orlando (really) likes powersports

Ducati joins growing list of OEMs to display

photo ©2014 john siebenthaler

Powersports Implosion And Recovery

It’s been nearly a decade since the economic meltdown of the mid-’00s dealt a way harsh wakeup call to a party the powersports community thought would never stop.

The Everest-like growth curve many believed/hoped/wished would go on forever collapsed like a 3-pack a day smoker on an Ironman swim-bike-run.

It’s against that backdrop that last week’s second annual AIMExpo powersports trade and consumer show in Orlando, in just its second year, seems to have planted their flag firmly atop the carcass of the once invincible Dealernews Dealer Expo, whose looming Chicago in December winter wonderland reincarnation of the event brand they once owned outright, seems now officially and forever dead in the court of public opinion. Continue reading “orlando (really) likes powersports” »

converting word to dreamweaver

Get Your Word Docs Into Dreamweaver HTML

While Dreamweaver isn’t the worst environment for composing long copy, it’s far from being the most comfortable. Text editing programs, including BBEdit, Text Wrangler, any plain vanilla text  or word processing application, OpenOffice, and the most installed editing app, Microsoft Word, are usually better suited to the task.

While Word is my least favorite creative application, it’s the one I turn to most often when composing long copy for my web sites. I’m not interested in Word’s clunky styling or to be avoided at all costs HTML coding. I’m just looking for a comfortable writing environment and for that Word works out okay.

On the other hand, Word’s formating and styling quirks render it a major pain if you try the most direct route of copy and paste to transfer the content into Dreamweaver. Here’s how Dreamweaver solves that problem. (Note: working from Word to InDesign requires an entirely different approach.)

Step One: Copy All Step Two: Paste Special

First, you’ll want to work in Word’s Normal view, which lets you define Normal as a style that’s most comfortable for your reading and editing preferences than would normally be found on a web page or in a print project. Word’s Page Layout formating has nothing to do with Dreamweaver so it’s easiest to just ignore that viewing option.

When you’re finished writing and/or editing, select and copy all of your Word content. Switch to Dreamweaver. Under Edit, choose Paste Special… which opens up your choices.

in Dreamweaver, edit>paste special

Select text with structure and you’re done. Paragraphs are properly formated as <p> tags, not end of line soft (aka line breaks) returns, and it won’t suck in Word’s clumsy style tags.

select text with structure

Once placed, further editing can be done externally using an HTML capable editor like BB Edit (shareware) in a roundtrip configuration, or just edit inside Dreamweaver.

need social visuals? find a designer!

graphic design is fundamental for great visual contentI can say with full confidence that every list written of content tips for improving your social media message, including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, will mention a requirement for “great visuals”. It’s not a heavy lift to reach that fundamental conclusion.

How Does One Find Great Visual Content?

Achieving that goal, though, gets real murky real fast. There’s very seldom a follow-up suggestion as to how great art is actually created, let alone how to make the design judgements that are the DNA of an art director’s job description. It’s as if those great visuals so easily referenced as the mother’s milk of social media marketing are created with the wave of an intern’s magic GIF wand or by HR invoking a binding PNG spell.

Your friends won’t tell you, but I will: ugly doesn’t improve with time.

Reality? Effective art isn’t an off-the-shelf commodity. It’s specialized talent that knows there’s never, ever a time to use Comic Sans, or that Bevel and Emboss with Texture added to an obscure Microsoft Office font derived logotype doesn’t so much sing as cry out in eyeball searing pain. Your friends won’t tell you, but I will: ugly doesn’t improve with time.

Graphic Design For Great Content

Within the context of social media, visuals are nearly always derived from photographs, illustrations, or a combination of the two. They can be used as is or modified, combined, or sampled and combined with type elements and shapes. This series of PRSA event promos I designed illustrates the point.

Colors can be shifted, shapes and objects distorted. The sought for end result is something unique to a brand, a message, an emotion. The best visuals are unique to their specific environment, not warmed over leftovers easily found and sloppily used. From social cover art and profile badges to press release supplements and web site assets, visual is not only desirable, but essential.

The Difference? Imagination And Talent

And where are the sources for that exceptional visual content everyone is looking for? Begin with a creative director for concepts and execution. Art directors turn an idea into a finished product using various to craft visuals. Pick a copywriter for a well turned phrase or snappy tagline that can catapault a campaign. Graphic designers. Illustrators. Photographers. Typographers. All play a strategic role in creating effective content of value.

So while everyone pretty much understands the role of visual content and what it brings to a message, keep in mind that greatness is achieved through actual training and talent, not just by proclaiming the task done, then hoping for the best.

As the saying goes, go big or go home.

online newsroom publicity perks


Small businesses can benefit from creating a unique online newsroom.

Invest In Online Assets For Longterm Dividends

As whats left of print media transitions into a hybrid that blends traditional content with digital distribution, private industry is likewise developing answers for inventing new channels of promotion and publicity. Read about how Coca-Cola is a leader in setting up and stocking unique content for both consumer and b2b consumption.

The need for effective strategies is best seen in the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as essential marketing disciplines. Both focus on the power of search to direct audiences inbound to content, and those same procedures are being successfully refined and funneled in the establishment of online newsrooms.

Online News: Not The Same As Google News

Online newsrooms are a physical location unrelated to Google News’ rich snippet metatag aimed at specific categories and reserved for branded publications. Yet the preparation of materials for the online newsroom should include some of the same workflow that’s utilized in a Google News approach to pull marketing.

Online newsrooms are also a total departure from the commonly used and outdated drop down menu method of accessing company news and resources, which requires multiple steps before even reaching a starting point and focuses solely on archiving content, not repurposing.

Biggest Difference? An Adventure, Not An Archive

The contemporary onliine newsroom is designed as a visual destination separate from the main website. It’s a unique container offering an assortment of video, audio, text, visuals, and ready-to-wear social content – all delivered in an easy to use User Experience (UX) layout that puts a premium on interesting and engaging presentation to serve various forms of content that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Online Newsroom – Think Investment, Not Expense

Today’s news resource – and that includes all that PR brings to the mix – must deliver solid content quickly and easily to a wide audience with unique needs. Design, creative, IT, and marketing all have a part to play in the successful implentation of a modern online newsroom.

Design your online newsroom to make maximum use of visual breadcrumbs and cues to guide editors, researchers, writers, and curators in finding not just what they’re looking for, but what they need to accurately inform their audience about XYZ Company. Need help? Lets explore a solution custom tailered to fit your needs.

facebook says party’s over

Brand reach plummeted after Facebook hit the brakes on organic.

Ogilvy Social describes how brand reach plummeted after Facebook hit the brakes on organic.

Once not so very long ago, retail business had a narrow choice of media for advertising and marketing; the Yellow Pages, newspapers, and broadcast. Depending on the size of the market, a newspaper or two may have offered competitive rates, along with radio and t.v. But unless your business was cars, clothes, furniture or groceries, it was pretty much hit or miss.

As broadband began rolling out there was a brief moment when print was cruising laid back at altitude while digital media was taxiing for takeoff. Didn’t last long. Overnight, print and the public airwaves found themselves powerless to head off the rush to the exits by marketers chasing the promise of free forever online homesteads. Woot.

feel free to move about the cabin – just don’t get comfortable

Facebook’s incredible success at attracting a dedicated audience – over 1 billion served – was helped significantly when they opened up publicly searchable business pages capable of being liked without the commitment of friending. Very quickly corporations from the Fortune 500 to those still using training wheels were stampeding throughout the social media landscape, developing page apps and competing for likes by whatever means possible.

Organic reach was the magic bean used to drive engagement. Success depended on a number of factors, but it was never the no-cost alternative that’s become urban legend.

Someone – a parts manager, the unemployed son-in-law, the receptionist with 800 friends – had to code, post, curate and create. Then as now the better the content the better the result. But the media was free. Do a good job and the reward was reach and engagement.

quality content will continue to drive engagement

That this would last forever moment in time turned on a dime when Facebook, now a publicly held corporation responsible to its shareholders, flipped a few switches, turned down a few faucets, and as well documented in this white paper by Ogilvy Social stomped the brakes on what if any of your content would be seen when and by who.

Google has been the most vocal in commenting not only on their preference for content but their ability to discriminate between poor and high quality fare. Hooray for creatives, it’s a new day dawning! Now Facebook has commited to showing users good-better-best content, and that includes ads.

paid owed earned – take your pick

Facebook’s pretty much in the driver’s seat for now and how well anyone does will be determined by how well the message is conveyed. Does this mean an end to DIY Comic Sans type disasters? To rudderless attempts at engagement? No, but. It clearly signals fresh opportunities for the creative community to approach small and medium sized business pages for a place at the social marketing table.

To make a comparison, business is still unrestricted as to what they want to publish on Facebook. But there’s a have correct Facebook fare ready toll booth on the open sesame easy road to consumers.

remembering jim hansen

my Jim Hansen Cycle World Trek memory

I met legendary powersports media icon Jim Hansen for the first time at Cycle World Trek in 2007. He was easy to meet, easier to talk with, and appeared on this Trek riding one of the first Can-Am Spyders to hit the road.

He’d ridden up to Oakhurst, CA, the jumping off point for Trekkers before we headed 130 miles into the Sierra Nevadas for a few days of off-road riding in and around Huntington Lake. Jim swapped his three-wheeler for two and the Spyder was loaded into the event logistics box truck for transport to China Peak.

You might think that an invitation only gathering like Trek that collected some of the best known members of the powersports community would be blessed with insight, talent, resourcefulness, and ability. Um, not always.

video guide to changing a light bulb

Good news! Fewer than a dozen bikers were needed to unload this ride!

It was as if I was watching New Caledonia headhunters seeing their first helicopter. This video demonstrates the combined efforts of Cycle World editors and ad reps, powersports aftermarket manufacturing execs, agency account reps, and industry OEM department heads as they go about solving the ages-old riddle of the Sphinx – what’s the best way to unload a low-slung trike with nothing but a lift gate? Easy! Use a picnic table!

Keep in mind, the object in question weighs in the neighborhood of 700 pounds, give-take. Then count heads hovering to and fro like nervous elephant aunts surrounding an expecting new mother, anxiously waiting to welcome a newcomer to the herd.

you can learn a lot over lunch

In the brief time I knew Jim, he struck me as affable, curious, and capable. We shared the three-stool counter at Jone’s Store just outside Yosemite over lunch on Day One, exchanging small talk and chit-chat. Although his knowledge of the industry and its people was encyclopedic (and mine is anything but) ours was a comfortable conversation that only later would emerge from the background as a crossroads for me in my association with the industry.

Jim was awarded the annual Joe Parkhurst award during that year’s closing ceremony, an insider’s inside honor of respect.

He passed away April 11, 2014. I think he’d appreciate the humor he left behind.

google plus infographic

Beginner's Guide to Google+

Google Plus – The Big Picture

Understanding the various components that go into an effective Google strategy is daunting. This Google+ infographic from Plus Your Business solves the basics and shows how to achieve balance by optimizing Google+ products.

twitter turns eight – my first tweet

I wasn’t there at the very beginning but it didn’t take me long to jump on board!

The Telegraph wants you to know what other first time Twitterers tweeted here.

facebook and google get aired out

Facebook and Google battle for the same audience. Do you need both?

Facebook and Google battle for the same audience. Do you need both?

facebook caught padding paid likes – what can you do?

A video critique posted by web site skeptic Veratasium on how Facebook is at the very least midleading business pages seeking to increase their page likes struck a nerve.

Facebook responded to Derek Muller’s claims by dismissing them. Here’s his Facebook page response to their dissembling: My response to Facebook’s response to me – fixed so you don’t have to solve a captcha to share.

Veratasium’s claims go into the hopper of debate over which is best for business, Facebook or Google+, neither or both. It’s a complex decision made more difficult for small businesses with neither the budget nor talent to support a dedicated online social effort.

It isn’t just an either or decision. Despite their respective shortcomings, read more on how both channels can be effective legs in a social marketing strategy in this comparison.

improve your social media campaign

Tips From Top Social Media Marketing World 2014 Presenters

Top Rank Online Marketing put together this handy Slideshare preso that’s full of tips and tricks to improve your social media campaign content and deployment. What I learned: use clicktotweet to add a direct link to your content page or post, just one of 38 useful ways to improve your content results.

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