase social media engagement on Facebook & Twitter. Great for those managing one personal account.
  3. Buffer App: A smart and easy way to schedule content across social media. Think of Buffer like a virtual queue you can use to fill with content and then stagger posting times throughout the day. This lets you keep to a consistent social media schedule all week long without worrying about micro-managing the delivery times. The Buffer app also provides analytics about the engagement and reach of your posts. Suggests content to share with suggested quotes as well – has a great scheduler! But honestly, I use Hootsuite exclusively.

Graphic Design Tools

  1. Snappa: The easiest graphics design tool you’ll ever use. For under $12 a month or $144 for a year, you can create amazing designs sized perfectly to every social media platform with additional access to 10,000 FREE sock photography with full commercial rights. Boom. I use this to create images for slides, ebooks, email headers, blog headers, content, infographics, profile and cover photos….pretty much everything. Start from scratch or use their templates. Upload transparent background PNG files like your logo or picture to quickly personalize and brand images.
  2. Typic for Apple: Add words and stamps, logos, and even light editing in an application on your phone for only $3.99
  3. Enlight for Apple: Think Photoshop like editing but simple, inexpensive and on your phone.
  4. PicCollage for Apple: for combining several photos and adding text
  5. Ripl for Apple: turn boring static post into videos
  6. Adobe Spark Video for Apple iPad: create dynamic videos in minutes with images and voice recording
  7. Canva: The fan favorite in image creation and a direct competitor to Snappa. Canva’s suite of features make it easy to turn ideas into stunning designs. Simply search for the best graphics, photos, and fonts, then use Canva’s drag and drop tool to create a design. If you use your own images and the free fonts and backgrounds they provide, Canva is a free service. If you use templates made by others or the stock photography then costs can add up. I prefer Snappa overall but Canva does have some pretty cool graphic templates for everything from social media post to restaurant menus and print ad designs.

Video Creation & Distribution Tools

  1. WebinarJam:
  2. EverWebinar: The webinar system that allows you to prerecord webinars and video material and play at anytime. The technology for webinars can be tricky, but I find this straight forward. Bonus: I can hangout in the comment box and answer questions live on the side.
  3. YouTube: Will host both public (content) and private (for training and EverWebinar) videos.
  4. Amazon S3: For hosting, for free or cheap, videos and documents. I have only used connected to EverWebinar and I find it tricky, but it is logo free unlike YouTube. AWS Free Tier includes 5GB storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests with Amazon S3.
  5. KeyNote: The Mac version of PowerPoint; inexpensive and easy to use. I build dynamic presentations in Keynote and download the slides as a video for Webinars and training videos.
  6. QuickTime Player: Free on every Apple computer and can easily do live screen capture with audio! No additional or clunky applications.
  7. iPhone 6+: Take amazing quality videos. Combined with the GlamCorTec below, shooting them is a breeze. Uploading them into iMovie is intuitive or directly to YouTube. I recommend the one with lots of extra memory.
  8. GlamCorTec: Filming and lighting with your cameraphone! Love this beauty – best money spent 🙂 Use the Multimedia Extreme to film your tutorials for YouTube by adding a camera, iPad, iPhone, or Samsung phone. Cool LED technology and color temperature adjustability for HD makeup, film, and photography will deliver you the highest-end illumination.
  9. iMovie: Free on all Apple computers, new IPhones and tablets. The learning curve can be steep, but you can produce high quality videos with cuts, transitions, text and so much more relatively quickly. Create demos, training videos, and add outs and intros. I keep waiting till the day I’ll need to upgrade to Final Cut Pro – but that day has yet to come.

Customer Support

  1. ZenDesk: Streamline your customer service interface, create support boards and streamline your response time.
  2. GetSatisfaction: A great customer community platform for interacting with your users, getting feedback and providing technical support.
  3. SurveyMonkey: Build free surveys to conduct market research, and keep a pulse on customer desires and satisfaction.

Website Development Tools

  1. WordPress: This platform currently powers 23% of the Internet and is the easiest way to create a website or blog fast. It’s a powerful platform that grows with you and is easy to manage even with multiple users. It’s the website technology that any business owner (who truly knows what they’re doing) uses every time.
  2. A2hosting: For hosting we use a2hosting and cringe when clients tell us they are using GoDaddy – not only are they more expensive, they offer less. a2hosting makes launching a WordPress site incredibly easy with no uploading or messing with FTP files. A2hosting includes everything the competitors offer (that matters) at a better price with awesome customer service. Their tech gurus have gone out of their way to fix my most horrendous mistakes.
  3. OptimizePress: A full website theme and layout creation tool that creates websites that are tailored to convert your online audience. OptimizePress is the new way to create high converting landing pages, sales pages and even membership portals. Plus, you buy it once and you own it unlike competitor Thrive Themes.
  4. 99designs: Run a graphic, logo, or web design contest, and walk away with multiple ideas and access to hundreds of designers.
  5. Amazon Web Services: An amazing service that allows you to run your entire business from the cloud, from business applications to mobile apps.

E-commerce Tools

  1. Recurly: For any business that offers subscription or recurring billing, Recurly provides a simple solution for getting this done.
  2. Shopify: Set up a fully hosted and customizable online shopping cart that accepts all global currencies.
  3. Vendio: A platform for selling your goods on multiple e-Commerce channels, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook and more..

Business Operation Tools

  1. Evernote:
  2. Google Docs:

Human Resources Tools

  1. ZipRecruiter: Find better talent with cross-job-board posting, resume screening and a point-based score chart to find the best candidates.
  2. Intelius: Run a background check on prospective employees, browse criminal records and other information to make sure you’re hiring only the best people.
  3. AnyPerk: Reward employees with one of the most comprehensive perks programs out there, which provides discounts in countless services.

Accounting & Finance Tools

  1. Sage Accounting: Quickly manage payroll and manage your business receipts for free.
  2. Expensify: Get a handle on all of your business expenses and invoices so you can concentrate on more important things.

Legal Tools

  1. Legal Zoom Business Attorney Plan: This attorney plan specifically tailored to small businesses provides attorney reviews of contracts and other legal documents, for a fraction of the price.
  2. Docusign: The most prominent service for eSignatures that is both legal and secure

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DigiMarCon 2016: Xplor Park in Playa del Carmen

Xplor Park was by far my favorite excursion while on a Royal Caribbean cruise I took in April when I was speaking at the DigiMarCon Cruise 2016 event! I did Xplor since I was on a cruise by myself and this is the type of activity that my family member won’t join me for.

My favorite activities were in the natural caves with stalagmites and stalactites. So quiet and beautiful. There are options to swim or paddle through.

I did both zip lines and I am afraid of heights – extremely safe hardware and well trained staff. I never felt unsafe at any point. Do these first as soon as you get there as they are the ones where the line gets the longest through the day.

I road in the buggies through caves – little irritation here as they are not single friendly – they make you pair up as a single female. They said men too but I saw several men riding alone getting off.

Prepare for lots of walking, some waiting in lines, steep ramps and lots of stairs. Sun is not much of an issue – they don’t want you wearing sun lotion or bug spray to keep the natural water clean. Tons of shade is available and with no bug spray, zika virus scares – I never got bitten once. 5 star level of facility and grounds.

The bar was the best with fresh squeezed juices unique to Mexico. I could have sat there all day and guzzled them.

The food buffet was awesome if you love healthy food! Every nut, huge salad buffet, fish, chicken – after all the overly salted, buttered and general fat food from the vacation – this was a blessing.

Warning – to participate at Xplor Park, you do not need to be an athlete, but you do need to be in shape and able to keep up with activities. I saw several people who thought they would try and just gave up quickly and sat at the bar (non-alcoholic). This is also not a kid friendly activity under like age 12. I saw several toddlers and small children who were miserable and often times, scared like terrified, being dragged along by parents.

Have you been to Xplor Park or have questions before you go? Let me know in the comments below!

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Why I Love Dallas

The past month has seen more than its fair share of trauma and Dallas, Texas took center stage. We could all use some positivity in our day and a moment to remember Why Dallas Will Always Have My Heart.

This post is part of a broader campaign, an initiative by the Ozarka Brand Natural Spring Water that is asking individuals from across Texas to tell why the love where they love where they live. Having moved to Frisco now one year ago, Dallas still has my soul.

1. Dallas has the best skyline in the world.

Yes, I said it, Best skyline in the world. USA Today agrees here, I’m not the only one. There is just enough light to be beautiful, not enough to be annoying. Buildings have shapes, not just boring blocks. And in the last few years, even the oldest buildings have retrofitted their lights to LEDs that can change color. When cops were shot and killed, the city turned blue. When the Mary Kay convention comes to town, the world is all pink. SMU wins a major game, we go red and blue.

A photo posted by ✨Kris✨?? (@cp_2.0) on

2. Best Places to Clean up on Pokemon Go

For a a lovely day trip hunting down Pokemon, head to uptown. Don’t forget to bring a few water bottles, shameless Ozarka plug here, but seriously – it’s Texas, you need water. It might as well be bottled in Texas from 3 local springs, filtered by our own underground caves for some straight up Texas taste.

Next, park in the West Village parking lot which is free. Proceed to the nearest Starbucks, the safest waiting spot for the McKinney Area Trolley (also free). Jump on the trolley, which is old, filled with history and will be your host for the rest of this adventure. Make sure you have eggs ready to go in their incubators and plenty of free space in the back pack. Because the Trolley rolls at a slower pace, your eggs will work through their kilometers to hatch with no walking on your part. Its uptown & downtown, filled with art and historical markers AKA PokeStops that you will be able to pick up without ever getting off the trolley. And again, trolley goes slow enough you can pick them all up.

For a truly adventurous trip, hop of for local food trucks, the dog park, the kids splash park – All in One – at Klyde Warren Park. Or the Perot Museum. Or the Dallas Museum of Art. Or the Nasher Sculpture Museum. All loaded with Pokemon, people, culture and good times. And when you are done, hop right back on the trolley, make the loop, clean up again, and land at Starbucks to collect your car with hatched eggs, 100+ Pokemon and over 10,000 in Stardust.

The trolley is free, but be kind and add plenty to the tip jar to keep it that way.

3. The Oak Lawn Neighborhood

If you don’t already know, Dallas is a city of neighborhoods. Each one has a unique look, feel and vibe that collects the respective members of it’s tribe to the hearth. Oak Lawn is a place my LGBT friends can hang out and are free to be themselves without ridicule. It’s also a place I could invite friends, family, neighbors and strangers into my 4 story townhouse for FABULOUS dinner parties in the city. They understood my cheese tray. In Frisco, the only cheese that gets eaten outside my family, is the cheddar blocks.

We recently threw a large party for my youngest, Miss Bella, a Frozen Elsa & Anna themed party with a cheese tray. Big hit when I added the Black Garlic & Rosemary Sauce by the Jelly Queens (Also from Texas, but Austin :).

I had put out the Paqui Tortilla chips and queso by the Cookwell Company, but they got eaten so quickly I never got a picture! Because – again – Texas. We love all things even remotely Mexican food.

4. Katy Trail interlinks the city

This is the 2.2-mile trail of trees and brush tucked and hidden right in the middle of the urban jungle. I didn’t even recognize it for so long as I drove right under what looked like an abandoned train bridge daily. Here true athletics sprint right next to the gang of mom’s with strollers, the elderly taking a stroll and all the dogs. Did I mention the Katy Trail Ice House and other yummies parked off to the side? Pure awesome. It’s estimated that three thousand urbanites pound the pavement each day, most especially on the weekends. There are lots of hidden access points, but the best for strollers and parking is by far, Reverchon Park, with stair and ramp access. Again, bring that Ozarka…because Texas is hot.

5. The Dallas Arboretum

Recently, Dallas’s very own Arboretum was named Second Best Garden in the World. Did you catch that? Second best in THE WORLD by Architectural Digest. According to them, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is breathtaking a has honors next to acclaimed gardens like Versailles and Rio de Janeiro. 66 acres of floral paradise (with 30 Pokestops and gyms) and a separate section dedicated to children and learning. The family membership is the best value in Dallas and the most flexible by far. Pack up a wagon for a day trip with lots of water. Ozarka is great but seriously bring water, munchies, a camera, and a picnic basket filled with goodies.

6. The Burbs

As much as I love my city of Dallas, part of what makes Dallas great are it’s wonderfully diverse suburbs. For the most recent Forth of July, we were able to celebrate at the #1 Fireworks show in the country. How Washington DC hasn’t taken that title, I have no idea, but Kaboom Town in Addison steals the show consistently every year – must see. Grab a wagon filled with water, food, blankets and chairs and head out – you’ll appreciate being prepared and not having to schlepp everything around on your back.

A photo posted by Miss Jena (@missjenas) on

Addison isn’t the only treasure hiding in the burbs: great schools, wonderful companies. blue bonnet trails, little leagues, the Hot Air Balloon festival, Car Racetracks, Texas Ranger’s Baseball, Dallas Cowboys who actually reside in Arlington, Frisco Rough Riders…and so much more.

Something I learned about Ozarka that I never knew before being asked to participate in this #FromHereForHere campaign was that Ozarka Delivers! Just like Amazon Prime delivers to your doorstep, so does Ozarka with any and all of their products.

Local Products that were included in the Ozarka #FromHereForHere Texas Box:

Paqui Tortilla Chips:  “better-for-you” tortilla chips and tortillas. Paqui is an Aztec word that means “to be happy.” Paqui sells great tasting tortillas and tortilla chips that are crafted with unbleached, untreated flour, or by stone grinding corn and adding mouth-watering flavors using high-quality ingredients, such as fire-roasted jalapenos, fresh cilantro leaves, buttermilk, pumpkin and other spices and flavors.

Snow’s BBQ SauceTexas Monthly magazine named Snow’s BBQ as the best in Texas! Since that time, the entire staff at Snow’s BBQ has been doing everything possible to keep up with the demand and most important, maintain the quality. With complex Texas flavor, Snow’s Original BBQ Sauce is excellent on any cut of beef, chicken, or pork. It’s just as good as a dipping sauce as it is a marinade or brush-on sauce during the last minutes of grilling.

Yellowbird Sauce’s Habanero SaucesTotally natural, spicy pepper condiments. Made with ♥ in Austin, Tx. These are the most delicious, most versatile, most satisfying condiment that will ever hit your lips! Yellowbird Sauce goes great on tacos, burgers, wings, sushi, pasta, steak, fish, eggs, pizza, soup….anything you can think of!

The Jelly Queen’s Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce: An award-winning, Dallas and Austin-based artisan food company that makes gourmet jams, jellies, spices, sauces and more. Each product is handmade in small batches using organic and, whenever possible, locally grown Texas ingredients. The Jelly Queens was born out of a love for sustainable food, delicious flavors and words of encouragement.

Taste Elevated’s Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds: These little flavor-packed pearls are absolutely addicting. We cook them to make them just tender enough to burst in your mouth. Then we add a little sweet and a little heat. Add them to a charcuterie tray to surprise your guests, use as a condiment–any place you use mustard (you’ll love it on bbq sandwiches and hot dogs), pair with main dishes–terrific with meatloaf, use in homemade vinaigrettes!

Cookwell & Company’s Queso: This Queso con Salsa Escabeche is built around a flavorful blend of cheddar and blue cheeses combined with fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, diced jalapeños, and fresh-squeezed lime juice to create simply the best and authentic queso you can buy. Cookwell & Company is located in the heart of Austin, Texas. These guys wear boots to work and boast three grills and a smoker at their office.

Dallas is my home, What makes your city rock? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Remove Hashtag Clutter on Instagram Posts

It’s easy to get carried away with hashtags. There is a quick tip that the best Instagram Influencers use to insert as many hashtags as they want without cluttering up their comments feed. This tactic only works on mobile, but that’s OK – 99% of Instagram users are viewing it on their mobile phone. See these post as an example.

The first post below is from Business Growth Network. You’ll notice that next to their username, there is simply a “…more” link. This is by design. It looks like they don’t have any hashtags on their post, but in fact, we pasted this in the first comment:

Notice the 5 dots with spaces? This makes it so the “…more” link shows up next to their username. That way the hashtags don’t clutter the post.

In this example, the poster did not use the 5 dots, so the hashtags clutter the first comment in the post.

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Morning Tea with Miss Jena

Brand Dot Blog is branching out to Facebook Live with Morning Tea with Miss Jena just as Facebook starts to make some wild changes in a marketing coup to make periscope obsolete.

Everyday, beginning at 9am we will open it up to interviews, questions and all sorts of crazy as we go live to discuss all things social media and digital marketing!

How do you join? Glad you asked! Head on over to our Facebook Page, Brand Dot Blog. “Like” us and from that same button select to “Turn On Notifications” and you are done! You’ll get a heads up each time we go live and you’ll be able to listen in as well as ask questions in real time.

Thus far we have recorded Two:

Monday was all about Facebook use for sale businesses:

And Tuesday was all about Twitter for small businesses:

If you have a request for topic, a burning marketing question, let us know in the comments below and we will add it to our Facebook Live Broadcast, Tea with Jena

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DigiMarCon Cruise 2016

From Sunday, April 10th through Sunday, April 17th, 2016 I was honored to be featured as a speaker at the 2nd Annual DigiMarCon Cruise 2016. There were two solid  high-impact days of DIGIMARCON on the 2 days the ship was at sea, from April 11th to 12th, 2016. Attendees gained new insights and were able to share ideas with fellow business pros in a tight knit community. Imagine that! Actually getting one on one time with the speakers 🙂

Whether you were just getting started or a digital marketing expert, DIGIMARCON CRUISE 2016 offered the latest strategies and information grow your business through digital marketing in the coming year.

Topics I was given the opportunity to cover:

Build a Lean Startup Digital Marketing Strategy

Does your business have a plan? Create an easy marketing strategy in under one hour built around lean startup concepts; leverage to catapult your business forward in 12 specific, actionable steps.

Social Selling: The Ten Commandments

Social Selling presents new challenges to business owners while providing an opportunity to bring in leads for pennies & cultivate engaged communities. Walk away knowing exactly what to post and how.

Other Speakers at the DigiMarCon Cruise 2016 Event:

Aaron Polmeer, Chief Executive Officer at Search Experiences

A serial entrepreneur, Aaron Polmeer is Search Experiences Founder and CEO, a recognized leader and pioneer in Branded Search. During his tenure, he has built Search Experiences assets through securing key client relationships, assembled world-class technical and management teams, built a global partner channel, supervised the successful development and commercialization of Search Experiences solutions and secured the support of the investment community. Prior to heading up Search Experiences, Aaron founded and steered operationally a couple of successful startups, including; Anime International which was instrumental in early supply chain distribution of Anime (Japanese Animation) Merchandise into the North American market in early 2000’s and Crawler Network, which operated a group of 2,500+ niche information portals online. Aaron received his MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management and University of Chicago Booth School of Business and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Commerce.

Bruce May, Chief Executive Officer at Axix Group

Bruce May is CEO of the Axix Group, an online television network producing shows for business professionals in multiple industry segments. The marketing division of Axix provides marketing services for their sponsors and other clients. Bruce is experienced in marketing, digital media and television. He has worked as a consultant, a business executive and entrepreneur in both traditional and interactive media. He has spoken at many industry events over the years and authored four books on media and marketing.

Bruce covered the following topics:

Business Planning for Startups: Examining the Business and Marketing Requirements

Startups begin by writing a business plan but they often overlook many key business requirements, particularly those necessary to design an effective marketing plan. Performance management criteria provide a more comprehensive approach for designing a business plan that includes critical elements that can better explain how you are going to achieve your organizational and market goals. That makes your business more attractive to investors, partners, vendors and of course your customers. Learn how to design a business and marketing system using business and marketing criteria as a guide.

Media Brand Marketing: Building a Twin Cycle Marketing System

Media Brand Marketing is a special approach to content marketing that intentionally builds a media like brand. This is not a separate brand from your existing company brand. It is an extension of that brand, one that builds trust and credibility for your company. Many content marketing practices emulate this approach but the real benefits of building a media brand come when you follow the best practices in the media industry and build a true, media brand for your business. Learn the differences between being media-like and creating a true, media brand.

Jenna Gehlhausen, Creative Director at TCC

Jenna Gehlhausen is the Creative Director for TCC, formerly known as The Cellular Connection. Founded in 1991 and based in Carmel, Indiana, TCC is the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S., operating more than 700 locations in 38 states from coast to coast. In her time there, Jenna transitioned their traditional marketing operation into a full-service agency that fulfills the creative, digital advertising, and content needs for the company. Prior to TCC, Jenna got her start as a copywriter and worked her way through a variety of strategic marketing positions before moving back toward her roots in the creative side of marketing.

Jenna Covered the following topic:

From Outsourcing to In-house Agency: Making the Switch to Meet Your Digital Marketing Demand

Like many brands, your first experiences with digital marketing may have been with the assistance of an outside agency – one that had the time and resources to execute your campaigns and navigate the brave new world of digital marketing. Over time, however, you start to wonder if these ad campaigns couldn’t be handled in-house. How much more could you get out of your digital marketing if you slashed those agency fees and channeled that money into something more profitable? Or perhaps you’re simply tired of being a low priority with every agency you work with and you wonder how that lack of attention could be affecting your results. The purpose of this presentation is to help you decide if an in-house agency is the right path for you and to outline the first steps for a successful transition.

Ronell Smith, Associate with Moz

Ronell Smith, a business strategist with more than decade of experience helping businesses online and offline, assists companies looking to create a user experience their customers will recognize, appreciate and reward them for with their business. His passion is for removing the obstacles keeping individuals and businesses from reaching their full potential, in large part by helping them think strategically about how search, social and content work together successfully.

Ronell covered the following topics:

Why Your Startup Must Build a Loyal Community

Funding? Check! Executive team! Check! Product? Check! What about a loyal base of customers ready to sign on the dotted line? Many startups are finding that the audience they assumed would be willing to buy their products never materializes. Ensure that your brand doesn’t fall into this trap, by using content marketing to grow and nurture a thriving community that reads and shares your content, and is thus more likely to purchase your products or services.

Where Digital Marketing is Headed and How Your Brand Can Get There Before the Competition

It’s long been said that digital marketing is a fickle master, and these words are even truer today. But savvy marketers know how to measure only what matters. They also know how to stay one step ahead of the competition, in part by using the latest trends and technology to their advantage. In this opening keynote, marketers will walk away with the following: What the most important trends are digital marketing, How these trends are likely to impact their brands in the months and years ahead, What they can start doing right away to make use of the technology available to them to distance their brand from the rest of the pack

Chevy Shafie, Chief Executive Officer at Marstudio

A graduate of University of Maryland and University of Baltimore School of Law. Shevy grew up the son of a businessman, his entrepreneurial spirit has always driven him to pursue new and exciting business ventures. He truly enjoys finding creative human solutions that help businesses get off the ground, continue their growth, and maintain their competitive edge. Once engaged, Shevy and the team act as your off-site marketing department. Acting as your CMO if needed, Shevy essentially puts the wheels of the project in motion and makes sure the right mix
 of strategic and creative resources are in place to execute and deliver
 your project as it is planned based on priorities and targeted deadlines.

Chevy covered the following topic:

9 Branding & Sales Essentials Your Business Shouldn’t Overlook

Over the past few years, we have seen some exciting new branding and sales trends emerge and take hold. These trends are quickly becoming universal concepts that scores of people from around the world embrace. They have been shaped by the rise of the millennial generation, and for that reason, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Luckily, you don’t need a huge marketing and sales department (or budget to match) if you want to integrate these trends into your company. Here are nine branding and sales trends we’re most enthusiastic about and that your small business can start using today.

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Struggling with Facebook Relevancy Scores?

What in the world is your Facebook Relevancy Scores?

Let me ask you a few other questions that I know you are more concerned with…

Are you struggling with Facebook Ad Cost?

Don’t know what metrics to pay attention to on your Ad Manager dashboard?

Are you getting any shares from your boosted postings?

Learn to lower overall ad cost when utilizing Facebook Advertising in this short Facebook Live video simply by understanding your Facebook Relevancy scores and how it can help you lower overall ad cost.

For those of you in the Dallas/Richardson/Plano area – I’ll be teaching you how to determine targeting to raise relevancy scores and lower ad spend this Friday at the R/PN Training Meetup at the Egg & I in Richardson off Cambell Road. Cost is just $1 🙂 To RSVP…Visit here —> http://bit.ly/25CLp1H

For more information on what to post organically on your Facebook Business page, download my 365 Facebook Post Ideas Template: http://bit.ly/1U1QEl3

What Facebook Relevancy Scores do your ads typically reach? Let us know in the comments below!

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