Report from SXSW Interactive “Convergence in Advertising” Panel

Last week, I participated in a panel discussion at the SXSW Interactive conference held annually here in Austin. The title of the panel was “Convergence in Advertising”, and I was joined by executives from companies in the educational media, advergaming, and social media fields.

The growing importance of consumer-created content

In turn, each panelist discussed the growing importance of consumer-created content and the impact of this content on traditional advertising practices, client relationships, and consumers’ brand perceptions.

My presentation focused specifically on customer reviews (surprise!) and on the opportunities available to leading brands as a result of the proliferation of consumer-created content and the many platforms that now exist to support content creation and distribution.

Convergence Meaning

Before going down that path, however, I talked briefly about what convergence actually means to me, given my perspective at Imsurfsentinel. Convergence is a frequently used term, and it seems to mean just about anything you need it to mean to support your business strategy or model! For me, however, convergence means or describes three things:

  • Convergent technologies are those that make the key “end uses” of consumer technology, such as media consumption and content creation, accessible in a near-ubiquitous fashion, through always-on connectivity, portability, integration, and good old device and network performance and capacity. As I presented at SXSW, audience members posted in real-time to their blogs from laptops and high-speed wireless connections.
  • Convergence describes the multi-directional conversations that are now occurring between and among brands and consumers. While traditional advertising “communicated” in a one-way fashion, convergent advertising is just the opposite. Brands now increasingly rely on feedback from key consumers and conversations with influentials to refine their business strategies, and convergent technologies enable this process. Soon after deploying customer reviews, Golfsmith found an opportunity to reach out to a very vocal customer (and reviewer) located right in Austin, where they are headquartered.
  • Last, convergence means that advertiser- and consumer-created content are beginning to merge. From the early beginnings of contextual advertising to emerging social media platforms like FilmLoop, “content convergence” is a powerful new force in marketing and advertising. Imsurfsentinel clients are inviting this convergence by offering their customers the ability to write and publish product reviews, which may ultimately be used in both on-site and off-site advertising programs. For example, PETCO now uses excerpts from actual customer reviews as copy on its web site and in its email newsletters.

In summary, convergence is a complex and disruptive force but one that advertisers must embrace and learn to leverage. At Imsurfsentinel , we are trying to facilitate this for our clients by providing an ROI-focused application of technology and content convergence.

By continually enhancing our functionality for enabling content creation and distribution, we hope to increase the overall quality, relevance, and authenticity of this content, while also increasing its reach. Looking further out, we see enormous potential in supporting mobile devices to enable consumers to access a product review, reviewer profile, or other community content on demand while he or she is on the go. Stay tuned . . .

Chosing A Blog Design | How To Blog On WordPress

Blogging is one way to make money in the current internet era. This is the same as having a ‘home’ or place in cyberspace. The house you have to shape as you want. Designing the ‘house’ is certainly an important part that can make you or any person who comes to feel comfortable. Well, in this topic we will discuss about the design of your home or blog. What should you consider when choosing your blog’s design?

Blog Topic

Courtesy :

It is the most important consideration when choosing your design. Choose a design that personifies what your blog is about.


It needs to be taken into consideration. Photographs bring life to a blog. Both amateurs and professionals will need to pick a theme that struts their stuff.


It features are a must now days. The trend is toward using more and more video. Although is is easy to place video with in your blog post, you may consider a theme that features video also.

Show Your Talents

Your blog should reflect your product and services.

Seven Rules of Good Blog Design

  1. Content is king. A blog is about content so keep your design simple.
  2. Stand out. Your design should make you stand out from all the other blogs. You want to be remembered.
  3. Stay ad lite. Do not overrun your blog with ads. Be effective with you ads.
  4. Color. Good use of color will make your blog posts easy to read and a pleasure to visit.
  5. Above the fold. Place all of the important information above the fold; start of content, subscription boxes and important images.
  6. Navigation. Because people will come to your blog by SEO and social media they may skip the front page. It is important that your side bars are easy to navigate. You only have a short time to keep your visitor, so make it easy to stay a visit.
  7. Loads quickly. Do you get impatient when a site loads slow? Make sure to keep your visitors attention with a site that loads quickly.

Take a look around and pick out blogs you like. What is it you like about them? Was it color? Content? Did you want to look around? What persona do you want to portray? What will make you stand out from the rest? What colors do you like?

How to Blog on WordPress – Above the Fold

When a visitor comes to your site, you have only a few seconds to convince him to stay. You want to put all the most important data above the fold.

Imagine walking past a newspaper stand. The headlines and pictures catch your eye. The newspaper is folded in half and all that eye-catching information is placed above the fold. This space is reserved for top stories, and pictures. Thus enticing people to buy.

In internet marketing this is also called above the scroll. The idea is to keep all that eye-catching and important data at the top of the screen. This would be your great headlines, your opt in box and your top advertising.

In the last year newspapers have dropped their old format and have gone to a blog look, still keeping it above the fold. The change is partly because of the amount of information that can be put in that blog look. Also newspapers are competing with the Internet.

There are many WordPress themes that will keep your eye-catching important data above the fold. How much information you consider important will determine if you want a one or two column sidebar.

No matter what you choose. Keep your lay out clean, easy to read and navigate.

Go take a look at WordPress Blogs you like. Were you enticed to stay the second you clicked on the site? What features in the sidebar do you like? Did they do a good job of keeping the important data above the fold?

How To Keep Your Blog Fresh

New ideas on your blog can definitely attract new readers and keep them interested if you know how to do it the right way. Here are various ways that this can be done.

Guest Posts Help Promote Your Blog – By getting the word out about your blog, you’ll be attracting attention and activity. Getting more traffic and attention can help to motivate you to take your blog to the next level. One of the best methods for this is by writing guest posts for other sites and blogs in your niche. These guest posts will contain a link pointing at your own blog, which can create a surge of activity for you.

Making Money Through Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has been around for a long time now; you’ll find affiliate marketers using various techniques to boost their sales and make more money, some new and some old. Using affiliate programs on a blog and promoting these products through your posts is an idea that isn’t alien to bloggers. Many online marketers have successfully used affiliate programs on their blogs and have been able to generate good revenue. The primary purpose behind this article is to teach you how to properly implement the very same affiliate marketing strategies into your own blog.

Diversify Your Efforts: It’s easy to stick to just one product when doing affiliate promotions and not go any further than that. There are two reasons why many affiliate bloggers don’t venture out to diversify their efforts and promote a range of products: first of all, they get into a comfort zone with a particular product an don’t want to take a risk by promoting something new.

Blogging On Blogger

Blogger/Blogspot are Google’s blogging format. It is a very easy format to use and I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to do a personal blog. It is FREE.

With in just a few clicks you can be up and running with their easy template set up.

I set up a new blog and I had my first post up in just 10 minutes. That was even with some custom color changes. The templates are very easy to use, and you do have the option create your own look.

How To Blog On WordPress

Understanding and using WordPress themes and plugins are basic for knowing how to blog on WordPress.

You can compare building a WordPress blog to building a house. The basic structure of your house is WordPress it’s self. It is the framework on a piece of real estate (your domain).