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+

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Thousands knit Cat Ear Pussy Hats for Women’s March on Washington

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The Women’s March on Washington has an unofficial outfit – a pink knitted Pussy Hat with pointy cat ears. The PussyHat Project was formed to provide marchers with “a unique collective visual statement.”

Founders Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, a screenwriter and architect, respectively, are encouraging crafters to knit one or many copies of the simple rectangular “Pussy Power Hat” design. The project is also providing downloadable patterns for crocheters and people who sew to make similar hats. People are urged to mail the hats to the project for distribution at the march, or bring them along.

The site has a hat registry, and a Hat Tracker where the average registrant is making approximately eight hats. The goal is 1.7 million hats, but there is no official count available.

Yes, the project’s Mission Statement says, “pussy” is also a derogatory term for female genitalia. The goal is to reclaim the word and make it a symbol of empowerment.

Project is not without controversy

The word and the project is not without controversy. Writing in Slate, Christina Cauterucci notes:

“The best part of the hat project might be its connection to the tradition of craftivism, an art form that uses conventionally feminine crafts (needlepoint, knitting, quilting, and the like) in subversive acts of protest. Some people knit pink blankets for World War II tanks. Some cross-stitch banners against mass incarceration. Some crochet hats that look like cat ears … to wear at a march for women’s rights. Taking a domestic craft and turning it into a symbol against misogyny makes a more powerful statement than any connection to pink or pussies.”

So far, the organizers say, knitters range in age from seven to 99, and they estimate that some 200,000 hats have been made.

Suh and Zweiman told Catherine Pearson at The Huffington Post that they “believe the project has struck a nerve because knitting is at once meditative and communal, giving women and men time to, say, reflect on what’s at stake for women’s health under a Trump/Pence administration and to connect with others in yarn shops and in classes.”

BL Ochman | January 9, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Trigger App Will Send You Messages When Trump Tweets About Your Stocks

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Donald Trump’s Tweets can move markets. The free iOS Finance app Trigger lets you know if one of the companies in which you hold stock comes into his crosshairs.

The company has introduced a special “Trump Trigger.” The trigger “gives you the ability to trade stocks based off of Trump’s tweets about public companies,” they write. Basically, says the company blog, the trigger works by notifying you in real time if Trump tweets about a publicly traded stock that you own.

Help for Individual Investors

Trump has tweeted about companies from Apple to Amazon to AT&T — and that’s just the A’s. In some cases, such as when Trump blasted Boeing for the cost of a new Air Force One jet, the aerospace company’s stock immediately fell nearly 2%.

While professional investors have the tools and algorithms to stay on top of market moves, Trigger says, “individual investors do not have the appropriate tools to react in an automatic fashion – until now.”

Beyond simple “IF this, THEN that rules”, using techniques in natural language processing, the company says it wants to help individual investors make more rational decisions by having better information.

BL Ochman | | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy New Year! Don’t Be Complacent

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Happy New Year! While I have to admit that I’m pretty terrified of what’s ahead for us under Trumplethinskin, I want to wish you a peaceful, easy, successful, healthy, and fun year.

Please resist the temptation to ignore the news, although it is strong. It is essential that we do not allow ourselves to accept a world that embraces hatred, racism and xenophobia. Please don’t be complacent. Please help love to triumph. Be present and be involved.

Fight back. Contact your Federal, state and local elected officials.

Trump has not even been inaugurated and already with no warning, no debate and no public hearing, House Republicans have voted to hobble the Independent Ethics Office. It was set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.

h/t to Scott Scowcroft


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

Marketing Tips From Santa Claus

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Ever wonder how Santa Claus got so popular? Marketing, my friends. Santa is a marketing genius. He has to be.

So-called high level Santas can make $10K a season in an upscale mall. But they got to know how! And they have to go to school. And attend conventions. And have good websites.

Santa Marketing 101

So, this July, more than 800 Santa and Mrs. Claus impersonators, plus a variety of elves, gathered in Brandon, Missouri for the 2016 Discover Santa Convention. There, they swapped beard care tips in between baseball games and workshops like “Pro-Level Santa Career Business,” “Marketing Your Santa Services,” and “Santa Schedule, Organization and Planning.”

Being a successful Santa isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come cheap. The Discover Santa convention rates start at $1,200. You should have a natural beard (unless you want to be Mrs. Claus, in which case a beard would not be advisable, a jolly outlook, be somewhat overweight and be prepared to spend a couple grand on your outfits and accessories.

PhD in Santaclausology

Some even come looking for love, like the lady in the video who said she wanted to find her own Santa and who shared that she was getting hit on all the time.

And then, of course, there’s the famous School4Santas.com . Single registration is just $259.00, couples $369.00.

In addition to classes like “Talking With Children”, “Santa as a Business” and “Your Magic Wardrobe,” School4Santa awards diplomas. You can earn anywhere from “AssociateOfSantaClausology” to a Doctor of Santaclausology (PhD). The latter, says the website “… is presented to those individuals who in addition to attending three previous School4Santas, and receiving their Bachelor Master and Advanced Master diplomas, have registered for a fourth school and arranged to make their dissertation at that School4Santas.”

If you’re thinking of a career change (must love children) you’d better get cracking. 2017’s Discover Santa Convention is around the corner.

BL Ochman | December 16, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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.


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 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.


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.


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)
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