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Kate Wolcott-Synacor

Today our class speaker discussed Synacor, a company in Buffalo that give users a new way to watch TV from their computer. Synacor is known as a ‘white label’ company. This means that employees like Kate are hired to promote other businesses like Time Warner Cable or Verizon. Unlike many companies, Synacor doesn’t try to promote itself. It provides services to these companies so more users will flock to them.

There are a lot of things to consider when promoting a business. First, what’s the demographic? Ads must be concise and clear because you have a very short amount of time to catch people’s attention. Also, consider what you want your ad to do. Do you want your customers to do something? Making sure to include a ‘call to action’ aspect is crucial in promotions.

One topic Kate discussed was “TV Everywhere”. For subscribed users, they can watch unlimited TV on their computer, IPad or phone just like if they were at home. Because it is getting easier to watch TV online, cable companies are losing subscribers. This is one way in which Verizon and Time Warner Cable try keep them.

Kate studied Philosophy and pre-law while in college but quickly discovered it wasn’t for her. In Graduate school she decided to get into marketing. Writing became a huge part of her job and it was her talent as a writer that got her to where she is today. She discussed how writing for the web is an important skill to have. Even in a bad economy, her company knew she was a valuable asset.

Kate was openly passionate about her job. Although not many people know what Synacor is, many do use the services Kate and her colleagues promote. Her job has allowed her to be creative (although there are guidelines to follow) and create products that will interest customers.

In her spare time, Kate also manages a freelance business. Graduate school, in her opinion, was a great experience. Although she ended up in a completely different field than she studied for in college, it gave her new and exciting experiences. 


It’s March Madness Time!

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It’s that time of year! Sports fans are picking college basketball teams and creating brackets for who they believe will be  champions. Every spring this event is awaited with much anticipation.  An article titled ‘The 23 Rules for Winning March Madness’ from The Wall Street Journal gives tongue-in-cheek tips for those who are interested in participating in on the fun.

Some of these tips include:

  • You will lose to someone who has never watched an NCAA basketball game in his or her life. You will also lose to a 7-year-old, a golden retriever and a lobster.
  • You’re totally allowed to go into your bracket at any time and change all of your picks. This is what your boss has done for years.
  • Yes “Bracketology” is a word. But it is also a felony to say “Bracketology.”

But for those who take the excitement a little more seriously, it is a way for basketball fans to get close to the action. If you’re not into basketball, the fuss can seem confusing  but as Doug Bradly put it in his article

“It’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl, World Series and Mardi Gras all rolled into one”

68 college teams fight to be called champions of March Madness and fans try to predict who it will be along the way.

HowStuffWorks.com helps to explain how a committee picks teams that will participate. There is criteria that teams must have to be considered like rank in national polls and Conference record.  “For those teams that aren’t invited, there is no appeals process.” It’s a tough fight to get into March Madness and the committee picks the most deserving teams.

The Facebook page for March Madness has over 200,000 likes and 19,000 people discussing the topic.  Fans also are linked to pages  helping them create their own 2012 bracket.  Check it out to start your own!

Needless to say, this isn’t some fad that will soon fade away. Sports fans will be on the edge of their seats to see who will win this year.

Make Accounting Interesting

It’s not surprising that companies use the internet to draw in new customers. Hundreds of companies use social media to promote products and services on a daily basis.

FreedMaxick is a tax credit firm that tries to breathe new life into the world of accounting. Accounting can be dull and it’s their job to get a little creative and make it interesting. Strategies to promote accounting companies differ from selling a product. It takes more work to get noticed. Social media makes accounting interesting because it humanizes the company and creates a friendlier environment.

The first goal is to make the intangible tangible. This is done with videos, case studies, webcast, and/or blogs.   They draw customers in by putting a face behind the company. FreedMaxick’s website writes about their workers and what their hobbies are. It shows that they are more than just employees. People relate to them and see the company as trustworthy. This company wants its customers to feel comfortable.

Trust, knowledge, reputation, skills and ethics are all critical in marketing. By taking this into consideration customers feel more comfortable with a company and a relationship can be established.

If a company is on Facebook or another social media site they must remember:

  • Be prepared to respond to the public.
  • Answer questions in a friendly and warm manner.
  • Keep the audience in mind. (Not just clients either)
  • Monitor platforms
  • Train workers to understand dialogue and how to utilize social media sites.
  • Always keep goals in mind

Sites like LinkedIn allow companies like this to answer the public’s questions and share useful links. This get them noticed by the public and is networking tool for other companies.

Social media also allows for search engine optimization. If a company is on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and writes blogs, their name will have a greater chance of popping up on a search engine. As always, it’s important get noticed and keep customers coming back for more.

Creativity and accounting don’t usually seem to go together. But with the right mindset and a little creativity, sites like this hook new customers easily.

Guest Speaker: S.J. Velasquez

Yesterday our second guest speaker (S.J. Velasquez) came to talk about the website she works for Buffalo.com as a multimedia contact coordinator. She has been a freelance reporter since 2007. I found her speech to be very entertaining. She was laid back and relaxed, and I could tell that she loved her job. She introduced websites to us and told us how she got to where she is today.

After graduating from College, Velasquez moved to New York City to get involved in Journalism.   In college, she studied communication and religious studies. She noted that it is important to know a little bit of everything in Journalism. Her background in religious studies and Irish dancing gave her more range as a writer.

It is easy to see how much S.J. Velasquez loves working for Buffalo.com. As she described it, it is a friendly, enthusiastic ‘college-type’ website. It doesn’t take things as seriously as the typical News and they try to have fun with it. She taught our class some important lessons as well such as:

  • Lists are good!
  • Anonymous  comments on blogs are the worst
  • Don’t use photos without permission, credit sources with links
  • Web writing is interactive-Go crazy!

One of the most interesting things our speaker told us was her project ‘Hungry Hungry Buffaloes’. She even had us watch a clip from a soup eating contest in which her colleague participated in and let’s just say, it was not a video for the queasy. She noted that although something like this might not necessarily go on Buffalo.com, she also has a Face Book page for content.

by doing this, it  allows her to have content on multiple platforms which is a great way to promote her business more.  It’s all about being visable.  Velasquez introduced be to the term SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization. By including certain key words on your page, it makes it more likely to pop up in a search engine. It’s important to think about what the audience might search for, to think like them. Interaction with one’s audience is also important.

Lastly, one of my favorite things that S.J. Velasquez introduced to us was Buzzfeed.com. This site could keep me entertained for ours. Basically, it is a collection of stories that are predicted to go viral on the rest of the internet. It’s the big stories before you read about them on Face Book or Twitter.  Buffalo.com will search this site to see if there is anything Buffalo related and make the link available to their audience.

S.J Velasquez gave an informative and entertaining speech. Her job seems like a blast and almost made me wish I was going to school for communications studies. I suppose that’s how you know she really does love her job.

Guest Speaker: Amy Moritz

Today in Writing for the Web, we had a guest speaker-Amy Mortiz. She is a sports reporter for the Buffalo News and gave the class her insight on how the internet has effected how we receive information.

Although i’m not a huge sports fan, Amy gave an  interesting lecture on the ways Twitter and other social sites influence the News.  The internet has become a popular way to share information with one another but it has some interesting challenges.  News on the internet is much faster than print. As a result, different sources want to be the first ones to get out the top stories. This can lead to hasty publications before all the facts are confirmed. (Like when Joe Paterno was reported as dead on Twitter). Obviously this is a huge problem for any legitimate News site.  Accuracy and speed are the two most important qualities in reporting.

Amy also talked about her own experiences of using Twitter and blogs during sports games. A lot of pre-planning is required and reporters usually have to start writing articles during the games to meet deadlines. News reporting is a fast-paced industry and is getting even more so thanks to the internet. Twitter makes this easier. Also, Twitter allows for fans  athletes or even celebrities to stay connected to one another. Personally, I would find a sport much more interesting if the athletes seemed to care about their fans and the support they give.

Unfortunately, because social media sites are free and easy to access, this leaves news papers in a tough position. Amy discussed how the Buffalo News was forced to downsize in order to save money. the News is evolving and reporting the News is a business so reporters must find a way to adapt to this change and continue to make a profit.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed  the discussion given by Amy Moritz and the knowledge that she brought with her. It’s easy to overlook what it takes to deliver the News but it is no doubt, an important job in our society.

Sample Product page- Sephora Magnetic Nail Polish

Ladies, we are strong, confident,funny, smart and beautiful. We can be tough, hanging with the guys, while still looking cute. We all have unique personalities that make us stand out and make others take notice.  Shouldn’t we then, want a beauty product that reflects our multiple dimensions?

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Review of Chapters 3&4 in ‘Content Rules’

In order for a business to be successful, it is essential that the people in charge know what they’re doing. Chapters 3 and 4 in ‘Content Rules’  point out some details necessary to the business of marketing.

Who Is Your Audience?

If you want your business to do well, it’s important  to understand who the audience is. I need to know what my potential customers are looking for before I can attempt to sell them something. Also, knowing my customers will make my company seem more open and friendly. The audience needs to feel like their voices matter.  This is a creative business  and creativity is what is needed to appeal to the audience and keep them interested.

Also, It’s a good idea to develop a relationship with the audience; to speak to them causally yet in an appropriate fashion. I’d like to point out that this is one thing that is very different from my major (Psychology) I always get the sense that the bigger and more complicated the terms, the better. In Writing for the web however, the goal is to get the audience to relate to your pitch. If they can’t understand what you’re saying, than there is no point in saying it.

Who Are You? 

We all have our own personal style when it comes to writing.  Authors and poets are easily distinguished from one another due to their unique ‘voice’. Chapter 4 brings this up because it is an essential part of writing. “A critical step in developing great content is to develop your own distinct voice.” As a writer, I have worked on creating my own voice. I would like to think that my writing style is unique to me and the way  I write tells the reader something other than  the literal words on the page.

Chapter 4 talks about the importance of voice because it is how you market your product and sets a tone for the audience.  One of my favorite lines from the chapter says: “Before you can truly understand your customers, you have to understand yourself”. I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. If a person doesn’t understand themselves, than marketing they do will seem phony and customers will be able to see right through it.


These chapters have made me realize how much passion and creativity is required in this field. It is an art to be able to market products to people and it takes genuine concern for the customer to be successful. I’m gaining much more respect for marketing and what it takes to do well. ‘Content Rules’ is a book that makes writing for the web fun and easy.