Posts tagged: Gmail

Marketers as Aggregators Creators and Distributors

As I get ready to call it a day and I reflect back on all the content I created (I’m sure I’ll have several less subscribers tomorrow), I’m struck by the importance of workflow.

People think that 2 or 3 blog posts is hard. It’s really not. I didn’t create that much new content that I wasn’t going to create anyway. What you read today was content from emails, social bookmarking and tweets. What was original content was expanded thoughts building off of that content or heated, in the moment thoughts as I discovered something new or thought provoking.

I’ve also posted using multiple tools. I’ve used Windows Live Writer and Scribefire, both with the Zemanta plugin. I’ve posted text, pictures and audio. I’ve used the WordPress blog interface, Diigo and Gmail via Posterous (right now I’m writing on my iTouch in Gmail). In addition to the content you see here there were also posts to the Studio D WaggEd blog, posts on Posterous that didn’t make it hear and a post to my Tumblr blog. Plus I have 3 posts already for tomorrow.

And I did all this with a full day of client meetings and still getting deliverables done on time.

I do all this not because I think you are all that interested in my every thought (actually I think I over did it today) but because I know that other than strategic thinking the ability to create and distribute targeted, real time content will be marketers #1 most needed skillset. #2 is the ability to teach that to others. And the only way to do that is to know the tools and they aren’t word processors and presentation decks.

Posted via email from Zemashup

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Is FriendFeed getting the respect it deserves?

Image representing FriendFeed as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

If you read this blog even somewhat frequently then you know I’m a little odd. I proudly admit it. I experiment with new Web apps and new ways of doing things that don’t make sense to most people. One thing that I’ve been doing lately (and blogged about) is mashing up Google Alerts, Zemanta for Gmail and Posterous.

Why do I do this? Two reasons really:

  1. It gives me an interesting way to consume my various Google Alerts
  2. For me it’s the blogging equivalent of “warming up”

3 alerts I have set up are for Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook. To me these are the three most interesting social networking services out there (right now at least, that could always change tomorrow).

FriendFeed Get’s No Love

From the very beginning I’ve noticed a trend Twitter and Facebook get all the attention while FriendFeed is relegated to the fringe.

If you look at this post FriendFeed gets 1 news result and 5 blog posts. Total 6

A Facebook post from the same day gets 9 news results and 5 blog posts. Total 14

Finally a recent Twitter post gets 6 news results and 5 blog posts. Total 11

These results are pretty consistent. Some days Twitter gets more results than Facebook but they both consistently crush FriendFeed results. And to add insult to injury only two FriendFeed results don’t mention Twitter or Facebook. Meaning that FriendFeed is usually only mentioned when someone is doing a round up of new social media tools. It rarely gets it’s own coverage.

Now Google Alerts aren’t perfect but they are a good indicator.

Is FriendFeed Only For Geeks?

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Has Twitter driven Gmail to the #10 spot in Web visitors?

ReadWriteWeb reports that Hitwise reports that Gmail visits have outpaced YouTube Visits

I’m pretty sure it’s because so many early adopters are on Twitter and early adopters tend to use Gmail. And I don’t know about you but I’ve been getting 20-30 new Twitter followers a day. Each time I get a new follower, I get an email.  Of course half of those are spam, real estate investors, or online work from home, almost spam.

Anyone who seems half way legit I follow back. Unfortunately half of the people I follow back send me an auto DM. This results in another email. This of course doesn’t count the 10 or so DM’s I get each day (more email) or the hourly Tweetlater or Twimailer reports I get. Oh yeah and I manage 2 separate Twitter accounts.

Adding it all up I get about 100 email a day from Twitter or related services. Thankfully I use Gmail filters extensibly and all of those either skip my inbox altogether or go to a special label I have set up to act on later.

But if a decent number of Twitter’s 6 Million users also use Gmail and are experiencing similar email usage growth then I hypothesis that Twitter is responsible for Gmail’s rise in visitors.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :)

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Zemanta plus Google Alerts plus Posterous equals I don’t know.

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I am a big fan of Zemanta. I have lots of Google alerts set up and I had been wanting to try Posterous for a while but wasn’t sure what I would use it for. Then when Zemanta released support for Gmail I came up with the idea of mashing up all those previously mentioned services.

I’ve been using the alerts for Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook. I usually come up with nonsense titles based on a combo of various articles in the alerts. I’ve been doing it for a while now and today I got a shout out from Zemanta’s community manager in Twitter and their blog.

gandalfar:@tacanderson great work on your posterous hacks - :) about 3 hours ago from TweetDeck

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WHOA!!! Zemanta now integrates with Gmail and Ymail. Holy Crap That’s Cool!

This was the title of my tweet after Zemanta upgraded the latest version on their FireFox plugin. All of a sudden there was a new button in my Gmail.

I’ve raved about Zemanta before. I think it is a very cool product. For me it demonstrates some of the early potential of semantic data.While some may not see the immediate benefit of Zemanta for blogging let alone email this is a service to seriously watch. They are a smart group of guys with smart investors with a service that is only going to continue to get better.

Clicking on the ‘Add Zemanta’ button brought up the very familiar Zemanta sidebar.

Also immediately below each email is the most valuable part of the Add Zemanta functionality; links. Based on your content Zemanta will suggest links to home pages of companies that you mention, links to Wikipedia entries and even links to maps of locations you mention. This im my opinion is the biggest benefit of adding Zemanta content in an email because it’s a huge time saver.

The photo’s and links to blog posts is more of a nice to have and could be valuable if you were building email marketing messages especially since you can add your own Amazon affiliate link to Zemanta, which will suggest Amazon items based on your content.

It would be really nice if you could set your content preferences to be different based on email vs blog. I would like Zemanta to pull almost exclusively from my personal content for emails whereas I prefer it to pull from my wider content network for blog posts.

I think this could also be really interesting for people who use a service like Posterous or Tumblr where you can post via email. I may finally start an account with one of these services just to play around with it.

Given the fact that Zemanta works with the powerful Microsoft blog editor Windows Live Writer, I have to wonder how long until we see a Zemanta for Outlook?

If you use FireFox and you blog Zemanta is a very cool product. If you don’t blog but you use Gmail or Y!mail then you too can enjoy the benefits of semantic data. Give it a try and let me know what you think.


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Search Engine Optimize Your Emails

Some of you may be thinking that I’m taking SEO waaaaaay to far. And maybe I am but most of you using Gmail will understand what I’m talking about.

This also applies to Outlook users who actually use the search function or people with Google Desktop installed.

I have had a love/hate relationship with Outlook for years now: I love to hate it. Gmail saved me from a total hatred of all email. Email, when used properly (which it seldom is) is a powerful tool.  However, keeping your email organized can become the complete bane of your existence.

Gmail, with the power of Google search behind it is a godsend. I only use a handful of *labels* to organize key items (folders are for suckers, and those of us forced to use Outlook because of work). Everything else gets archived. Not deleted, not moved to a special desktop folder at the end of each month because of data storage restriction, just archived.

Oh wait what if you want that email you sent 4 months ago to that one person you met after that one event about that one thing? Just search for it. It’ll be there.

The problem I’m finding though is that my search results can bring back way too many items.

Here are some tips to maximizing Gmails search function and making uber folder organization a thing of the past (which will free up a lot more time so you can keep up on your feed reader).

Use descriptive subject lines.

This is just good email practice. But in Gmail this is especially useful. Having a descriptive subject line allows the receiver to quickly scan and prioritize which email they’re going to read. It also allows you to quickly scan the results of your email searches for the one you were looking for.

Use names.

The best way to get another bloggers attention is to use their name in your blog. Chances are they have a vanity alert set up for their name. In email it’s good to start off with the person’s name because it gets their attention, but better yet it makes it easier to search for all email from that person, especially if they are like me and have multiple email addresses.

It’s also a good idea to consistently use the name you refer to them by. I have a bad habit of starting off my emails to friends with openers like “Hey loser,” or “What’s up?” or the ever descriptive “Hey man.” I have a friend; Jake. Jake’s name in his email address is Jacob. Jake doesn’t use an email signature. If I don’t start off with his name in my email and I go back and search for “Jake,” I don’t get any results.

Keyword density.

It’s also a good idea to use keywords in your email. Use the name of a project, or the names of other people involved in the project in the email. Mention the event you met at by name. You can even go so far as to put keywords below your signature, much like embedding Technorati keywords at the end of your blog post (this might be going too far).

It is always a good idea to keep in mind other general blogging rules like, keep it short, format it so that it’s easy to scan and make it easy to understand.

And in general don’t abuse email.

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