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 What's Next Blog.

I'm CEO of Maximum-Plus.com Live-streaming event production & all things Google+, serving leading brands, associations and agencies.

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

I'm also co-founder of the pet lovers' site and blog, Pawfun.com - where you can use favorite photos of your pets to create and send free Pawfun photo e-cards.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

John Lennon was murdered on this day 36 years ago




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

1.2 Million Americans Have Been Killed by Guns Since John Lennon Was Murdered

36 years ago today I was in Muncie, Indiana, when we heard that John Lennon was senselessly murdered.

I was working with Emmy award-winning director Peter Davis (Hearts & Minds) on a PBS special about Muncie, which sociologists call the typical American town. The series was called Middletown.

We were devastated when we heard the news. But when we came out of our hotel, we were proud of Muncie. Much of the town was in line at the local record store, waiting to buy music by John Lennon.

People were crying, and I still feel like crying when I think of this senseless murder by a sick man with easy access to a gun.

Since 1968 — the year the Beatles released the White Album — more Americans have been killed by gun violence than in all U.S. wars throughout history, combined.

Dear Friends, Every day, 91 Americans are killed with guns. We are turning this beautiful country into a War Zone….

Posted by Yoko Ono on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Here’s my all-time fave Lennon song, “Instant Karma”


BL Ochman | December 8, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Diageo VR Experience Puts You Into a Drunk Driving Crash




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Timed to the holiday season, Diageo has released a harrowing virtual reality experience that is definitely not fun. The video, called “Decisions,” follows three groups of young people whose stories converge in a tragic drunk-driving crash scene. And you’re along for the ride.

“These days, it’s easy for us to be desensitized to certain issues unless we live them out first hand. Our hope is that this will be truly jarring for people and will help inform responsible decision-making,” James Thompson, Diageo’s North American chief marketing and innovation officer, told Ad Age.

The video is available on platforms including Facebook 360 and YouTube 360 as well as in a VR integration with The New York Times. It can be viewed on its own or by with headsets such as Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and the new Google Daydream.

Do fear tactics change behavior?

Debate continues over whether fear tactics actually impact behavior. Researchers have studied the effect of scare tactics on young adults and found mixed results. Some studies found that fear does influence behavior, others did not.

But none of these studies have studied the impact of fear tactics via virtual reality. Hopefully, this heavy dose of reality will have an impact and will save lives.

With Google and Facebook committed to virtual reality, adoption is expected to climb. Deloitte Global predicts that virtual reality (VR) will have had its first billion dollar year in 2016, with about $700 million in hardware sales, and the remainder from content.


BL Ochman | December 6, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

4 Ways Your Web Hosting Impacts Profit




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When shopping around for web hosts, it’s not all about price. Investing in a quality web host can pay off in the future through increased profits. Here are four ways your choice of web host impacts your bottom line.

Speed

KISSmetrics has shown that every second counts toward your bottom line. For every one second delay in page speed, businesses see a 7 percent reduction in conversions. For a business making $100,000 per day, that’s a $2.5 million loss per year for just a one-second delay. According to KISSmetrics, 47 percent of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less. If you can get your page to load in under one second, you’re doing well.

One of the culprits of a slow website is a slow server. If the server your site files are stored on can’t handle the many requests coming from your visitors, it’s time to upgrade your hosting plan or switch hosts altogether to get on a faster server.

Uptime

Uptime refers to when users are able to access your site. Routine maintenance or power outages can result in downtime, which means that during those minutes where users can’t access your site, you’re missing out on conversions and sales. If your site goes down often potential repeat visitors are unlikely to return.

No hosting provider can guarantee 100 percent uptime, but many get extremely close. Compare various providers to see if downtimes are frequent. Also consider when their scheduled maintenance occurs so any expected downtimes happen when traffic numbers are low, such as while the majority of your audience is sleeping.

Server Location

The location of your host’s servers affects your bottom line in two ways. First of all, the closer the servers are to your users, the faster data can transfer, and the quicker your site will be. Second, servers located in the country you’re targeting makes for better SEO. This is because Google geo-targets search results and prioritizes websites hosted on servers close to where the search originated. The higher you are in the search results, the more traffic you’ll see, and the more profit you can make. Because of this, it’s best to choose a web host with server locations closest to your target audience.

Scalability

When you first create a new blog or a website you may not be able to predict how it will grow over time. However, you’ll want the capacity to grow should need arise. If you don’t have this option, your site will slow as more traffic comes your way, and you’ll lose out on conversions. Good hosts offer a variety of plans so that you can acquire new resources as you need them, and it’s much easier to grow with one host than to switch to a new one in the future.

Luckily, you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy the benefits of a good web host. There are plenty of cheap web hosts offering fast loading speeds, high uptime ratings, and scalability options, and the rest depends on which plans suit your needs best.


BL Ochman | | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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Treeting: How to Tweet Like Trump




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Ethics? We don’t need no stinking ethics!

If ethics, morals and laws are not your organization’s cup of tea, there is much to learn from president-elect Trump’s basic Twitter marketing tenets.

Apparently waking in a rage every day around dawn, Trump posts to Twitter. I call these missives “Treets”.

Trump may appear angry, even furious. But that’s just his game face. He’s timing the Tweets to the broadcast morning news, print and online editorial meetings. He wants to get MSM in a tizzy so his Tweets will dominate their coverage.

He’s repeatedly used his explosive Treets to distract from more complex and potentially damaging reports in mainstream media. Over and over, he diverts conversation from what where it might otherwise be more productively focused.

Many in media and the public think he’s Trumping them with his manic and often maniacal pronouncements. I think he’s just practicing his form of marketing.

trumpbird

Here are Trump’s basic tenets of Tweeting for fun and profit.Ignore them at your peril.

Bypass mainstream media and make your announcements and pronouncements on Twitter. Assuming your outrageousness has earned you a huuuge following, you can reach millions in moments, without any pesky fact checking.

Always Tweet before morning or evening news broadcasts. The press will learn to check your Twitter feed religiously. After all, they don’t want anyone else to scoop them on your morning dump.

Pay no attention to protocol, history or convention. Go out of your way to make the most controversial possible statements.

Do not answer questions about your behavior. Instead, accuse the questioners of being unfair, mean, “not nice!”

Do not concern yourself with facts. Facts are for losers. Do not even consider laws of libel or slander. Ethics? We don’t need no stinking ethics.

Concentrate on creating reality show levels entertainment. Be creative! It’s time for a new reality. The old one is, umm, old.

Be simultaneously provocative and vague. Remember: your goal is to confound anyone who’s watching. That way, they can debate amongst themselves over what your really mean. This leaves you free to do whatever evil you really were going to do today while members of the media chase their tails.

Make up words, statistics and quotes. Make them as totally post-truth as possible.

Go ahead and trash specific people. If anyone calls you on it, say you were just saying out loud what “many people” think.

If journalists ignore you, get even more outrageous. Do not allow yourself to be ignored. It will be bad for your ego – and your bottom line.

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.


BL Ochman | December 1, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Best 2016 Election Response: SNL’s Kate McKinnon Singing “Hallelujah”




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

No critique of the 2016 election’s horrifying results will be more eloquent than SNL’s Kate McKinnon singing the late Leonard Cohen’s gorgeous “Hallelujah.”

At the end, she turns to us, in character as Hillary Clinton, and says “I’m not giving up and neither should you.”

I watched with tears running down my face. To me and many others, it feels like we lost America. But we can’t give up.

May God bless America and ALL of its people.

Bonus Links
Willie Nelson sings “Hallelujah”
The 15-year Evolution of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah


BL Ochman | November 14, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

5 Simple Website Tweaks to Make a Better First Impression




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First impressions matter. Research shows that 94 percent of people will abandon your website if they don’t trust the website design, or think it looks outdated. This statistic is pretty shocking, but it’s not the only reason a huge number of people abandon websites.

The more people you can impress on that first visit, the more leads you’ll get, the higher your conversion rates will be, and the less money you’ll spend trying to attract new customers.

Here are five simple tweaks you can make on your website to improve that first impression:

Ensure Your Site is Up to Speed

Ideally, you want your site to load in under one second. Research shows that 47 percent of customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Forty percent will abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. For every one second delay in page speed, businesses see an average of seven percent reduction in conversions.

Visitors may not notice if your site is fast, but they definitely will notice if it’s slow, and it will be hard to bring them back after they’ve abandoned your site.

There are several ways to speed up your site. Among them, make sure you’re using a reliable web host. If your site is hosted on a slow server, it doesn’t matter what other steps you take to speed it up; the server won’t be able to handle your demands. Upgrading your hosting package or switching web hosts entirely can pay off in the long run, so don’t be afraid to invest in the best website hosting.

Tweak Your Font

One of the top reasons people abandon websites is because the content is difficult to read. Your type of font, color of font, and size of font can all affect how easy it is for someone to read your site’s content.

San serif fonts are typically easier to read online than serif fonts. High contrast between the font color and background helps.

Limit Your Ads

Displaying too many ads on your site can appear overwhelming and spammy. (Not only that, but you may limit the potential of your ads by distracting readers with too many.) Ads shouldn’t take up more space than your content, and they shouldn’t be the first thing readers see.

Clearly State Your Purpose

If people don’t understand what your site is about, you can bet they’ll abandon it and never return. Develop a clear purpose statement, and make this obvious throughout the site. What benefit does your company or product provide to customers, and how can you convey that in a single sentence?

Look at the Site from Multiple Angles

Today, fewer and fewer people are entering websites from their home pages. That’s because people are finding other ways in through content shared on social media and pages that show up in search engine results.
With this concept in mind, picture the visitors’ journeys from anywhere on your site and create simple navigation tools, making your purpose clearly known across the site, and making it easy to contact you from any page.

Which step will you take first to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward on your website?

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BL Ochman | November 13, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dogs to the Rescue: Pedigree’s Brilliant Newsjacking




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext


In a brilliant example of election newsjacking, Pedigree dog food takes advantage of our national political fatigue. Pedigree’s three-minute video, “A Vote for Good,” demonstrates that the love of dogs unites even the most deeply politically divided Americans.

The video quickly went viral, topping 2.5 million views at the time of this writing.

Love Trumps Hate

In the video, a woman went to a Trump rally wearing a Clinton shirt, looking for the owner of a lost dog. She also visited a Clinton rally wearing a Trump shirt and did the same thing. Despite the political divide, people at both rallies were concerned and happy to help reunite the dog and its owner.

When the thankful owner appears, one onlooker says: “When it comes to dogs, there’s no political parties.”

The ad was created by BBDO New York.


BL Ochman | November 10, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Brian Stelter: Fake News is a Plague on the Internet




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

As we all know by now, this is the craziest election in American history. And fake news is making it worse.

Why You Should Triple Check Sources Before You Share Links

Brian_StelterCNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter, says fake news spreads like the plague on the Internet. That, he said is why it is crucial to “triple check before you share” any link. That’s the only way to make sure that what you’re sharing online is factual.

Stelter said there are three types of “clickbait” websites with the sole purpose of getting their articles shared on social media. The three types of hoax sites are sites with fake news, hyper-partisan sites with misleading info, and “hybrids” with a mix of fact and fiction.

Please, dear readers, heed this advice!

Crap Detection Resources

Howard Rheingold’s Guide to Crap Detection Resources can help you fact-check political, medical, cultural news, rumors, memes. It is a valuable, shared document that provides a constantly updated resource for telling online fact from fiction.

Howard Rheingold is a critic, multiple-book author, TED speaker and teacher. His specialties are the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication media such as the Internet, mobile telephony and virtual communities.

In the midst of campaign insanity, we have to keep ourselves as sane and factual as possible. Sigh.


BL Ochman | November 1, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

What’s Next Blog Named a 2016 Top Tech Blog




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Thanks to Broadview Networks for including us in a list of 2016 Top Tech Blogs

2016-top-tech-blogSays Broadview: “This year, we chose 37 Top Tech Blogs from almost 300 nominations—choosing winners gets more difficult every year.

In order to be a Top Tech Blogs winner, a website has to do more than just spout off trending topics and refurbish headlines. The following blogs have demonstrated an inside knowledge of their industry, and they offer readers legitimate, detailed analysis.”

We’re honored to be included.


BL Ochman | October 31, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stroke of Genius: Lin-Manuel Miranda and Renée Elise Goldsberry rap about Hillary Clinton




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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Nobody is crazier about “Hamilton” and Lin-Manuel Miranda than Millennials and GenX3ers who could swing the election for Hillary Clinton if they come out and vote. Pew Research says they’ll turn out in record numbers, even out-voting Baby Boomers. So it’s pure genius of the Clinton campaign to get Lin-Manuel Miranda to rap about voting.

At as much as $800 a ticket, “Hamilton” is still having a cultural moment, on par with any great cult TV show or movie. And the show is hottest among millennials and Generation X – the very generations who may outvote Baby Boomers in the contentious 2016 election.

Hamilton is adored by Millennials and GenXers

And if there is anyone these generations adore more than, perhaps Bernie Sanders, it’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and his iconic smash hit “Hamilton.”

So it is pure genius of the Clinton Campaign to have had Lin-Manuel Miranda and co-star Renee Elise Goldsberry rap about the election at a Hillary Clinton Fundraiser in New York on Oct. 17. The video has gone viral, of course, and so – we hope – will voting.

Miranda re-wrote one of the musical’s hit songs to focus on 10 things you need to do in this election – from registering to voting.

Oddly – given the impossibility of getting or paying for tickets – most millennials and GenXers will probably never see the show. But the cast album is in the Billboard Top 10, with millions sold.

Please vote!

My Gen X Newphew knows every word by heart and can practically recite the 818-page Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow – the book that inspired the play. The $35 tome has been on the NY Times Best Seller List for 53 weeks.

So yes, please, millennials and GenXers – get out there and VOTE for Hillary Clinton. We’re counting on you.


BL Ochman | October 24, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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