The “Greatest Spectacle in Catholicism”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis arrives in Saint Peter’s Square for his inaugural mass at the Vatican Photo: REUTERS

Someday Pope Francis will make a visit to the United States. Indianapolis would make a great host city for a papal visit. Here’s why I think Indy would make a good host.

Over the weekend, I participated in a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard at the ordination of three new priests in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

While I was sitting there watching the service, my mind started to wander and I started to think of the possibilities of Indianapolis as a host venue.

It was Pole Day out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  This was the first year I’ve not been at the track during the Month of May. The Indianapolis 500 is home to the biggest one-day sporting event in the world. That got me thinking…the IMS would be an awesome venue to host a visit by the pope.

The Speedway has the capacity to seat for well over 200,000 and you could easily cram another 200,000 or 300,000 in the infield if you use all the open space in Turns 3 & 4.

IMS has one of the largest media centers around and the entire facility is wired for TV. Indianapolis handles this event and has all the security plans in place to handle the people and keep them secure.

The track parking lots also have the space required to host thousands of pilgrims who would make the journey to see the Pontiff.

Finally, the racing fan in me would love to see the Popemobile make a lap around the famous 2.5 mile oval, giving everyone in the seating areas a chance to see His Holiness.

Now the odds are it will never happen.  Cities like Washington, NYC, LA and Philadelphia  will land a papal since they have larger Catholic populations and they’re bigger markets.

But who knows, if Indianapolis can host a Super Bowl, we can definitely pull an event like a papal visit.

Probably will never happen, but it was a cool idea.

Hello, my name is Jason and I suffer from typoglycemia


The squiggly is my friend

Today I started out my morning wiping the egg off my face. Too bad it wasn’t from an omelet. While checking my Facebook messages I learned that there was a spelling error in my blog header.  Imagine my horror to then discover while looking at it with fresh eyes that there were two.

I’ve always had this issue where my mind thinks faster than my fingers and I can get letters out-of-order and cause those dreaded spelling errors.

So after fixing my site header this morning, I did some research and found someone has created a neologism for this condition – Typoglycemia.  I’ve always considered myself having some undiagnosed form of dyslexia

Typoglycemia has a page on Wikipedia (so it has to be true), and it states that “typoglycemia is a neologism given to a purported recent discovery about the cognitive processes behind written text.”   However, to my disappointment, it goes on to say that it is, “…an urban legend/Internet meme with an element of truth to it.”

Many of us have all seen this email/Internet meme…

“Anidroccg to crad–cniyrrag lcitsiugnis planoissefors at an uemannd utisreviny in Bsitirh Cibmuloa, and crartnoy to the duoibus cmials of the ueticnd rcraeseh, a slpmie, macinahcel ioisrevnn of ianretnl cretcarahs araepps sneiciffut to csufnoe the eadyrevy oekoolnr.”

Actually should read like this.

“According to card-carrying linguistics professionals at an unnamed university in British Columbia, and contrary to the dubious claims of the uncited research, a simple, mechanical inversion of internal characters appears nfl jerseys china sufficient to confuse the everyday onlooker.”

This is why I love the red squiggly so much.  It usually does a good job of catching my faux pas, but still, I occasionally miss a few.

In my days as a journalist, I always fell victim to this during breaking news.  I had my fair share of really good ones.  Even though my I looked at the copy two or three times before hitting send, my brain didn’t catch the error because it auto corrected the typo in my head.

90% of the time I’d catch it when reading the story again on the live site. I then quickly fixed the error and hope it didn’t get cached worldwide.  If it did it was usually the same moment when the corner office decided to click and read that article.

So here are my tips on proofreading…

  1. Write then walk away, or at least go on to something else.  Clear your head of that subject so when you sit down and take a look again your brain can look with fresh eyes.
  2. Use the resources available.  Run it through Microsoft Word or use an online service like GrammarBase or Grammarly.  GrammarBase is a free service, Grammarly will cost you $30/mo.
  3. Have a peer check your work. Peers are always a good resource to have them give your writing a critical eye.
  4. Hire a professional.  There are plenty of professional freelance proofreaders you can hire to check your copy.  If the project is important enough — it’s worth the investment.

In the end, we’re all human and mistakes are going to happen.  When they do — accept responsibility and quickly correct the mistake and learn from it.

Inbound Marketing – broadcasters are missing the train

Way, way back in the day when I first got my start in digital media I was at WTOL in Toledo.  One of the sections I helped in developing was the “Ask the Expert” sales vertical.

Inbound Marketing before it was cool…

The goal of Ask the Expert was to provide a convergence package between TV and the web. Clients received a TV commercial that directed people to the station website where potential customers could learn more about their business and ask questions.

The solution was great, the client received great television exposure and was able to generate leads through the station’s website.  For 2001, that was an awesome partnership and revenue channel.  The sad thing is in 2013 the program has evolved little, even with the latest craze in inbound marketing, and Google craving high-value relevant content to boost SEO.  A few stations appear to have figured it out.  Many have not.

Before I call out a few examples below … let me get the disclosures out of the way…  (I worked for WTOL-TV from 2001-2004 a Raycom Media Station.  I worked at KRIS-TV from 2004-2007 a Cordillera Communications station and finally worked at WISH-TV from 2007-2012 a LIN Media Station.    All of these stations are currently or were part of the World Now CMS.)

Let’s take a look at some examples:

WBAY-TVwbay This is a textbook example of how the program hasn’t evolved.

The station provides a landing page with 180px wide image that links to a simple landing page or directly to the client’s site
or worse.

Back in the day, I was guilty of doing of all of this. Back then the focus was just getting that link on the high-value site, which TV stations provided.

Great for 2007, but not 2013.


Let’s drill down to a specific client:  Todd Wiese Homeselling Team.

The client link is framed into the WBAY site.  There’s absolutely no SEO juice from this link since search engine bots tend to ignore framed content from an external URL.   All of the videos WBAY produces for this client provide no SEO juice.   In fact, a site specific search for WBAY.com and Todd Wiese only return two links.

I wouldn’t speculate what their current Ask The Expert rates are but I’m going to bet it’s several thousand a month.

Bottom Line:  This is a great TV package only.  I think it would be safe to assume Mr. Wiese gets his leads from his TV appearances, not the digital counterpart.

WOOD-TVWOOD-TV Across Lake Michigan is a site managed by a great digital pioneer Dave DeJonge.  He’s been the digital manager at WOOD-TV since my days at WTOL.  His site has been a market leader for over a decade.

He’s been able to keep his Expert vertical alive by keeping the client pages alive with updated relevant content.

There are no direct links — all clients have their own landing page which then links off to individual clients or the client’s website.

WOOD also takes it one step further.  They’ve integrated their Expert program into their daily lifestyle show EightWest.

Again, let us drill down to a specific client: Thomsons Auto Repair

No iframes here. As mentioned above, there are no direct links to the landing page for that client.  But the page isn’t just static.  Each TV segment is posted as their own story and has actual content with that story with a link back to the client’s website.  A site search for WOODTV.com and Thomsons Auto Repair returns 108 individual results.

One bonus, that isn’t being taken full advantage of is all the videos from WOOD-TV and eightWest are syndicated to YouTube.  The descriptions for these segments could be optimized for the client’s SEO.

Another great advantage for eightWest is they get out of the studio for their segments. They’re compelling videos that people actually might want to watch!  So many of these segments are two talking heads on the noon news with a couple of full screens.  Easy TV to produce but boring as hell.

How can broadcasters succeed at Inbound Marketing:

I think broadcasters – especially in television can grab digital inbound marketing dollars if they just implemented a strategy that required someone to take ownership and help make the product succeed.

  1. Create an inbound (vertical) marketing manager and team.  A station isn’t going to be able to pull this off on their own.  It really needs to be a corporate team or a service provided by the content team by the site CMS vendor to get a return on investment.Your newsroom content writers are too busy doing the news and account executives are too busy getting the sales in the door.  Even lifestyle show producers are not concerned with SEO and writing for the web.
  2. The inbound marketing team should include at the minimum a content writer and project manager.  These people are experts in SEO and Inbound Marketing. I’d want that project manager touring the local markets helping AE’s close new business by showcasing what inbound digital marketing and television could do for their business.
  3. The inbound marketing team would need to create content and help manage the customer’s content channel on their company websites.  Yes, I’m talking about the company blog.  Journalists still have this negative connotation towards the word blog.  I personally like the idea of a content channel instead of blogs.
  4. The project manager works with the clients to come up with new articles (blogs) at least twice a month, for the client’s website.  Then that material then becomes the topic for their next television appearance.  After the TV segment airs, the station website posts an article under their expert section pointing back to the client’s blog.
  5. Once the segment airs, the inbound team should optimize that video for the client including links to the original blog — then be syndicating that content to YouTube.

That’s just the basics, but the next logical step includes sending it to the client’s social media channels.

As long as traditional media continues to butter their bread with banner ads and mobile display — they will continue to lose digital revenue to the pure play SEO companies who generating meaningful digital leads for their clients.

Google Ad fail

This happens all too often — it’s driving me mad and makes me laugh at the same time. Behavioral targeting has gone awry.  Google, by now you should know me.  This ad for ChristianMingle.com popped up today while reading a story on The Onion of all places.

Of course, this ad could have been targeted to the entire domain or a general news site target. Maybe the folks at ChristianMingle.com didn’t want to spend the extra money for a more targeted campaign.  Although if they were smart, they wouldn’t be spending their ad dollars trying to get a married man with two kids to check out their Christian dating site…and really, if I were in the dating market, I would hit up CatholicMatch.com first.

Still, I’ll probably see a lot more of their ads now, because I just for giggles +1’d the ad.   On second thought, maybe the target was for pretty blond girls with long hair and wearing white dresses.  Nope, I prefer redheads and short hair.  Oh well.

Am I really looking for a Christian Single?

Am I really looking for a Christian Single?

Do you allow your email subscribers to change addresses?

As part of my New Year’s resolutions and taking advantage of the free time I have now to better organize my digital life.  One key part is moving all my email marketing subscriptions to a dedicated email account. I still want marketing messages, but I want to keep my primary inbox as clean as possible.

I was surprised how many e-marketing providers only offer a place to unsubscribe, but no way to update your email preferences – easily.

I’ll pick on MLB.com.  I purchase the MLB Audio Package every season to listen to the Cleveland Indians games. From this subscription, I get MLB.com store offers. In order to change my email address, I had to go through the following steps:

  1. Click the unsubscribe link in the initial email
  2. On the unsubscribe page, click the link to manage your account settings.
  3. Try to log in.
  4. Forgot Password Request
  5. Wait 10 minutes for the new password email.
  6. Log into MLB.com and sign in with a new password.
  7. Login screen gets stuck spinning in Firefox.
  8. Open a new window, try again and discover I was now logged in.
  9. Click to the account settings page.
  10. Change Email Address
  11. Change Password.

That was a lot of work for a simple email address change. Making a simple email address change should not be made that difficult. The average customer won’t go through that effort.  In hindsight, it would have been easier just to unsubscribe and not worry about the offers from MLB.com. I’ve yet to purchase anything from their site anyway.

Ideas for Action: Try changing an email address from your e-marketing products. Can the process be made easier?  Have you tracked or followed up on bounced email addresses?

Bottom Line: Are you losing current customers because they’ve changed their email address and never updated their subscription settings?  What are you doing differently to get them back?