I'm B.L. Ochman, and I've been helping blue chip companies incorporate new media into their marketing mix since 1996.

I'm an accomplished and expert digital strategist, certified YouTube Channel Creator, president of whatsnextonline.com and publisher of multiple award-winning What's Next Blog.

I create live-streaming events and social video content for leading brands, associations and agencies.

I co-host and produce the award-winning weekly Beyond Social Media Show

I contribute to Ad Age Digital Next, Social Media Today and others. On Twitter, I'm @whatsnext. Find me on Google+

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cool Tool – New! Facebook 20 Percent Grid Rule Checker for Advertisers

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The new Facebook Grid Tool shows you whether images in your ad contain more than 20 percent text. More text violates Facebook’s 20 percent grid rule. Ads that do that are rejected by Facebook – or worse.

Worse than rejected?

What’s worse than having an ad rejected that you worked hard to create? The ad will run, but with hardly any delivery.

To use the Grid Rule Checker, you place your image within the grid. Text is allowed to appear in a maximum of five boxes on the grid. If the picture/banner has text in six or more boxes, Facebook will reject it because it violates the 20 percent text rule.

Facebook has additional image requirements for ads, including:

  • No before/after images
  • No images of a person in pain and/or distressed
  • No false functionality (such as a play button in the center of an image, encouraging viewers to think the ad is a video so they will click on it)

BL Ochman | July 6, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How to Banish Bullshit From Your Corporate Writing

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A No Bullshit Interview with Josh Bernoff

By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

In this short video, Josh Bernoff, author of Writing Without Bullshit, offers three top tips for taking the BS out of business writing.

“My definition of bullshit,” he says, “is any communication that is not clear and effective.”

Writing Without Bullshit

Boy, oh boy, is there ever a lot of muddled prose on the Internet. Why, I asked, is there so much bullshit in corporate writing? Simply put, Bernoff responded, “it’s the fear of saying what you really mean.” And the bad habits we learned in school.

Watch the video and learn how to become a No BS business writer.

Learn more at Bernoff’s Without Bullshit website or, if you’re at work, this SFW link will lead you to his site.

BL Ochman | June 27, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nine Great Reasons for Corporate Blogging

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

For companies with something to say that may be of interest beyond the CEO’s office or the marketing department, here are nine great reasons for corporate blogging. (I originally published this post in 2008, and I think the reasons still apply. I’ve updated some of the links and references.)

1. Chief among them: the research, reading and writing for a blog help you keep learning. Sadly, many people really haven’t learned anything new in the past 10 years. But you need to keep learning to keep attracting readers.

2. Because knowledge means nothing until it is shared. Being a respected member of the community requires contribution as well as consumption.

Add to these, the following blogging objectives:
3. Blogging can help you to be a thought leader: E.g. Charlene Li.
4. You can generate awareness in the market of your products/services/your personal brand: E.g. Dustin Stout
5. You’ll get to know other thought leaders in the space: E.g. Francine Hardaway
6. You can obtain feedback from your audience (readers, customers etc.) on new products/services: E.g. Toby Bloomberg
7. Make sure your blog appears for specific terms on organic search (Search Engine Optimization): E.g. David Erickson

8. I also like the reason Robert Moskowitz gave in iMedia Connection back in 2005

“Blog to gain on the Big Dogs”

9. And, as Hugh Macleod at gapingvoid pointed out “why I have a blog, I suppose. I like the control. I write something, I post it, it gets read, hopefully good things happen as a result, somewhere on this small blue planet of ours”

Why You Should Blog
Blog Metrics: Six Recommendations for Measuring Your Success
“Reports of Blogging’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated.”
Why most corporations should not blog

Got anything to add to this list?

BL Ochman | June 20, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Clever New $500K #MyOreoCreation Contest Showcases Skyrocketing Prizes

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Oreo Cookies is renown for clever marketing. Their latest #MyOreoCreation contest is fun and it has a delicious $500K prize. It also shows how much money it takes to induce consumer created content these days. Not all that long ago, a $10K prize was a big deal. Just saying…

From their warp speed blackout ad in the 2013 Superbowl, to their social media interactions with other brands, Oreo marketing is sheer genius.


Oreo is asking us to create our own Oreo cookie. The contest, which is open until July 15, could earn you $500K! Come up with a new Oreo flavor, use the hashtags #MyOreoCreation and #Contest and share your ideas on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win.

The video featuring Ellie Kemper and friends introducing the contest is heading toward 5.5 million views on YouTube and 925K on Facebook.

BL Ochman | June 19, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Senator Rand Paul 2016 Tweet Suggests Shooting at Government

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Sen. Rand Paul was present at Wednesday morning’s Congressional baseball practice, where a shooter opened fired and shot 5 people, before being killed by Capitol Police.

Sen. Paul spoke to CNN and MSNBC immediately afterward, praising Capitol Hill police for preventing a “massacre.”

But he apparently forgot to delete his June 23 2016 Tweet to FOX News Sr Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. It was still online this evening.

What Goes Online, Stays Online

Just in case that Tweet gets deleted, here it is. What goes on line, stays on line.

BL Ochman | June 15, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Funwalkers License Plates – My 5th Entrepreneurial Venture – Launches

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I have just launched a new product called Funwalkers. They are humorous license plates for walkers, rollators and scooters. It’s my 5th entrepreneurial venture and the one I am most excited about. It’s a side hustle right now, but I plan to scale it.

Funwalkers has two intentions:

  • making people smile
  • encouraging seniors to make more use of their walkers by removing the stigma and embarrassment often associated with them.

I was inspired to create Funwalkers.com when my 94 year-old friend fell, broke her hip and had to use a walker. Like my 89 year-old dad, who needs a walker, she was frustrated and embarrassed by her lack of independent mobility.

The walker was a visible sign of her fragility. She didn’t want to be seen in public with it, and insisted she “would never take her walker to the ballet or the opera.”

Now she’s running around town with a license plate that says “Act My Age? Why?” and handing out my business cards to all the people who ask her about it. Matter of fact, her photo is on my Funwalkers business cards. She asked me for “I Brake for Animals” too.

Funwalkers are available with 30+ fun sayings and they can be customized. So far, our most popular ones are “Yes it was a skydiving accident,” and “I brake for animals.” They attach in seconds to handlebars of walkers, rollators and scooters.

Scary Facts

Seniors are precisely who experts say are most in need of walkers to prevent falls that are the leading cause of injury, hospitalization and death for people over 65 according to the CDC. As an aging boomer, that scares the crap out of me :)

Funwalkers Goals

What also is exciting to me, besides seeing an idea take physical form, and seeing people enjoy Funwalkers, is that for the first time I am not the product. Now I have to do all the things I’ve done for my clients for the last many years. Challenging indeed. But also exciting and fun.

Once Funwalkers is established online, and gets some press, I plan to scale it up. Please stay tuned :)

Previous Ventures

Previous entrepreneurial ventures include B.L. Ochman Public Relations, which I grew into one of the 10 largest independent PR firms in the U.S.; whatsnextonline.com, my current digital consultancy which has been serving major brands since 1995; Pawfun.com which was not a commercial success, but was a lot of fun; and Maximum-Plus.com which placed a bad bet on Google+.

B.L. Ochman is a uniquely experienced digital pioneer who has been helping blue chip brands incorporate social media into their marketing strategy since 1996. She publishes What’s Next Blog, co-hosts and produces the award-winning Beyond Social Media Show podcast and contributes to AdAge DigitalNext. On Twitter, she’s @whatsnext and @Funwalkers_BL. Her newest venture is Funwalkers.com – humorous license plates for walkers, rollators and scooters.

BL Ochman | June 14, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why Anonymous Blogging is a Bad Idea

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a ridiculous post recommending anonymous blogging to workplace bloggers.

Their advice: “If followed correctly, these protections can save you from embarrassment or just plain weirdness in front of your friends and coworkers.”

My advice: If it’s embarrassing or just plain weird, don’t post it.

With incredibly few exceptions, like some Iraqi bloggers who’ve risked death by blogging, anonymous blogs have zero credibility .

When there is danger involved, here are the best practices.

Updated today. First published 2005

BL Ochman | June 2, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Keeping Trolls Out: Facebook Groups Can Screen New Members With Questionnaires

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Facebook Group admins now have the option to ask potential members screening questions in order to combat trolls and spammers.

Group admins can establish up to three questions to ask of people requesting to join their Group. The questionnaires let admins screen potential members to ensure they’re the right fit for the group and will add constructively to the discussion, not just spam or troll the Group.

Creating Stronger Communities

Giving Group admins the ability to formulate the questions and decide whom to admit should help to create stronger communities. Users who request to join a Group will immediately get questionnaires. Those who are invited will be sent a link to the questions.

Admins can find the “Ask Pending Members Questions” option in the Group settings menu.They can ask three questions, each of which potential members can answer in up to 250 characters. Answers are not visible to group members. Only moderators and admins see them.

Giving Facebook Group Admins More Control

Previously, admins had to contact potential members one by one, either in email or messenger or by evaluating the often sparse information in their profile. Then they had to keep track of all requests and replies – which was often too time-consuming.

Josh Constine, writing in TechCrunch, notes that Facebook also should add analytics that allow admins to evaluate the success of various types of content in the Group.

Facebook has long been short on metrics, so this would be an excellent addition.

BL Ochman | May 21, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Can You Eat Your Clothing? Houdini Sportswear Thinks So

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Edible Clothing

In a unique exercise, Swedish sportswear brand Houdini turned their clothes into food to demonstrate how environmentally friendly they are. So they created what might be called gourmet clothing and fed the result to customers.

For this campaign, the brand’s agency McCann Stockholm composted customer’s used clothes and turned them into soil and fertilizer for growing vegetables.

Cooking With Clothing

They enlisted one of Scandinavia’s top composting pros to break down the clothes properly. In about six months, they’d turned into CO2, H20 and other materials that could be used for fertilization for edible clothing.

The fertilized soil was used to grow vegetables. The crop was turned into a gourmet meal for Houdini customers by Swedish celebrity Chef Sebastian Thureson.

BL Ochman | May 7, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Chronology of United Airlines Epic PR #FAIL (Updated)

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

PR #FAIL + A Dead Giant Rabbit

Like many millions of people worldwide, I was horrified to see the video of Dr David Dao being knocked out and bloodied, dragged from his paid seat on United Airlines. The incident became one of the most epic PR fails ever, and fallout continues.

“Minimal but necessary force”

The latest, via Reuters, 4/25/17 in the “you can’t make this stuff up category”
Officer says ‘minimal but necessary force’ used on United passenger

Not Thumper

And then, in total WTF category, United Airlines apparently killed an enormous rabbit. Here’s the headline from the Daily Mail:

Now United’s killing fluffy bunnies! Son of the world’s biggest rabbit dies on United flight. Huge three foot bunny arrives in Chicago dead in ‘strange’ circumstances.

BL Ochman | April 26, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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