Zemanta Power User: Todd Lohenry, e1evation – Part 2 of 2

Todd Lohenry is an entrepreneur, website designer, and social media guru based in the small town of Algoma, Wisconsin. He is a passionate and vocal user of Zemanta and was overjoyed to speak to us about his nuanced approach to blog creation, website development. Todd is such a spirited individual with so many great ideas and Zemanta Power User tips to share that we’ve split the interview into two parts. If you didn’t catch part 1, click here.

What kind of feedback do you get from customers about Zemanta? How are they responding to using it?

Todd Lohenry
Todd Lohenry, web entrepreneur

Well,  you know I have to laugh about this sometimes, because Zemanta makes things so easy, I don’t think that my customers really appreciate it. What I have to explain to them sometimes, is “Now, you want to find an image”, you have to go to Google Image Search, and find an image, and look and see what is the best one, and then you have no indication of whether or not, you know, what is the status of these? Are they free? Are they Creative Commons? Can I license this? So even if I can find a good logo, it doesn’t mean I have the right to use it. And, you know, even if I do, so I go and I copy this and then I go back and then I have to add to the media library, and then I add the URL, and then I do this, and oh, that doesn’t work, I can’t do it. So you know, sometimes if I really want them to appreciate the elegance of Zemanta, I have to say, ‘“Listen, this would add five to ten minutes to every post, to do what Zemanta does in five or ten seconds.” Then some of them finally get that, some of them understand it, but you make it so easy that sometimes that they just don’t get that.

I guess that for people who are new to blogging the experience is almost sort of synonymous with using Zemanta, because it’s so blended in to the composing experience.

Absolutely, absolutely. You are correct and so one of the things that I do is a lot of curation posts. So if I go into Google Reader, and  I see an article, something that is interesting to me, then a lot of time I’ll take a look at an article or a quote and say, does this give me an opportunity to weigh in on something that’s important to me? And I might use ScribeFire, I might use Posterous, here I highlight the text, you know the quote that I want, I go to Posterous, I go and I trim the title to what it is that I want, and I will send this to the appropriate blog. So I teach people to curate content, and then I tell them that it is time to go to the post. Once it is auto-posted from Posterous to WordPress, then I tell people it’s time to go into the post and to “Zemanta-fy” it. And so, in that manner, I can go from seeing a good article (or) good quote that I would like to grab because not only does it make my site content rich and give me a place to put good quotes, but it also drives SEO like crazy. So you can see, that Zemanta takes a plain vanilla post and turns it into something really spectacular.

So this is (what) I teach to my clients. Like Darren Rowse says, there are twenty different types of blog posts. There are rants, there are reviews, there are this, there are that, but to me they all fall into two main categories: either you are creating or you are curating other people’s content. And I always teach people to curate on purpose, and by “on purpose” I mean “be aware of your editorial focus in your blog”. Only curate content that gives you an opportunity to make a brand statement. Only curate content that makes it possible for you to say something important about who you are and what you do and invite them to interact with you.

I think we’ve covered almost all the questions that I had. Is there any thing else that you wanted to add as a closing?

Like I said, I am always on the lookout for tools that deliver tremendous value with no overhead, and Zemanta has a permanent place in my toolkit because of everything that you’ve delivered. So I’m just, I’m very grateful from the work that you guys do. Because for me, I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of talk about whether or not websites are still important, and the whole idea of the “siteless web”, but I still go along with people like Darren Rowse and Chris Brogan when they talk about home base and outpost, and how you must own your presence on the internet. According to HubSpot, business blogging drives seven times more traffic than non-business blogging sites.

Thanks so much for your time. I always love to talk about Zemanta.

Thanks for all the support!

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