Archive for November, 2010

Last night, I went to First Avenue for the Tribute to the Replacements show celebrating the 25th anniversary of Tim. The ‘mats, disbanded in 1991. I saw them a few times growing up and collected all their LPs like most avid Twin City fans. Last night’s show (an annual event) was a lot like the shows I remember – loud, disorderly, and pretty undecipherable.

Actually, the lyrics were pretty clear — no drink induced slurring — and passionate. I just wish I knew who the bands were. They all announced themselves when the took the stage, but the only band I could understand was the Honey Dogs. And I had already recognized Adam Levy, anyway.

The crowd looked a lot like me — people who had been to a lot of shows and now wisely wore ear plugs. Ear plugs are great to protect your ears from pounding base beats emanating 3 feet in front of you, but they make mumbles all the harder to understand.

Being totally out of touch with current bands — I seem to hit a lot of old favorites (the Jayhawks, Semisonic, Trip Shakespeare etc) now that I’m back in town– I thought I was hearing Babes in Toyland, only to discover this morning it was Pink Mink I enjoyed so much.

So what to do? First Ave already does a great job of marketing themselves virtually (Twitter, Facebook, and a super-robust website) and in the club with multiple screens publishing related Twitter feeds (sorry, I keep forgetting to take a photo of that). But the bands? Many have great websites, but that doesn’t help in the Main Room.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the City Pages review if you want to read about how awesome the music was and see the set list!

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When I blog, I always include links to things I like. When I read blogs, I almost always click on the embedded links. My pet peeve are links that don’t open to a new page, but instead open in the current page.

In WordPress, my blogging, tool, this is pretty easy to do.

Here’s a step-by-step list of how to insert links:

  1. Write your blog in the “visual” vs. “HTML” mode for ease.
  2. Type in the title of your link just as you would write anything in your blog.
  3. Go back and highlight the text you want for the title.
  4. Click on the “infinity looking symbol” in your blog tool bar. You will then see the following:
  5. Paste into the URL field the web address of your link
  6. Check the box that says “Open link in new window/tab”
  7. Click the “Save Link” blue button at the bottom.

How to edit links so that they open in a new window/tab:

  1. Go to Edit mode from your dashboard for the post
  2. Highlight the link
  3. Once again click on the “infinity looking symbol” in your blog tool bar.
  4. The same window will open up, as above.
  5. Just click on the box that says “Open link in new window/tab”
  6. Click the “Save Link” blue button at the bottom.

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50 Reasons to love Minneapolis/St. Paul - The perfect list of why I live here and love it.

I’m going to simply reprint the list here because it makes me laugh. I need to laugh. Thanksgiving was freezing. I have to relearn what 9 degrees means when going outside after 4 years down south.

Check it out and add your own:

1. Craig Kilborn, Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Winona Ryder, and the guy who started Pitchfork all left, so we have the place practically to ourselves.

2. You can hide your neglected, doughy body in comfy clothes for 75% of the year.

3. Comfort food. Comfort food. Comfort food.

4. The rest of America watches Vikings games every Sunday and it’s not their home team.

5. We’re the most literate people in the United States, making it a great place to be a geek.

6. We take advantage of summer like the last tipsy hot girl (or guy) at the bar … at closing time… at a singles meeting… on Valentine’s night.

7. We invented Sarah Palin’s accent.

8. We have sidewalks in the sky.

9. Scandinavian roommates (you can get away with murder).

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Makes us want to finger our cell phones

​10. A Princesighting is still exciting enough to get everyone in the club pawing for their cell phones, and they happen more than you’d think.

11. Cheap rent + supportive community = never-ending supply of fresh arts.

12. The most theater seats per capita in the country.

13. Bona fide mom and pop record stores still exist here.

14. Neil Gaiman, The Coen Brothers and Josh Hartnett are sort-of local.

15. Most of us collectively hate Block E and want to ship Michele Bachmann to Guam immediately.

16. Winter makes us strong.

​17. Two words: Scott Seekins.


Photo: Rob Nelson -- Come on. You knew it was going to be in here somewhere.

18. Mall of America is NBD (but darn it if we don’t love that IKEA).

19. Vintage and thrift stores abound.

20. If you get pulled over in Wisconsin (which really isn’t an “if”), you drive away with the consolation that at least you live in the Twin Cities, thank god.

21. Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak can be seen riding a Nice Ride through the downtown city streets on a summer day.

22. However passive-aggressive Minnesota Nice may be, it remains, nonetheless, passive.

23. Every goddamn band on the planet stops here on their way to Chicago, and you can see them in tiny venues.

24. Recipes that call for Jell-O and mini-marshmallows are filed under “S” for salad.


Photo: bluwmongoose -- File under "S" for salad.

25. Surly, named Beer Advocate’s “Best Brewery in America” makes beer just for us.

26.  You’re never more than a block and a half away from coffee shops and a healthy array of cafes that don’t actually serve you your food–but still expect tips.

27. Not paying to ride the lightrail.

28. We celebrate May Day with a parade of giant puppets.

29. We have a thriving independent comic book community.

30. Target Field is the nation’s greenest stadium.

31. After 25 years of near extinction, river otters have returned to the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

32. There are more than a few people here who are crazy enough to bike all year round, something that will never cease to terrify and amaze us.


Photo: beret claire -- It really is the greatest ballpark in the country.

​33. We might drive aimlessly like we have nowhere to go in our cars, but biking is another story. Screw that “on your left” business and watch the eff out.

34. Because of a rivarly with Wisconsin, all serial killers stay on their side of the border.

35. Dive bars are more hip than posh bars, and you can get drunk in the middle of the day and use the fact that it’s 30-below-zero as an excuse.

36. We’ve definitely become a foodie town, but that doesn’t mean we won’t find some fancy way to serve you tater tots.

37. You know at least ten people who work at Target or Best Buy, which means job security ain’t no thang.

38. There is no cozier feeling than sipping a hot drink safely inside during a snowstorm.

​39. Birthplace of the Juicy Lucy.

40. The Mighty Ducks 1 and maybe parts of 2.

41. We’re home of the original zombie pub crawl.

42. Mark Wheat, Mary Lucia and 89.3 The Current.

43. Our state fair is one of the highest attended fairs in the nation.

44. We’ve been to the set of Purple Rain countless times and totally get the Lake Minnetonka reference.

45. 10,000 lakes and at least four are in Minneapolis proper, making urban lake swimming a fundamental human right.

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Times change. People move along.

​46.  St. Paul is the only 9-to-5 metropolis in the nation while Minneapolis stays open late, meaning the Twin Cities is like an awesome giant mullet: Business in the front, party in the back.

47. The Walker Art Center is considered a heavy-hitter nationally on the modern art scene.

48. National music mags recognize that there is/was such a thing as “the Minneapolis sound”.

49. The Grainbelt Beer sign.

50. Our Senator used to be on Saturday Night Live.

Any we missed? Let us know below (as you usually do, which is just one more thing we mostly love about Minneapolis/St. Paul: While we’re diplomatic to your face, we’ll definitely give you an earful online).


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Today’s INDI 2090 Promotional Communications class discussed how we could reach our “buyers” with news of our social media plan.

Again, this was a hypothetical discussion using our university as the tool to facilitate my students’ mastery of one of their text books, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. From a teaching and learning perspective, it’s much easier to apply a new idea to something you already know well. For my students and me, our common knowledge base is St. Catherine University.

But first, I should define what I mean by “buyer.” From a marketing point of view, a buyer is anyone whose problems are solved by your product or service. That problem, in our case, could be anything from just wanting to catch up with your alma mater (alumnae), checking in what’s happening on campus (current students, faculty, and staff), or trying to decide on which college to attend (potential students and their families).

When you try to solve a buyer’s problem, you need to speak like your buyer — use their language, their phrasing, their style. We ran into this last week in class when searching for St. Kate’s in various social media.

The problem is that most people — all of my students, in any case — refer to our school as “St. Kate’s.” Our official name is Saint Catherine University. Our former name is the College of St. Catherine. On June 1, 2009 the school changed names to better ‘reflect its comprehensive nature.’ It makes complete sense to me. However, being known by multiple names to multiple buyers means people seek information differently.

Last week we couldn’t find the Flickr stream because we searched for “St. Kate’s.” This week we had trouble finding the YouTube channel because it’s listed as “StCatherineU.” However, when we searched for St. Kate’s on YouTube, we found some great videos, although many had nothing to do with us. When we searched for “St. Catherine University” having learned with our Flickr error, we found some really interesting videos from random Katies and university departments.

Our favorite is a rap from the Nursing Department.

It’s funny. It’s real. It’s unprofessional. It’s about patient safety — another interest of mine. It’s the kind of media that would make someone want to be a nurse and study at St. Kate’s. But it’s nowhere on the official St. Kate’s website (that we could find).

Our discussion today began as a way to get people talking and seeing our (hypothetical) work from last week. How could we use news releases — frequently, with content all our buyers wanted, on our website, and distributed through a newswire service — to tell people what we were doing if our work didn’t naturally go viral?

Our first step was to focus our website for our buyers vs. by categories (athletics, student life, outreach, admissions etc.) Our buyers are probably interested in all those things, but maybe not every part of each category. What if, instead, we had a prominent section labeled “Potential Students?” But, oops that’s probably not the best wording, it’s what a marketing instructor would call current high schools students. We’d be better off asking them what they look for on a website. Or at the very least, we could scout around (secondary research) other college websites to see if they are buyer or category focused.

A site I really like is Duke University’s. It’s photography vs. text heavy. The main picture changes every 2 to 3 seconds. In the large blue box in the bottom right hand corner is the tagline “Watch the videos. Read the stories.” The topic featured in that blue box changes along with the main photo, from things like “Outrageous Ambitions” to “Research Changes Lives.” Click on one of those and you jump to a brief, professional slideshow narrated by a current student obviously passionate about their subject. It’s brilliant–the students tell and show you why they are there.

Another great example of reaching out to “potential students” is Macalester College’sLife at Mac” section of their website. Like Duke’s, it relies heavily on video and student voices. It’s very current as well, with photos of snowball fights from 3 days ago.

This week, my students will blog about marketing St. Kate’s. I can’t wait to see and hear what they have to say.

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Taking a cue from one of my students, Miss Angeleen, I’m just going to make a list of what I’d like to be writing about…

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An update to my post from yesterday.

St. Catherine University is on Flickr.com, we just couldn’t find it last night. Here is the link to see some Katies in Action. One of my favorite sets of photos is here,– when St. Catherine University President Andrea J. Lee, IHM, sent the opening convocation to the Minnesota State Fair, all decked out in St. Kate’s Purple.

To learn more about St. Kate’s, just go to their News Page. In the upper left corner, there is a link to “Photo Collections.” Yeah, it’s there. We couldn’t find it yesterday, but we only took about 10 minutes to search on the web for St. Kate’s. We were scanning multiple web pages, going to likely sources (Facebook.com, Twitter.com etc) and we didn’t find this. We completely missed the Photostream on  Flickr.com. I think we must have searched for “St. Kate’s” in “groups” on Flickr instead of the more accurate St. Catherine University. Our mistake.

The photos are awesome, but they need to be findable. They need to be obvious. It’s these kind of images that bring the campus to life. My students would and did say, they need to be where prospective students are looking. Parents might go to the news page, but high school students would probably go to Student Life or Admissions.

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Today I challenged my INDI 2090 Promotional Communications students to apply the principles of their textbook, The New Rules of Marketing and PR to our school, St. Catherine University.

We began with the Mission of the University because all marketing must support an organization’s goal. We chose a section of the Catholic Identity:

From its social tradition, with its consistent commitment to the poor and outcast, we value and reach out to those marginalized by our society and churches, and in particular, we seek to promote women’s leadership.

This belief infuses the university from the vision statement to the curriculum. From an admissions perspective, St. Kate’s reaches out to first generation college students and under-served members of the population. As a class, we chose to focus on this segment of the university’s mission, or ‘objective’ in marketing terms.

I challenged my students to create a viral marketing rave. We analyzed the current efforts — a fairly generic Facebook page, a private Twitter account, a variety of blogs (not cross linked), but no Flickr stream.

This is what we came up with.

Give Flip Cameras to 100 students:  athletes, admission ambassadors, student leaders, international students, and first generation college students

Ask them to record videos about

  • Their experiences at St. Kate’s
  • Day to Day Life at St. Kate’s
  • Just show their college life
  • Favorite parts of the campus
  • Social Life at the university
  • Answer the question, “What about boys?”

“Boys” always come up during tour groups. Someone always asks. Shouldn’t the answer to this be somewhere easy to find? Again, my students thought videoblogs of “where the boys are” (at the other ACTC schools) and where students socialize (on campus, in the Highland Village neighborhood etc.) would be helpful. Prospective students, if not their families, want to know where to find them. And they also want to know what it means to be in a single gender academic environment:  less distracting, easy to roll out of bed and go to class, and able to speak their minds.

Since we were reaching out to prospective students, our videos should also be “in language” — the tongue spoken by families at home. They should reference what’s also important to parents, such as safety, support, small class sizes, affordability and academic excellence.

My students theoretically created some great content, now they want to spread the word. Students suggested a more interactive Facebook presence, a YouTube channel, a directory of St. Kate’s voices via a blog directory, and frequent Tweets. They want to hear from Sister Andrea J. Lee, the President of St. Catherine University in a blog about what it means to be Catholic today.

Speaking of blogs, many people should be writing them. They should be easy to find on the website. There should be blogs about The Reflective Woman and Global Search for Justice and blogs from popular faculty, student leaders, athletes, international students, and staff about their life and work at St. Kate’s.

There are many proud and passionate voices at St. Catherine and this was just the work of 8 students and their instructor, this afternoon. My evening section took on the same passage and went a completely different route. I’ll write about them, tomorrow.

Lastly, my students agreed, all of these tools need to be linked and integrated. We found some information in a lot of different places on the web. It would be hard for  prospective students, employers, or donors to get a true feel for St. Kate’s as it is currently marketed on the web.

For instance, Monday, November 15th is “a one-day online giving campaign.” Donations up to $50,000 will be matched on a 1:1 basis all day long. It’s on the homepage of the website and as a faculty member, I received an email inviting me to donate. But it’s not on Facebook. It’s not being Tweeted. A Google Blog Search didn’t find a single blog mentioning it.

This is news! This is Big! People need to donate. I am, aren’t you?

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Everyday I walk through my city.

I talk to my neighbors, I visit local businesses, I play at parks, and get some exercise. These are things I could do anywhere (ideally with sidewalks…). My ramblings are unique because I read poetry along the way–under my feet, no less.

The city of St. Paul, MN in conjunction with Public Arts Saint Paul and Saint Paul Public Works and artist-in-residence, Marcus Young, publishes local poetry through out the city as part of regular sidewalk maintenance.

How cool is that?

Poems are chosen via a yearly contest open to any St. Paul resident. For more information, visit the Everyday Sidewalk Project. Information for the 2011 contest will be announced in March 2011. If you, like me, are interested in poetry in front of your house in St. Paul, MN, simply call the Public Works Sidewalk Section at 651-266-6120.

So what does this have to do with marketing? Everything. Think about what this tells us — “the buyer” of what St. Paul has to offer — about “The Most Livable City in America.” At the very least we know St. Paul is an artsy city where public art, planning, everyday citizens and vision are important as well as budgets. Why budgets? Because this is a collaborative project funded by Public Arts Saint Paul and implemented by Public Works.

If you like what you’re reading, then support Public Arts in St. Paul by shopping online or giving today. Your donation is tax deductible.

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My new favorite restaurant is a tiny deli tucked into the corner of an old apartment complex. Acme Deli has maybe 4 tables and a 1000 different sandwich combinations. The food is great.

The Acme Deli on St. Clair and Brimhall in St. Paul

I stopped in recently because everyone I knew was talking about it. Everyone. Even the kids at the bus stop. So I knew I had to visit.

The problem with having a favorite sandwich, often, is you only love it at one place. You spend the rest of your dining out time telling everyone how such-and-such restaurant makes a better sandwich.

I love grilled cheese tomato sandwiches. I love them at the dive-diner on the edge of town in Morris, MN and at Haskell’s Port of Excelsior lakeside bar. I grew up with these sandwiches — it’s what I ate in college and graduate school. The Port sandwiches were always greasy and came with awesome fries. The Morris one was Velveeta on WonderBread and totally satisfying. None of the tomatoes were very good.

Back to the Acme Deli. When you enter, you pick up a cool little menu to design your own sandwich. Being totally overwhelmed with a 2 year old in tow, it was an easy decision to go for my old favorite, but on whole wheat with red onions because I knew she’d eat it. I was impressed. In 5 minutes, my perfectly grilled and not-at-all greasy sandwich arrived on 2 plates with 2 pickle spears for easy sharing. The cheese (provolone) was perfectly melted, the bread crisply toasted –perfect for dipping in my tomato basil soup.

So of course I tell my friends about it. But I also “yelped.” Yelp.com is the online way to give a shout out or complain about a local business, ask a question (“Fresh Lemongrass, please?“) and connect with your friends at the same time.

I “yelped” because Acme Deli asked me to with their handwritten sign taped to the register.

How cool is that?

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Mashable.com--a blog for teaching

This week, I assigned my Promotional Communications students about 25 URLs to read or watch. I did this because I couldn’t find a textbook in June that adequately presented interactive media let alone grasped its importance.

As a teacher, it’s a lot harder to teach from a series of articles than to follow a publisher’s lecture outline. I know I’m doing well, when my students burst into my lectures and relate our discussion to their projects. Of course, they are supposed to do that, but I can tell when it’s spontaneous and genuine. The canned lecture outlines rarely produce this kind of excitement in class.

Today, we’ll be discussing Mashable.com articles about social media marketing. I love this site. Just about any question I have or my students might have about implementing social media policies is answered there. Except one.

What’s missing is the elusive “How do I get people to find me, if I’m only on the web?” By that I mean, of course, without any other traditional media, how do you get listeners, buyers, readers, etc.? I think the answer is that as a business you must participate first in what others are publishing. I.E. I read someone’s Tweet, comment on it, and then they follow me. Regarding my blog, are people or organizations just searching by tag or category and find my entries that way?

You have to start somewhere, I suppose.

Update…Mashable.com answered my question.

November 3rd, Mashable.com Tweeted: “5 Ways to Promote Your Social Media Efforts Offline” – by @sarahfkessler,” which linked me to a great article about how to use the offline or real world

Okay, it’s nothing earth shattering: Just use the Real World — creatively — to bring attention to your virtual one.

5 Ways to Promote Your Social Media Efforts Offline: Nov 03, 2010 -

“The real world is often overlooked when small businesses try to raise awareness of their online efforts. But with a few clear exceptions, people still do most of their living offline. Physical space can be as good of a place as any to advertise your website, social media accounts and blogs.

There are a bevy of creative ways to get your online properties in people’s offline views, and we’ve got the photographic evidence to prove it. These seven strategies will help you kick-start your brainstorm for the perfect offline efforts for your online strategy.”

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