San Francisco Lectures: The Commonwealth Club & Agriculture

San Francisco is perhaps second to New York City (or perhaps third to Boston) as a city of intellectuals. It has a fantastic public library system and many a lecture series. One of the more interesting venues is the Commonwealth Club of California.  I keep an eye on them, not the least reason is that they broadcast their lectures on KQED radio. It’s all very San Francisco, and it “goes national” via the radio and the Internet.

Commonwealth Club Lectures, San FranciscoAnother big San Francisco trend is food.  Food, food, food. Ok, in this regard, we are probably NOT second to New York but perhaps FIRST in the country for locally grown, food-for-foodies. San Francisco has everything from farmers markets to organic restaurants to street stands.  It is a city of food.

So coming up at the Commonwealth Club: food meets lecture.  On September 3, they’ll be presenting the following:

Journalism: The Agricultural Beat Resurgence

The agriculture beat was once an important area of coverage for all major media outlets, delivering news about rural areas as well as policy decisions in Washington, D.C. But, like most mainstream media, the agriculture beat has taken a significant hit due to cutbacks in editorial and reporting staff. At the same time, more consumers are hungry for news about where their food is coming from and new outlets are seeking to feed their interest. This panel will explore the intersection between the changing state of journalism and its impact on the future of food and agriculture reporting. Post-program, enjoy local and organic bites provided by Bi-Rite Catering.

Tickets are $20 for non-members, $8 for members, and $7 for students. You can learn more here.

Personal Branding and Reputation Management Podcast Interview, Announced by Jason McDonald

San Francisco, CA – August 15, 2014 – Jason McDonald (, a top SEO expert, is proud to announce that he was interviewed in podcast format by Bernard Kelvin Clive, a top expert in personal branding. The podcast covers how individuals can use search engine optimization techniques to improve their reputation online, both positive and negative.  Personal branding is the art and science of projecting a positive image including through the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and across Google searches and via blogging. Mr. Clive is the author of one of the most innovative books on the topic, and his podcasts are renowned as informative shows for marketers to learn about timely issues.

Personal Branding and SEO“Personal branding is an issue that I find more and more interesting,,” explained Dr. McDonald. “My upcoming course at Stanford Continuing Studies will dive into the topic of personal branding, using SEO and Social Media Marketing to help individuals improve their brand.  I was very honored to be interviewed by Mr. Clive on his popular podcast.”

One can listen to the personal branding podcast at  To find out more about Jason McDonald, including his upcoming San Francisco Bay Area class in personal branding, one should visit – there one will find information on SEO consulting, social media marketing, and AdWords.

SEO and Personal Branding

SEO is the art and science of getting to the top of Google and Bing free listings. On page SEO refers to the use of content, keywords, and HTML tag structure to communicate to search engines the priorities of one’s website. Off page SEO refers to the use of links, freshness, and social mentions to confirm to Google and Bing the importance of one’s site. Heretofore, most efforts in SEO have focused on companies, non-profits, goods, and services, but in today’s society one’s personal brand is increasingly important. Authors, for example, attempt to project a positive brand image to sell books, while CEOs often attempt to project a positive personal brand image to confirm that they and their companies are important. Even marketing managers need to pay attention to Google / Bing searches and how those personalized searches reflect on their company and employees. Indeed, the dark side of SEO is negative SEO: personal branding can be impacted by negative attacks by competitors, hostile customers, and even false accusations. In the free-for-all of today’s Internet, anyone who is public needs to pay attention to both the positive and negative aspects of SEO and personal branding.  Finally, the use of social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can have a positive impact on personal branding not just on search but throughout social media.


Dr. Jason McDonald is a recognized SEO and Social Media expert consultant in based in the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley. Dr. McDonald received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1992, and has worked at many hi-tech start up’s in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Dr. McDonald is Senior Editor at, a web portal and email service covering hi-tech embedded systems on the Internet, founded in 1994. Recently, Dr. McDonald has begun teaching marketing, market research and Internet marketing at Bay Area institutions such as AcademyX and DeVry University.

Dr. McDonald can be found on the Internet at, a website focused on search engine marketing, SEO, and other Internet marketing issues with in-depth free information on SEO, Page Tags, Google Analytics, Metrics, Link building, Free SEO Tools and more. He can also be contacted by telephone at +1-415-655-1071 or email,

A New Bay Area Social Media Marketing Class: The Brand Called You

Long ago, I read Tom Peter’s article, “The Brand Called You.” This was published in 1997, but was prescient.  (I love words like prescient, words that are exactly right but uncommon enough that when you see them, you pay attention.  Prescient (adj): having or showing knowledge of events before they take place.).  The Internet had just been born, and Tom Peters saw just how important “personal branding” would become in the fragmented, ‘World is Flat,’ New economy.

Bay Area Social Media Training

Almost all of us – individual writers, bloggers, marketers, CEO’s, anyone who wants to ‘stand out’ or be a ‘thought leader’ has to think about the ‘brand called you.’

Enter Social Media Marketing

Now, when Tom Peter’s wrote this prescient article, there were just websites and the tiny beginnings of blogging. Today, we have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest… the Googling of potential employees before a hire, the Internet-never-forgets phenomenon and on and on and on. People go first to Google for information, and if they read your blog post, and see you as the expert… POW you get the job interview, the consulting gig, the link from the New York Times or whatever.

Being the BEST brand called you is one of the newest and most important personal marketing challenges.

Negative SEO and Negative Personal Branding

There’s a dark side (isn’t there always a ‘dark side?’). Negative SEO – the use of Internet publicity to damage someone’s personal brand – is out there, too. I’ve consulting with people who were being extorted by bloggers, with marketing folk whose CEO had affairs with interns (all over the Internet), and wanted to suppress that information. So on both a positive and a negative light, we need to ‘manage’ the brand called you.

If you are in or near the San Francisco Bay Area, I invite you to my Stanford Course, The Brand Called You: Personal Branding and Online Reputation Management, November 8-9 (Saturday / Sunday) at Stanford. Anyone interested in social media marketing, and especially those interested in reputation management and personal branding, will find it a lively, fun, and practical workshop on personal branding.

How to Get Reviews on Yelp, Easily!

As a teacher and trainer in Social Media Marketing, one of the most common questions I get is, “Jason, I have a small business and we depend on Yelp… but how do we get reviews?” My easy answer is: ask. Simply asking happy customers, “Hey, could you do me a favor… please write us an honest review on Yelp,” is the No. 1, easiest way to get reviews. You’ll ask ten customers to get one review, but over time, you’ll see a steady increase in reviews on Yelp (or Google+).

Local SEO / Social Media – Getting Reviews on Yelp

Get Yelp ReviewsBut there’s another easy way to get reviews on Yelp, easily: provide really horrible, rude service after completely screwing up a customer order. Ha, ha, ha.  I am not kidding, however. In today’s environment, any customer can write a review of your local business with the click of a button. This is especially true in San Francisco, the home town of Yelp, but it is true anywhere.

For example…  Recently, we just got home from our annual summer road trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Plano, Texas, and back. In Plano, Texas, we have a family tradition of going to Bone Daddy’s BBQ restaurant in Plano.  This year, however, the service was beyond terrible: our food came out late, the waitress was scruffy to be polite, and the manager was not very much better. So, what did I do? Go onto Yelp and re-write my “good” review into a “bad review.”  You can read my review of Bone Daddy’s Plano Texas to see what I’m talking about.

Next, the Karma of the universe intervened. We were in Tehachapi, California, on our way back, and stopped by McDonald’s.  (Not a lot of food options on highway 58). McDonald’s fouled up our order, and my wife called in to complain. I expected the worst: sorry, Charlie, sort of attitude. But instead, they comped us our food, refilled our order, and were incredibly nice about the whole thing.  Score #1 for McDonald’s.  So I wrote a positive review of McDonald’s… and was amazed at how their service put Bond Daddy’s to shame.

Morals of the Story: Getting Reviews on Yelp

Moral of the story for local reviews. #1 – ask for reviews from happy customers. #2 – if you have a mix-up, fix it for the customer and go beyond the call of duty… to prevent a) a bad review, and b) possibly get a good review.  #3 – stop by McDonald’s in Tehachapi, California, for incredible service at the place you’ll least expect it!