Category Archives: blog

Top 10 Must-Read Marketing Blogs

10 Blogs to Accelerate your Digital Learning

People who are getting into  marketing often ask me which  blogs I follow to stay current with digital trends. Below are the top 10 blogs I recommend marketers, PR specialists and small business owners follow to be in the know:

1. Digital Marketer (http://digitalmarketer.com/category/dmblog/) – This blog covers everything on digital marketing such as search engines, social media, mobile, and ecommerce. Tips on improving website traffic and conversion rates are also covered.

2. B2B Marketing Insider (http://www.b2bmarketinginsider.com/) – Michael Brenner authors this blog. He discusses the latest news and trends of content marketing, social media, demand generation, and strategies for business-to-business marketers.

3. Marketo (http://blog.marketo.com/) – The Marketo blog discusses the latest trends and best practices in business-to-business marketing.

4. Web Pro News (http://www.webpronews.com/) – This blog provides the latest news in ecommerce, business, social media, search, and technology.

5. Get Elastic (http://www.getelastic.com/) – Get Elastic is an ecommerce blog covering best practices, digital relationships, multichannel marketing, social media, mobile, and search.

6. Daily Blog Tips (http://www.dailyblogtips.com/) – This blog offers valuable tips about successful blogging such as promotion, monetization, SEO, social media, and writing. Daily Blog Tips also talks about Internet marketing and strategies.

7. The Copybot (http://thecopybot.com/) – Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger provides advice on copywriting for the Internet.

8. Get Response (http://blog.getresponse.com/) – Get Response is an email marketing provider. This blog offers advice and tips on using email marketing successfully.

9. Danny Brown (http://dannybrown.me/blog/) – Danny Brown is a well-known blogger and marketer who has won many awards. This marketing blog offers useful information about many types of marketing, including social media marketing.

10. 60 Second Marketer (http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/) – Jamie Turner, the founder of this blog and its online community, is also the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media.” The blog offer many tutorials and tips about digital marketing.

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Construction underway for 2015 Toronto Pan AM games

Athletes Village Toronto Pan AM games

After some inactivity due to the birth of our baby and some crazy times at work, I’m back in the blogosphere! I recently spent a great weekend with a group of bloggers I took down to the Detroit auto show and their enthusiasm and dedication shamed me into reviving my own blog.  So here we go:

Infrastructure Ontario and Waterfront Toronto announced today that they have signed a $514 million  contract for the development of the Athletes’ Village during the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The village is set to be built on the West Don Lands — an area triangulated by  the Port Lands, Corktown and the southern terminus of the Don Valley Parkway.

The project is expected to create and support 5,200 jobs, including employment of approximately 700 workers on the construction site.

I’m excited by any activity that brings more visibility to Toronto within the international community and cultivates Tourism. What do you think?

Toronto City Hall – Please Don’t screw up our libraries. Cut the hourly rate for big businesses.

I have to admit that growing up I barely made use of libraries. I grew up in a francophone suburb of Montreal and the library there didn’t carry a good selection of English books.  Being an avid reader I just used to buy all my books at Indigo/ Chapters … which was quite an expensive habit.

After moving to Toronto my wife introduced me to the Toronto Public Library system and I was blown away. They had pretty much every popular book and movie I was interested in.  I think the Library system is one of the few things out there that work smoothly and make me  glad to pay my taxes.

Recently, the city called for an assessment of all city services to make strategic budget cuts.  As a result, our City Council wants to privatize some or all of Toronto Public Libraries’ (TPL) operations and close down branches.   The private operator would decrease the degree of public funding that currently aids our libraries, but in order to make a profit, would make some changes that would make library access difficult for many.  We would have higher user fees, fewer books, less access to the libraries because of local branches closing or hours of operation being limited, and more staff cuts. This type of cut would be a blow to many, especially lower income families who use the library system as their only means of internet access.

If the city wants to cut expenses they should look at the hourly rates they are paying to big businesses and the expensive contracts they have out there.  I suggest that instead of cutting jobs and services they analyze the $100+ / hour they pay to external vendors and control costs that way. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t payed KPMG over $140 /hour to help them strategize on how to cut costs.

I encourage you to reach out to  City Council and politely inform them that we want to continue enjoying what TPL offers us today and not to privatize. A list of your local city councillors can be found at: http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp  

Vitaminwater 10 – One of the Best Non-alcoholic Drinks Known to Man

vitaminwater has a sense of humor 🙂 ... That eyemask in the package is lol worthy

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the super-cool Lauren O’Nizzle while spending a day with some of Toronto’s biggest bloggers  as part of a  media event for Ford where I work.   Turns out that besides running a popular Blog, she’s a community manager for Glaceau vitaminwater.

I told her how much I love the taste of vitaminwater and she sent over a whole case  of it for me to try out. To my surprise there’s a new type of vitaminwater out there that only has 10 calories per 591 ml bottle. That’s a huge benefit! I’ve been cutting calories recently ahead of my yearly physical (ugh) by dropping sodas and juice which have more than 100 calories per glass.

With vitaminwater 10, you have almost no excess calories plus the added goodness of a whole slew of vitamins.    It’s going to be a staple at my home bbq’s from now on … I don’t drink since I’m Muslim and neither do most of my friends and family. Our usual drinks at parties are vast amounts of soda’s and juice but this is bound to become a new staple for us once more people hear about it!

Taking into account the variety of flavors and the nutritional value of vitamins without a caloric hit, I am going to go out on a limb and declare it my favorite low calorie drink out there besides water. 

Standard Disclaimer:  I was  not paid nor asked to write this product review and all opinions are my own.

The Onion’s fake news is coming to Toronto as a print newspaper. Should Metro be scared?

I love The Onion  –  it’s the world’s leading source of fake news and I find that it is it incredibly well written.  When I want fake news on TV to entertain me, it’s Fox News  and John Stewart and when I want fake news online it’s the Onion.

 When I was working at Rogers, a colleague was fooled by a Onion story about a big brand and sent it out via email to a list of people including fairly senior Rogers marketing staff.  When I told him The Onion was fake news there was an  Oh $#!%%  reaction and the aforementioned colleague tried to recall the email  and then had to send out a hasty note flagging the story as fake  …   it had me loling for a week 🙂   

I’ve been a fan of the Onion for years on the web, but today I learnt that they have  a print edition that is distributed for free in 13  US cities and that the print edition is coming to Toronto this fall.    I could see myself reading the Onion instead of the Metro if I had to choose between one when looking for free reading material for a subway ride.

People  exposed to the Onion for the first time  when it comes to Toronto will be exposed to headlines like Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51-Year-Old Pedophile  and  Donald Trump Under Pressure To Prove He’s Not A Pathetic Sack Of Human Scum .

Oddly  enough, the Onion has partnered up with the Toronto Star for distribution and ad sales  – I wonder if it’s because these days mainstream media is so manufactured that the  line between fake and real news is blurry?

CN Tower Edgewalk – For Toronto Thrill seekers

Do you love bungie jumping, skydiving and other crazy things that I would not go near even if someone paid me 1000 bucks?  If so the CN Tower Edgewalk  might be a cool way to get thrills this summer.  For 175$ starting in August, you’ll be able to circle around the CN tower without a guard rail to protect you while you walk on a see through ledge.

On a side note: When I was in Montreal the joke was that the CN was a towering symbol of Torontonians trying to compensate for their deficiencies. The CN tower was the tallest free standing structure from 1976 until 2010, but then the insecurities of Dubai and China manifested themselves in the form of Burj Khalifa and the Canton tower knocking the CN tower off it’s perch.

As Ottawa goes right-wing, Toronto theatre funding gets cut

The arts are amongst the first government sponsored programs on the chopping block when you elect a right wing government. Now that the Conservatives have a majority, the outlook for local arts organizations is bleaker than it has been in the past.

Since 2005, Canadian Heritage funded the well-liked SummerWorks theatre festival through the Canada Arts Presentation Fund. This year they have pulled their funding which represented 20% of the Festivals budget with only  a few weeks notice before the Festival start date. As a result artistic producer Michael Rubenfeld recently  started an email campaign reaching out to past supporters to make up the $45,000 shortfall that the funding cut represents.

To make ends meet, ticket prices will go up 50 cents and some plays will be cancelled.   Show your support for Canadian Theatre by attending SummerWorks from August 4-14.  Show information and Tickets can be found at:  http://www.summerworks.ca