Behind the Scenes: Artspoints Introduces New Rewards Program for the Arts in Canada

I’m not one that’s particularly creative but I’ve always dabbled in the arts, specifically music and illustration. For three years I worked on Granville Island and if you don’t know the area it’s a hub for visual and performing arts. Emily Carr University and The Arts Club Theatre are both located on the island as well as many other studios, venues and theatres, which host all kinds of shows. It was only a matter of time before I started talking to the regulars, artists, supporters and students about the well being of our nation’s performing arts.

I was surprised at first, but tartspointshe more I thought about it the more I agreed that Canada’s art scene is kind of struggling. The challenges boil down to many variables such as price, availability, interest, revenue distribution, and the many other activities that compete for our time. I remember in University we would have discussions about the industry couldn’t lower their prices in order to encourage more young adults to go to the opera, plays or ballet. Artspoints is taking a different approach to the problem, but they have developed a way to help drive more people to attend arts events, and in turn, to increase their revenue.

Last winter was my first time ever going to the ballet and it was amazing! The only thing I was a bit hesitant about was the  fact that tickets were $80.00 a piece. With Artspoints not only will the ticket buyers earn points that can be redeemed for tickets, but just like the Cineplex Scene card it will attract and build more loyal customers.

Artspoints works by rewarding their Members when they buy tickets, or shop at, participating merchants with points they can then be redeemed for tickets to the arts. These points can be redeemed at any of the partner venues from coast to coast to coast, and Artspoints buys those tickets from the arts organizations so they aren’t losing revenue. Artspoints’ mandate is to draw larger crowds to the opera, symphony, theatre, film, visual and the  literary arts with the power of a loyalty program.

Just think of all the arts organizations across the country that can benefit from more ticket sales and more revenue. This will mean more shows and sold out venues.

I think that Artspoints is exactly what this nation needs in order to increase the awareness and support of the arts.
Canada is home to many diverse and talented performers ready to show you what they can do. Will you be there?

Author: Anthony Baisi

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Follow the Music: Twitter wins this Race

We’ve already witnessed some big changes in social media this year and I’m sure there will be more to come. Industry leaders are struggling to balance their independence while at the same time trying to branch out and attract diversified segments.

We’ve all heard about Facebook’s Graph Search, Twitter’s Vine and Google’s creeping strategy. However, things are about to get really interesting with the introduction of Twitter Music. Not only does this pave the way for diversification but it completely targets musicians and artists. I found this very interesting because I find a lot of artists and musicians are not very fond of Tweeting. Perhaps with the chance getting their indie song trending on the web there will be more incentive.

When Myspace left the picture it was only a matter of time before an industry leader stood up to plate and offered musicians some leverage. I’m actually kind of surprised Facebook and especially Google didn’t notice this gap in the market; because while Facebook replaced Myspace they never offered music pages or much support for showcasing music, besides events and group pages. However, Facebook has made music an important feature in their recent news feed update, and Google is in the works of building a subscription music service as well.

A little late is better than never.

The app is a standalone app meaning that you don’t need to sign in with Twitter to access the platform, however there is subtle branding on the player. It will also take information that you share via Twitter to suggest similar artists and bands you may like. The player was built by “We are Hunted” and was acquired by Twitter sometime in the last 6 months says CNET. It will be released on iOS sometime this month and the music will be streamed via Soundcloud.

The question: Will people find the application useful enough to replace their favourite music discovery websites like Jango, or Pandora? I don’t think it’ll replace Jango Radio for me but it’ll definitely come in handy when finding new independent artists and sharing emerging talent.

The truth: I’m looking forward to it.

Author: Anthony Baisi

16 Easy Offsite SEO Tips for 2013

In the last article we talked about website marketing and the benefits of orank-highernsite search engine optimization. Today we are going to explore some offsite SEO practices for increasing visibility on search engine result pages. An emerging theme I’ve been encountering online is the push for diversification. That includes diversifying your anchor text, link profiles, traffic sources and your overall strategy. This will help in broadening the realm of interest and increase the chances of connecting with prospects. Keep this suggestion in the back of your mind while going over the recommended SEO tasks.

When comparing onsite and offsite SEO you have to keep in mind that they both play vital roles in your website’s visibility. If you recall the image from the prior post if was of an iceberg with the exposed part of the ice representing onsite and the submerged part representing offsite.  This means that while they are complementary and of the same approach there is a lot more to offsite optimization. While completing the tasks below keep in mind that you want to be building your presence online so that search engine crawlers can recommend your website in confidence. If these spiders find that your website has a lot of credible mentions they will in turn refer your website by ranking your site higher in SERPs.

1.       Article Marketing – Choose keywords, create a catchy title, and use proper structure
Try: Ezine and Goarticles

2.       Setup a Blog – Create an internal blog for your website and don’t over promote yourself, offer your visitors content they will find helpful or applicable

3.       Go Social – Setup Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Youtube, and many more, be consistent when you post relevant and engaging content

4.       Try publishing short educational Ebooks/PDF reports –  Create useful resources and brand the pages with your log

5.       Web directories – There are a lot of free online directories and it helps to get some publicity
Try Viesearch, DMOZ, and Jayde

6.       Discover forums – Become a member of some relevant forums and offer insight and share your industry tips

7.       Comment in Blogs – This is a great way to build some relationships with fellow bloggers and it could eventually lead to some good links

8.       Try a PPC Campaign – Explore Google Adwords and take advantage of their simulator feature for practice

9.       Submit to Social bookmarking websites – Try and refer people to your blog posts as they should include the most unique and engaging content
Try: Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, The Web Blend

10.   Explore Multimedia (Slideshare, YouTube, Pinterest, Prezi, Flickr, Instagram) – Develop presentations/video on product use or frequently asked questions, post pictures and relevant content on photo sharing sites

11.   Discover online communities Google+, Facebook – Become a member or communities and setup your own to share interesting articles and to ask/answer industry questions

12.   Guest Blog – Try guest blogging on websites, you could even offer guest blogging in your company blog

13.   Localize your content, Google maps, local directories – Get your website on Google maps and make sure you check out local directories

14.  Post answers in Yahoo Answers – It’s beneficial to occasionally check out Yahoo Answers and try to offer some answers relevant to you competitive advantage

15.   Develop a Wiki Sandbox—and publish it – This is a longer process but definitely worth it and it has the potential to lead to some good links

16.   Press releases – Write some press releases on company news and get the word out there
Try: 1888pressrelease

Together mentioned tactics will help you become more visible in SERPs. Remember to keep diversification in mind while developing your links and strategies. Keep your eyes open and if you see your competitors somewhere you aren’t make sure to register and set up camp. It’s highly recommended that you try to be everywhere that your competitors are to ensure further reach.

While some of these tactics are basic approaches to SEO it’s essential that you try and explore as many options as possible in creating awareness. Try and build healthy and lasting relationships in the blogging community and remember which hat you’re wearing when writing. Have fun with it and be natural when personalizing content it will show in your writing style and approach.

Author: Anthony Baisi

The New Social Network

Social websites and networks have evolved to offline communities as young Vancouver tech firm reaches their market in a whole new way. After just launching in January, My Viral Web has been creating a memorable impact in their city and in their online communities. They are achieving this by helping their community and networks reach out and build relevant and beneficial connections in their area.

My Viral Web noticed a gap between small to medium sized business and successful online marketing strategy. They realized that the gap existed because people are often uninformed, misled, or simply nervous about diving into the realm of online marketing. To be honest I still see a lot of established businesses hesitate before they decide to implement social media marketing or email campaigns in their own strategy. The young tech firm then decided to form Vancouver’s Online Marketing Specialists on Meetup.com to properly educate and direct those interested.

By creating offline connections from utilizing the reach of online communities My Viral Web is able to provide educational direction for interested entrepreneurs. While hosting guest speakers who are experts in their own industries they create a diverse and knowledgeable network in their own city. Working with other successful entrepreneurs in the city or with acknowledged professionals they attract groups of 40 or 50 to their events. These guest speakers share their stories of success including the hardships, the lessons they learned and of course, their tips and tricks.

My Viral Web believes that Vancouver is rich with entrepreneurial spirit and they simply want to provide them with the right tools for achieving their goals. The idea has received a very warm welcome from their local community as they plan to continue with the traditional approach of building that genuine word of mouth momentum. Affiliating themselves with those close to them they intend on winning over their city by offering a fun, engaging and educational experience for their audience.

Vancouver’s Online Marketing Specialist’s next Expert Series event will feature the co-founder of Vancity Buzz, Karm Samul. Vancity Buzz is an inside source of local happenings that was formed in 2008 and has experienced tremendous growth since then. The event is scheduled for March 21st at 6:00pm at My Viral Web’s new office: Penthouse Suite – 1199 West Hastings.

If you’re in the tech industry, keep your eye on Vancouver.

Author: Anthony Baisi

7 Tips for Blogging

Staying up to date with social http://www.myviralweb.com/category/blogwebsites and effective marketing can be an arduous task especially when you’re running a blog. It’s true that blogging takes a lot of commitment and thought but it doesn’t have to be so time consuming and complicated. Here are seven easy steps that will put your blog on the right track for success:

Set it up right and keep the momentum strong by publishing your content consistently. When I say consistently I mean if you write three articles a week or if you write one article a month, try to keep that pace going. If your readers don’t see enough consistency they may unsubscribe and replace your blog with a more active one.

Stay organized and if you have great ideas write them down. Make a calendar for publishing dates and new ideas ahead of time to ensure consistency. Archive ideas so you when you hit writer’s block you’ll still have some content on the back burner.

Be a part of the community; get interactive with relevant social groups in Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Google+. These are great places to share the stories you’ve read and to further discuss them with new people. You can share your stories as well and generate new followers and readers. Make sure to show your appreciation with new comments and shares by thanking them and creating conversation.

Properly align your business, internal blog and external blogs with the right keywords and search optimization strategy. This will help keep your network relevant and help your business/blog develop a stronger presence in the industry.

Try adding a call to action at the end of your posts to see if your content can generate leads or sales. You could even try a special offer at the end of your post like a 30 day free trial or exclusive discount option. Make sure you have sharing options with all social media platforms and a subscription to your RSS feed.

Diversify your target market and try promoting your content across a wider range of channels. Remember to be creative and natural when doing so to appear relevant and well suited for the new audience.

Make sure to track results and monitor your blog’s activity including, traffic, links, and shares. You want to know where your traffic is coming from and what platforms provide the most engagement. This will teach you which channels deserve more attention and who you should be targeting.

Together these tactics will help you determine what works and what doesn’t. Remember to rely on your intuition, if it doesn’t sit right with you, don’t do it; unless, however, that is what you’re going for?

Happy blogging!

Author: Anthony Baisi

Blogs vs Big Media

confusionWhen I think about digital marketing I automatically think of social media, SEO and email. Blogging is still in the back of mind but I never thought it had the potential to grow into a channel of its own.  Bloggers today have the readership, following and trust built off their words and reputations which holds major potential for marketers. Why wouldn’t big corps target bloggers with mass followings to promote, review or even mention their product? It makes perfect sense, right?

Blogs are one of the most trusted sources of information online when it comes down to a purchase decision. People trust blogs because of the established credibility, reputation, and the sense of human disclosure. This means that the viewer expects the writer to be a filter for the corporate noise while providing insight and guidance on what works best.

Once blogs get big enough they are often sponsored and riddled with advertisements and advertorials. When bloggers take corporate handouts it destroys the bond between reader and writer, it may as well call itself the Fox News Blog. Sadly, this happens more often than we think and it’s tarnishing the trustworthiness of blogs and big media.

The journalistic integrity is beginning to dangle by a thread as bloggers are becoming strong competition to larger media outlets. Nowadays everyone’s in a rat race frenzy for traffic, views, shares, and social engagement and this is where the fat fingered corps come in. But, readers don’t just want juicy stories they want writing with truth, relevance and genuine opinion.

While bloggers are growing towards a higher trust level, large media corps are spinning their tires with pop culture and main stream commotion. Blogs remain off the beaten path and serve a highly focused and segmented market. Focusing on a specific segment helps bloggers reach their defined market because they aren’t just spraying content in the hopes something sticks, they know what audience wants.

While the big News Sites are still the leading channel for trustworthiness, it’s an understanding that more and more people are beginning to pay attention to smaller media outlets.  More people understand that big media sites are often inflated and censored and they are finding what they need with blogs. Also, blogs are the next best thing for influencing a purchase other than company and retail sites.

I can only predict that by the end of the year blogs will have moved up the trustworthiness ranking and News Sites will fall. What do you think?

Author: Anthony Baisi

How the Internet is like the Spinning Wheel

This is spinningwheelthe information age and just like the industrial revolution had its “putting out” system we are having our start-up and entrepreneurial period. It seems likes the amount of small businesses, free lancers, and entrepreneurs flocking online to sell their services, products or ideas is only growing. Instead of simply producing goods from our homes like the industrial revolution we are using the internet to conduct many different channels in order to run our business.

With the internet we can control manufacturing, distribution, sales, customer support and more without leaving our homes. Social media marketing has helped this exodus gain more power to reach their desired target markets. It has helped build networks from hundreds to thousands and it has helped raise thousands to millions in funds. However, with great power comes great responsibility, right? Proper online marketing can help a business complete what we’ve just mentioned but poor practice can lead to… well, nothing.

There are unwritten laws for every practice and online marketing is no exception. While there are many out there that choose to ignore the code, there are more that abide by it. By using common courtesy and genuine interaction principals we can extend our reach and impact of any message. There’s no need for irrelevant, unwanted, and over bearing messages. But this is to be expected because the surge of new online businesses has spurred a flux of online marketers. Unfortunately, this includes the good, the bad and the ugly.

But with every problem comes an opportunity.

There has also been a rise in online marketing platforms which offer a range of marketing services in one channel. Of course these platforms range in types of service and in price but they are becoming very popular in order to satisfy the growing demand. Redefining how their clients think of online marketing these platforms help business’ find, connect and engage with the proper audience. The client is also supplied with monitoring and analytic tools to weigh the cost to benefits of the campaign.

It was only a matter of time before the business industry received a little reform.

Tools like these help small to medium sized businesses discover their market in a whole new way. They give the little guys leverage for reaching their audience and for creating genuine conversation. They also help the client visualize how their stakeholder’s actions affect them. Ultimately, tools like these help businesses stay ahead of the curve and one step ahead of their competitors.

Author: Anthony Baisi