Mood-Thematic Congruency

Anyone who's spent any great amount of time talking to me about branding and social marketing will have heard me speak of mood-thematic congruency. It's a term I picked up from Howard and Barry's 1994 paper The Role of Thematic Congruence Between a Mood-Inducing Event and an Advertised Product in Determining the Effects of Mood on Brand Attitudes and has guided me ever since.

In 2005-06, I investigated the concept myself as part of my university dissertation - I studied at the Victoria University of Manchester for a BA in Language, Literacy and Communication. I arranged access to Starbucks in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, and conducted my research - with permission - on real customers of the coffee shop.

Seven Key Ways to Reach Shoppers

Nielsen Wire tweeted this week about the Seven Dimensions of Shopper Experience - but in tweet form, that doesn't leave much room for examination.

Below I list the seven dimensions identified by Nielsen Wire, and take a quick look at how a well-designed website helps you to reach your customers across each topic area.

Adfero DirectNews

For those of you who wonder what I've been doing for the past five years, I was a DirectNews Correspondent, Lead Correspondent, Desk Head, News Feed Editor and/or Article Marketing team member at Adfero DirectNews.

I worked at Adfero from September 2006 until June 2011 and it gave me an excellent insight into agency-side online news production. It's easy to forget that unique web content has to be written from scratch to work properly - it may look like a service, but it's really a manufacturing industry.

Custom Permalinks for Blogger

Creating custom permalinks on Blogger is easier than you might think - but is far from elegant.

The URL of each post you publish is based on the Title of your post. However, if you later change the Title, the URL stays the same.

So to create a custom permalink, just make sure you initially give your post the same Title as you want to use in its URL.

Once the URL is created and fixed, you can edit the post and change the Title to something more catchy - its address on the web will stay the same.

It's not a way of going back to change permalinks of previous posts, but it's a sneaky little workaround for Blogger users who want control of the permalinks for their future blog updates.

NB Check the URL of this post and you'll see I originally went with 'how to create custom permalinks on Blogger' for SEO purposes. After posting, I changed to the text you see above. Watch out for the URL truncating, like this one did, if you use a lengthy Title to begin with.

You can argue with me on Twitter about whether it harms your SEO to have a different Title and URL - personally I think, at least in some cases, it's more valuable to have full control over each variable separately, than have them forced to match.

Bated Breath vs Baited Curiosity

Not really a full post, but just a quick note on a finer point of English grammar - bated breath, vs baited curiosity.

It's a common stumbling point - almost as many people now get 'bated breath' wrong as get it right, at a roughly 60-40 split according to Google search results. But rest assured, 'bated' is the correct spelling.

In the case of 'bated breath', you're talking about anticipation - being on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, waiting for something to happen. And it's that derivation that leads to the correct spelling.

'Bated' breath is literally breath that has abated - or stopped - due to anticipation. It's not 'baited' in the sense of being excited or encouraged by the anticipation.

In contrast, 'baited' curiosity is interest piqued by the upcoming event or by a desire to know more. In this sense, 'bated' curiosity would be a contradiction, implying that your interest has ceased due to your desire to know more.

Look out for it in your web copy, particularly if you outsource your content writing overseas or to more 'affordable' writers. It's the job of legitimate copywriters to know these finer points inside out - and to avoid the pitfalls in our writing.

Google News and the News of the World

This weekend (Sunday 10th July, 2011) marks the final edition of the News of the World, following the recent allegations and investigations into claims of phone hacking at the publication.

I'm not going political here - there are plenty of other blogs and news outlets covering that angle - but I did get to wondering whether NOTW might be on Google News and, unsurprisingly, it is.

The analysis below is based on figures obtained at 3pm on Friday, July 8th, using Google News itself and limited to the previous seven days' worth of articles hosted on the News of the World website.

Wagging the Long Tail of Keywords

There are plenty of SEO have-a-go heroes out there - this article is for you. I spent five years working full-time at an online news agency. We had regular training on everything from on-page SEO to Google News inclusion and even supporting websites through social media.

It's a fast-changing online world and, even if you think you have a good awareness of what's going on, you've probably missed something. I personally believe this is no bad thing - you'll never overtake the competition by doing what they're doing, you need to try something new.

And that is why I'm writing this piece, to highlight the importance of long-tail keywords. They're harder to strategise for, as it's impossible to know the exact wording to target, but the rewards can be great.

Your Password is Wrong

Some years ago, I spent a week working with the IT department of a major high-street bank's mortgage admin unit.

During my time with them, I helped them to achieve their three tasks for the week.

The first was to set up a new working environment for their new Brighton branch.

We went to a computer in an otherwise empty room, right-clicked on the Blackpool folder, pasted a copy and renamed it Brighton; the task was completed.

Second, I helped them choose the items from eBay they should buy for their upcoming charity auction.

Third, they got a technical query from another employee, whose password was being rejected.