Editor's Note: What's New at ClickZ

Practicing what we preach.

Dear Readers,

Working online — whether it’s in marketing, in advertising, or on our side of the fence in publishing — you know too well that you’re one click away from getting trounced by a nimble rival or an entrenched competitor that gets smart or lucky.

Maintaining the status quo isn’t an option. And that has been a mantra guiding the editorial and business teams at ClickZ and our sister site Search Engine Watch.

Recently, we took several small but noteworthy steps that we hope will make ClickZ more relevant than ever to you. I would love to hear what you think about these changes and what else you’d like to see from our network.

Like any organization, we’ve encountered some hiccups. For example, more than a year ago we had hoped to have a new content management system in place to offer more interactive features, such as providing you with the ability to easily post comments. Though plans for a new CMS were pushed back to later this year, our Web developer, Rebecca Holz, persevered, identifying and installing JS-Kit, a comments system, that now allows ClickZ to practice what it preaches: providing a place for you to connect directly to each other.

And we have other projects in the works. Here’s a brief rundown.

Comments: We Hear You

In February alone, you posted hundreds of comments in response to ClickZ Experts columns and news reports. You’re keeping us on our toes. You’ve called us on our editing. “Make do. Not make due,” one guest wrote in. (My bad!) Others have questioned the methodology for studies and statistics that we’ve published from third parties. (We’ll investigate.)

Comments have become a hub for you to exchange ideas, share best practices, take an occasional jab at a rival, drop us a news tip, or rant. While we always knew that ClickZ’s readers are passionate about online marketing, now it comes across loud and clear in the comments you’re sharing.

As anticipated, contrarian views ignite the liveliest exchanges. Like ClickZ Expert Sean Carton, who refuses to swim in the Twitter bird bath or Bill McCloskey, who says that double opt-in for e-mail marketing — once a best practice — is no longer relevant.

On-Site Search: Improving Relevancy

When you perform a search on ClickZ or Search Engine Watch, you will soon be served up results that will be refined over time based on your previous searches and others with like-minded interests. On each article page, you’ll see “Related Links” and “Suggested Searches” in a right-hand-side box on columns and news articles.

These features will be powered by a new on-site search engine, which replaces a proprietary one we’ve been using — thanks to Search Engine Watch Managing Editor Kevin Newcomb’s suggestion to check out the tools from Collarity, a Palo Alto, CA, company. We liked what we saw, and Matt McGowan, publisher of our joint sites, got buy-in from others in our organization to proceed.

By improving search results, we’re hoping you will have an easier time finding what you need to perform your jobs better, whether you’re a media planner or buyer or you work on e-mail, search, online video, or mobile marketing campaigns. And as an ad-supported site, we want to ensure you’ll spend more time on our site and take notice of our sponsors — so we can continue to provide you with valuable news and expert advice.

ClickZ: On the Road

In a partnership brokered by Matt McGowan, we’ve teamed up with Online Marketing Summit (OMS) to host educational events in 11 cities from May through early July. The events are designed to share best practices in social media, search engine marketing, Web analytics, e-mail marketing, and more. You can find a list of cities and dates here.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be working with Aaron Kahlow, chairman of OMS, to recruit online marketing experts to speak at summit sessions. If interested in attending, register here

And search engine and political junkies alike can learn more about online political advertising at an Interactive Advertising Bureau event featuring Kate Kaye, ClickZ senior editor and author of the soon-to-be released book, “Campaign ’08: A Turning Point for Digital Marketing.” She’s also set to speak at the 2009 Politics Online conference in DC, an annual event hosted by George Washington University.

ClickZ: At Search Engine Strategies

ClickZ’s editorial team and a dozen of online marketing professionals are lining up four blockbuster sessions at Search Engine Strategies New York on March 25. The ClickZ track is designed to provide search marketers with an overview of the latest issues in the larger universe of digital marketing — including how social media can be used for brand building, the power of targeted display advertising, and alternatives to paid and organic search. One bonus for hard-core search marketers will be a session featuring online political marketing experts.

And There’s More

Can’t get out of the office? Then you might want to check out our educational Webinars in coming weeks, including three featuring ClickZ Experts: Jeanniey Mullen will discuss the future of e-mail marketing, Bryan Eisenberg will dig into post-click marketing and maximizing conversions once visitors arrive, and Julie Batten will offer tips on leveraging outsourced online marketing services for your Web site.

And there’s still time to catch author and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki’s Webinar on why Twitter is becoming a social media tool you can’t do without.

We welcome your thoughts on our latest initiatives. Please make yourself heard by sending me an e-mail or adding a comment below.


Anna Maria Virzi

Executive Editor, ClickZ

Meet Anna Maria at Search Engine Strategies New York March 23-27 at the Hilton New York. The only major search marketing conference and expo on the East Coast, SES New York will be packed with more than 70 sessions, including a ClickZ track, plus more than 150 exhibitors, networking events, parties, and training days.


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