Behind the scenes at Technically Media

Facebook + WordPress = <3 4.2.12 0
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There was a time when Technically Philly was ashamed of the number of likes we had on our Facebook page. With a little bit of work we were quickly able to quadruple the number of folks that interact with our page.

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Why, how and where to buy an international domain: our technical.ly acquisition story 3.3.12 0
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When it comes to branding an online property, one of the first things you should consider in the process of naming an entity is the availability of a possible domain name.

Like good real estate, the neighborhood and address you land at can help your online property thrive.

But good real estate gets speculated quickly, and with a finite number of memorable and catchy domain names available in the top-level .com domain spectrum, many brands are looking to international domains as an additional resource.

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Social Media for CEOs presentation 1.30.12 0
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For a room of Leadership Inc. class members, our Christopher Wink discussed why budding corporate and nonprofit leaders should take personal use of social media a bit more seriously than some may think.

See the presentation slides above or see them here.

Campus Philly redesign and editorial strategy case study 1.23.12 0
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Campus Philly is a small, regional nonprofit dedicated to a mission of attracting, engaging and retaining college graduates to the Philadelphia area.

Their mission rocks; they host popular events and lead interesting research.

Yet, in summer 2011, even they said their website sucked, and they had no clear strategy about what to do with it anyway.

Their platform was a dated, proprietary Lotus framework, their editorial interns had little focus for their content and the organization’s social strategy wasn’t much more than an afterthought from a busy staff.

Our job was to get their web strategy a little bit closer to the expectations set for an otherwise interesting and meaningful group that is the envy of graduate-retention program throughout the country. In six months time, from June to December, Technically Media did just that, by focusing on three clear efforts:

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Technically Philly December 2011 membership survey results 1.20.12 0
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Nearly 70 percent of respondents reported that Technically Philly had at least an 'important' impact on the local technology community.

Nearly 70 percent of surveyed Technically Philly readers say the news site has had at least an ‘important’ impact on the local technology community.

This from a survey of 150 Technically Philly readers in December 2011, aimed at getting a sense of interest for membership opportunities and perceptions of the local technology news site. In Technically Media’s commitment to transparency, we’ve shared all the responses here.

Below find a slew of charts and graphs detailing the responses and some takeaways about what that might mean for other niche news sites.

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Technically Philly’s 2011 comprehensive technology reporting highlighted 1.10.12 0
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We’re excited to announce that our technology news publication Technically Philly was prominently highlighted in a report generated by J-Lab, the journalism innovation think tank based in Washington, D.C, for a number of projects that it was involved with in 2011.

Working with various partners in Philadelphia’s journalism industry through grants funded by J-Lab and the William Penn Foundation, Technically Philly was active in shaping projects that, most notably, accelerated conversation about broadband connectivity and its future and another that researched abandoned properties in Philadelphia.

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Technically Media 2011 review of goals 1.4.12 0
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We call it our big board.

Every business creates goals, in sales, revenue, mission and output. We do, too, but in addition to those internal goals, we like to create a broader vision that we write up by monthly steps on index cards and stick them on a big foam board in our office to keep it in our faces. It keeps us honest.

So, why not look back at how 2011 went? And, heck, why not share that with the world?

First, and perhaps most importantly, in 2011, we had two major tracks of our business: Technically Philly and our consulting. So, our big board was broken up in that very way, with a third green column for the major Transparencity grant project we led.

In the interest of transparency and of holding ourselves accountable, here’s our review of how we did on our goals in 2011:

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Let’s help improve sites that suck! 11.15.11 0
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We’ve seen it all too often: the government landing page that lacks user experience. The restaurant that has a three-minute Flash intro sequence before you can see its phone number. The music venue with its calendar buried three levels too deep. What is it that makes web sites SUCK? What can content strategists do to fix them?

We’ve been working hard to increase programming in the Content Strategy Philly meetup group, which we helped launch last year during Philly Tech Week. That’s why we’re excited to announce that along with co-organizers Monica Hays, Vanguard’s content strategist and Kelani Nichole, a freelance content strategist, we’re programming an upcoming event to discuss user experience and content problems on a handful of Philadelphia websites.

At the group’s next meetup on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Indy Hall coworking facility in Old City, we’ll work in breakout groups to give some therapy and solutions to these frightening sites. RSVP here.

We’re looking to the to you to nominate Sites that Suck. Tell us your least favorite local web site designs, looking to music venues, government sites, restaurants, museums, entertainment or other. We’ll choose the five best suggestions and break out into smaller groups to try and fix the user experience and content problems. We’ll end with short presentations.

This will be a great way to see how other content strategy experts work on-the-ground, share how you see content on the web, and work together to make results. Add your website suggestions here.

Early nominations from the meetup group members include: Philly.com, Phila.gov, South Philly Food co-op and RealWinWin.

Hope to see you there!

How much is a Facebook ‘like’ worth? + other social media ad experiments 9.26.11 0
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Scaling an online properly is challenging and sometimes, you need a little help.

Lately we’ve been experimenting with ways to attract readers to our sites beyond just word of mouth and content partnerships. For the first time ever, we purchased advertisements.

However, our budget is rather limited so we decided to test the advertising platforms of what are arguably the three most important social networks on the web: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Below is the result of a tests conducted over the past 45 days for our technology news site Technically Philly. This test was not scientific, but we hope our experience can help educate your future advertising buys.

1. LinkedIn

Target: Those with “Information Technology” or “Entrepreneur” in job titles.
Geography: Greater Philadelphia Area

Our LinkedIn ad was a simple square that pointed directly to our homepage (see above). Above is the exact report from LinkedIn (click to enlarge). Once you’re done laughing at our .031 percent Click Through Rate, you’ll see that the ad buy was a complete disaster.

Not only did the ad not convert well, there is no LinkedIn “fan page” where we can keep people consuming our content. A $3.00 CTR is way too high for Technically Philly,  a site where we are not selling a direct product.

In other words, if we were selling widgets for $100 we could perhaps justify this ad buy as the occasional $3.00 click would result in $100 in revenue. But Technically Philly needs repeated engagement for it remain profitable.

2. Twitter

We started to explore Twitter’s promoted tweets product, but it turned out that you needed $5,000 minimum. No thanks.

3. Facebook

In its first two years, Technically Philly focused much of its efforts on cultivating a community on Twitter. We’re a tech news site and most of our readers spend their days on Twitter. However after checking our Facebook page and discovering a laughable number of likes earlier in the year, our egos required us to do something.

We implemented Facebook comments and experimented with posting different types of content to our Facebook page in the early part of the summer. After seeing a respectful growth in likes, we decided to explore an advertising buy.

There are many variables to a Facebook ad. Firstly, there are two types of ads:

1. “Sponsored Story” notifies you when your friend interacts with Technically Philly “your friend has liked Technically Philly”

2. Straight ad. You can link to your Facebook page or your website. We chose our Facebook page, as our primary goal here was to increase our “likes.”

You can also have an infinite number of target demographics which is a nightmare for testing. We tested in two rounds.

The first round:

Ad # 1- Sponsored Story

  • who live in the United States
  • age 18 and older
  • who are not already connected to Technically Philly
  • whose friends are already connected to Technically Philly

Ad #2 – Straight advertisement

  • who live in the United States
  • who live in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania or California
  • age 18 and older
  • who are not already connected to Technically Philly

If you thought the LinkedIn ad buy performed badly, the Facebook straight ad put it to shame with its .009 percent CTR. The sponsored story resulted in more connections, though I suspect that the 42 number is deceiving, as our likes rose by much more than that during the run of the ad.

After seeing the results of the two ads, we placed a third buy focusing on the success of the sponsored story ad buy with a bit more geographical focus:

Ad #3 – Sponsored Story

  • who live in the United State
  • who live within 25 miles of Philadelphia, Pa
  • between the ages of 18 and 30 inclusive
  • whose friends are already connected to Technically Philly

As you can see, the ad was seen an average of 18.7 times (!) by each targeted user. However connections doubled with the price of our buy suggesting that each like cost us roughly $1.86.

So, did the ads work?

You’ll see our monthly active users spike when we placed ads on Aug 8th and Sept 11th.

The amazing part is that the interaction held up even after the ad expired which suggests that the effect is cumulative.

Above is a Google Analytics graph that measures weekly Facebook referrals. Google anaytics traffic shows small but sustained spikes when we placed the Faacebook ads, and those spikes do not coincide with general traffic, suggesting that our ads had an effect.

So what to make of all this?

Our takeaways:

  • Facebook ads promoting our Facebook page merit additional testing as early data suggest that Facebook advertisements have a cumulative effect that outlast the advertising buy.
  • Since the ad buys, our Facebook page has received 289 additional likes.
  • Highly-targeted sponsored stories worked best for us on Facebook.
  • Twitter is expensive. Though if you have the budget, you should try it. Or, you could always do it grassroots-style.
  • LinkedIn’s returns were so bad we stopped the advertising run early. Perhaps our ad could use some improvement, but we likely won’t be using LinkedIn for ad buys.

Technically Media joins the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce 9.14.11 0
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Technically Media Inc., the online content strategy firm and publisher of Technically Philly, today announced it had joined the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

TM co-founders Sean Blanda, Brian James Kirk and Christopher Wink highlighted five reasons they were interested in chamber membership:

  • Supporting the local business community of Philadelphia and helping to make it among the most respected in the world.
  • Gaining access to networking and connecting relationships, events and opportunities for partnerships and collaboration.
  • Access to unique services, like event hosting, business resources, discounts, legislative lobbying and more.
  • Introducing the established business community to the vibrant, growing and independent technology-focused, small business and entrepreneurial communities.
  • To be seen as a valued and involved member of the Philadelphia business community.

Technically Media Inc. | 601 Walnut St., Suite 1200 | Curtis Center | Philadelphia, PA 19106 | info@technicallymedia.com