It’s been over 10 years since I have stepped foot in Knott’s Berry Farm, 10 years too long! I have fond memories of coming here as a kid. I would stay up all night with knots (or should I say Knott’s) in my stomach from the anticipation of riding Montezuma’s Revenge and going upside down on Boomerang. I remember mining for gold, trying boysenberries for the first time and meeting Snoopy. Everything I just wrote reminds me of how much I love Knott’s Berry Farm so you can imagine my excitement when I received an invitation to attend their media night last Thursday for Knott’s Scary Farm. It’s described as the largest and most terrifying Halloween event in Southern California with 11 mazes, 1000 monsters, 2 shows and 13 thrill rides. I invited my friend Jen from San Diego to come with me. We drove to Orange County (Buena Park) and arrived to the media check in at 6:30pm and received a press kit with goodies that included a schedule of activities, tarot cards and a special skeleton key that granted us access to special rooms in many of the mazes. Keep reading to find out about my frightening experience at Knott’s along with 7 reasons why Knott’s Scary Farm is the Halloween attraction you don’t want to miss.
After checking in, we entered the park and were immediately greeted by scary creatures roaming around in costume. I knew I had to be prepared for monsters jumping out at me all night! This leads me to reason number 1 to attend Knott’s Scary Farm:
1. You will be spooked during your entire visit!- That’s right, everywhere you turn will have a scary surprise!
We made out way to the media reception and I was happy to run into many of my Orange County and LA social media friends who I don’t get to see often. It was great catching up with everyone while enjoying delicious and scary treats including the famous boysenberry pie and Frankenstein desserts! I am blessed to be connected with so many smart and successful leaders in the social media and tech community online. Social media allows me to keep up with everyone’s day to day lives so when I see a social media friend in person, we take off right where we left off, which is from our last Tweet. Reason number 2 to attend Knott’s Scary Farm:
2. The sweet treats!- The media reception was filled with special Halloween treats like the Frankenstein and skull shaped chocolates filled with berries and cream. I am not sure if they sell these around the park but I do know they always have an abundance of berry pie and funnel cake! While I promote healthy eating, I also believe in balance and splurging once in a while.
After the reception we headed out to explore. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect at a Knott’s Scary Farm maze but I soon realized why there was so much hype around them and why mazes are another reason why you need to attend Knott’s Scary Farm!
3. Knott’s Scary Farm Mazes– I would describe each maze as a themed haunted house. Usually when you visit a haunted house, you wait in line, walk in the house, come out alive (hopefully) and then it’s over. Well Knott’s Scary Farm has 11 different mazes! Each one has it’s own theme. The theme decorations really add an extra element of fun. Each room is carefully thought out and designed according to the theme. My favorite mazes were Trick or Treat, The Tooth Fairy and Voodoo. The lines get quite long so I highly recommend getting the Fright Lane with Skeleton Key package.
4. Fright Lane with Skeleton Key- Purchasing this add on with your ticket will make your Knott’s Scary Farm experience more enjoyable. The Fright Lane pass allows you to skip the line and go straight to the front of each maze. The Skeleton Key gives you access to 5 bonus rooms that are found in some of the mazes. The bonus rooms may include someone telling you more of the story about that particular maze, a cool decoration or extra monster.
I have always enjoyed watching shows at theme parks because it gives me a chance to take a break from walking around but at the same time I’m still being entertained. Knott’s Scary Fam featured 2 shows, Elvira’s Asylum and The Hanging. I was able to catch Elvira’s show and highly recommend it as another reason you must attend Knott’ Scary Farm!
5. Watch the legendary Elvira– Mistress of the Dark – Elvira’s Asylum has everything from comic relief, acrobats, dancing, singing and much more! You will want arrive to the show early to grab a good seat!
My favorite part of attending a theme park is the rides! The first one we went on is my favorite of all time, Montezuma’s Revenge! I also rode Pony Express, Jaguar, Supreme Scream, Sierra Sidewinder and the scariest looking ride of all, Xcelerator! This was my first time attending a Halloween event with so many thrill rides, and it definitely adds another element to my list of why Knott’ Scary Farm is a must!
6. Thrill Rides- There are 13 thrill rides you can enjoy as part of your Knott’s Scarm Farm adventure. The lines for the rides weren’t more than 20-30 minutes, many of them did not even have a wait. I am not sure if this will be the case for the rest of the season, but since most people are checking out the mazes, this might be your chance to hop on a few more rides. Being on the rides at night definitely makes them scarier!
My last reason for attending Knott’s Scary Farm is one I didn’t actually get to experience. Even with having a reserved time, the line was so long that we decided to skip it. However, from the looks of how popular it was, I definitely want to mention it.
7. Special Ops: Infected- Patient Zero– This is an interactive laser tag experience where you will fight off zombies! I recommend reserving a time in advance to do this since it had the longest line of anything I saw at Knott’s Scary Farm.
The park stayed open until 1am. If you get in a ride line before 1am, they still allow you to ride it. We stayed the entire time and closed the place down! This was by far the best Halloween event I have ever attended. It was unique because of every reason I listed above and the fact that Knott’s Scary farm is able to combine so many elements into one amazing experience truly deserves them praise and a visit this Halloween season! I can’t wait to come back to Knott’s. Feel free to share with me your favorite attractions at Knott’s Scary Farm and have a wonderful Halloween! You can get tickets and more information HERE.
*Xcelerrator Roller Coaster Photo from: Bucket List Productions
Balboa Park is one of my favorite places in the world. This year Balboa Park is 100 years old and they’re having a big centennial celebration that’s still going on! Here’s a little history for you: 100 years ago, in honor of the completion of the Panama Canal, the people of San Diego came together to host a phenomenal party. A year-long event to celebrate innovation, architecture, culture, and the natural beauty of the city of San Diego, the first US Port of Call in the Pacific.
Now, 100 years later, the celebration is happening all over again! There have been special events all year-long celebrating the art, science, and culture, of Balboa Park. That’s right, a year of breathtaking performances, awe-inspiring exhibitions, and historical experiences that showcases how San Diego has grown, and how Balboa Park has evolved over the last century. If you haven’t been to Balboa Park yet to celebrate this milestone, you have plenty of opportunities. I would like to invite you to join me for the Taste of Asia, a free event that is part of the centennial celebration. The event is at the International Cottages on Saturday September 26th, 12-5pm and Sunday September 27th, 12-5pm.
I am the Master of Ceremonies (Emcee) for the entire weekend and I couldn’t be more thrilled for this opportunity. I get to help celebrate 100 years of history at my favorite place while highlighting Asian culture and food. Serving as the Master of Ceremonies for events is a newer service I started offering through my marketing business and I’m so glad I decided do this. It’s a challenging job (any speaking job is!) but also very rewarding because I get to highlight the success and hard work of so many different people and organizations.
Taste of Asia is a cooperative effort of the Houses of China, India, Korea and the Philippines along with community partners.
- Chinese beef noodle soup, shaved ice and boba drinks
- Filipino lumpia, pancit and fruit drinks
- Indian samosa, curries and tea
- Korean Bibimbap (Saturday only)
Entertainment: While satisfying your taste buds, you’ll see performances from Chinese pipa lute music, lion dancers; Korean dance, drum and song; Indian classical and Bollywood dances; PASACAT to perform traditionally based Philippine dance and music; Chinese tai chi and erhu music, Xiamen University performers and cooking demos by the Dean of East Eat College and Taiko drummers.
Bring the whole family! There will be crafts including free Children’s lanterns; Indian henna; Korean Coloring Dancheong Fans and get your name written in Chinese!
Please let me know if you plan to attend and make sure you come say hello! I will be near the entertainment stage at the International Cottages. I look forward to seeing you to celebrate 100 years of Balboa Park while eating delicious Asian food. You can find more events to celebrate Balboa Park’s milestone, HERE.
If you’re interested in hiring me to emcee your next event, you can contact me directly and find out more information on my Speaking Page.
INBOUND15 is coming up in Boston September 8th-11th and I have your golden ticket to attend. That’s right, I’m giving one lucky winner an All-Access Pass to INBOUND15 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
INBOUND15 has really stepped it up with amazing speakers and activities. Keynote speakers include Chelsea Clinton, Seth Godin and even the hilarious Aziz Ansari just to name a few! In addition to the keynotes, here is everything the All-Access Pass includes:
- Access to all 6 Keynotes
- Daily Networking Happy Hour
- Admittance to INBOUND Rocks
- Access to Club INBOUND
- Discounted Rate at 17 Hotels*
- Access to 170+ Educational Sessions
- 30+ Awe-Inspiring Bold Talks
- Eligibility for Keynote Meet and Greet
- Access to INBOUND 2015 Archived Content
- Free Lunch from 20+ Food Trucks
- Unlimited Beverages**
INBOUND fuels the passion that drives the most innovative and successful business leaders of our time. INBOUND’s purpose is to provide the inspiration, education, and connections to transform your business.
INBOUND15 is an event designed to help marketing and sales professionals, business owners, and agency executives deepen their knowledge of inbound marketing through a combination of inspiring keynote presentations, focused training and breakout sessions, expert-led small group workshops, innovative product demos, and exciting networking activities along with an amazing INBOUND Rocks concert.
The All-Access ticket I’m giving away costs $1,499. It will be completely free for a lucky winner! Check out all the information on INBOUND15 HERE. Now for the scoop on HOW YOU CAN WIN this high value prize!
Leave a comment on this post with 1 thing you want to learn from INBOUND15. Include your FULL NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS.
Your must have a valid email address so I can contact you if you’re the winner. Thats’s it. Easy to enter and win! Want to increase your chance of winning? Each additional activity you complete will earn you bonus entries:
- 2 BONUS ENTRIES- Join my Facebook page and “Like” or “Share” this post about INBOUND15. If you do one (Like or share), you’ll get 1 bonus entry. If you do both (Like and share), you’ll get 2 bonus entries.
- 1 BONUS ENTRY- Follow me on Twitter and Tweet this post to share the contest with your following. Make sure to include me in the Tweet @MyMelodie.
- 3 BONUS ENTRIES- Most of you know that I’ve got a SXSW 2016 PanelPicker in the running. If you vote for my session AND leave a comment you’ll get 3 bonus entries. You must leave a comment so I can track your vote.
The winner will be chosen by random and notified no later than Tuesday September 1st, 2015.
*Please note: By entering the ticket giveaway, you are signing up for Marketing Melodie’s Marketing Your Way to Success Newsletter. Recipients can opt out any time. Transportation and housing for Inbound15 are not included.
Last Thursday I attended the San Diego Google event, “Let’s Put Our Cities On The Map”. The 3 hour event was complimentary for business owners and took place at Liberty Station. Google created this event to help strengthen communities by connecting local businesses and customers so we can easily support each other. They realize how vital local business owners are to the economy and want to make sure we have all the tools to succeed at our disposal. I learned about the event through the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, but I did not feel like the event was heavily promoted outside of various chambers in San Diego County based on a lower than expected attendance and the amount of people who told me they wished they knew about the event after they saw me post a photo of being there.
The event began with networking and breakfast in the Google Microkitchen. Then we were led to our seats. Each seat had a laptop that was fully connected to wifi. I appreciated this because it allowed us to complete things that were being recommended right then and there. I often host hands on workshops for my business so it was nice to attend one where my intention was to learn.
There were several topics covered at the workshop including:
- Be Found on Google
- Get Unique Insights
- Be More Productive
Despite the low turnout, I found the event to be quite valuable. Since most of you were unable to attend, I want to share the top 5 things I learned that I feel will be helpful for your business. Some of these tips are basic, but they are still great reminders and since they are coming directly from Google, you can bet they focus on improving your search results. I’m presenting what I learned in a Q & A format so you know exactly what questions are being answered.
1. How do I create more content with keywords without actually repeating the keywords over and over again?
Name your photos- This is an easy to implement tip that most people ignore or don’t know about. When using photos on your website, blog or social media, take advantage of the search optimization you can create on photos by naming the photo. By default, most photos are saved under a random number or letter combination such as “IMG_9499.jpg”. Rename the photo to include keywords for your business, what the photo actually is or the event it’s taking places at. This way, it will show up on Google’s Image search and be an additional resource for keywords on your website. For example, I renamed the first photo on this blog post “Marketing Melodie at Google Let’s Put Our Cities on The Map Event.jpg”. If you are selling products, make sure name the photo the actual name of the product you want people to search for.
2. How do I know who’s talking about my business online?
Set up Google Alerts- Monitor the web for interesting new content related to your business and brand. What does this mean? Say you set up a Google Alert for your business. Any time, your company name is mentioned online, you will receive a notification (I this up to get notified by email). This allows you to know who is posting about your brand. If someone says something positive about your business, you can reach out and thank them, perhaps even create opportunities for them to become an ambassador for your company. If someone says something negative, you’ll know about it and can respond accordingly. If you have competitors you want to keep an eye out for, you can set a Google Alert for your competitor’s brand to learn about the sentiment happening around their company too.
3. How can I make sure my homepage and website show up on search results?
Use 250 words on your home page and include keywords- Stick to around 250 words on your home page and make sure you include all of your top keywords. The keywords are extremely important to have on your home page to improve search results. The 250 words can be your welcome message or description of your company.
4. How do I make sure my brand new website is found?
Publish your website even before it’s ready- Google made it very clear that the age of your site matters in search engine rankings. The longer your website has been around, the more authority it has. For anyone who is building a new website, it is recommended that you publish the website even if it’s not ready. When you first publish a website it takes time to be recognized by search engines, so this gives you time to finish your website while it’s gaining authority from being around longer. Most people don’t want to publish a website that is “Under Construction”. However, since you won’t be promoting the website yet, no one will see it or find any time soon. It does however look favorable to search engines that you are constantly updating the site with new information as you get it ready for a full launch. Again, there are many objections to this one but straight from the mouth of Google employees who know how to get your website found, publish your website asap even if it’s not complete!
5. How do I make sure I come up in local searches if I don’t list my address because I work from home?
Here’s how to list your business for local search if you don’t have a storefront- Many of you, like myself have a service based business without a storefront. Perhaps you work from home or at a location you don’t want to list because you don’t actually service clients there. Does this mean you lose out on local search opportunities? Nope! When listing the address for your Google business page, make sure to check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”. Then put a radius around your zip code with no more than 50 miles. This ensures that your address is hidden, but you also will come up in local search results near your zipcode. Even if you service customers nationwide, it’s still important to have a local presence. With this option, you can do just that!
I will do my best to keep you posted about events like this in the future in my Marketing Your Way to Success Newsletter. To make sure you don’t miss out, you can sign up here (enter your email on the right) or leave me a comment with your email. Your email will be hidden from the public if you enter it before leaving a comment. Oh and if you learned even just 1 new tip to grow your business from reading this, then I’ve done my job.
The much anticipated SXSW Interactive PanelPicker is live and I need your vote! I made a quick video about my proposed session, Marketing Your Way to Success with Social Media.
Read on if you’d like a little more info. Even if you don’t read the rest, I sincerely thank you for your vote HERE.
For the past 4 years, every March, I make my way to Austin for a magical event called SXSW. This year, even though I only had 48 hours to rock SXSW, I managed to meet my favorite late night host, Jimmy Kimmel; learn about sports marketing to millennials from the Indianapolis Colts Punter, Pat McAfee; connect with the brightest Entrepreneurs including Erik Qualman, Tim Ferriss and more. I also was fortunate enough to speak at the SXSW V2V conference last month in July.
During my recap of SXSW V2V I gave tips on becoming a SXSW Speaker. Their selection process is very comprehensive. Part of the process is the SXSW Panel Picker where the public votes for sessions they want to see. They combine this with votes from staff and their advisory board to ensure everyone gets a fair chance. Since the panel picker just launched, I need your vote!
My proposed session is: Marketing Your Way to Success with Social Media. I presented this at SXSW V2V to a packed room and received such great feedback that I want to customize my session and share it with an even larger audience in Austin.
I do my best to be a resource and to help when I can. Today, I am trusting that you will all help me out with your vote. It will take less than 5 minutes and allow me to share my passion and livelihood of teaching others how to effectively use social media to grow their business.
Here’s how to vote for my session:
1. CLICK HERE TO VOTE
2. After clicking the link, login or create an account. This takes a minute and can be done though Facebook.
3. Click the thumbs up button to vote.
4. Leave a comment and share why you are excited about my topic. It’s very important to leave even after you vote because it creates conversation. This also allows me to track who voted.
Once you vote for my session, you’ll be logged in and can vote for any other sessions you like. Other sessions I recommend are Jessica Tunon’s Netwalking session and Chic CEO Stephanie Burns’, Unreasonable Requests: How To Ask for Outrageous session. PanelPicker voting will close on Friday, September 4 (11:59 PM CT) so get your votes in before then!
Thank you all in advance for your vote. I am blessed to have so many positive people in my life and look forward to your support during the PanelPicker process. If you have a panel you would like me to check out, please leave me a comment. Let’s work together and support each other!
I’m back from an incredible and highly educational experience at SXSW V2V in Las Vegas. I’ve attended SXSW Interactive in Austin for the past 4 years but this was my first time attending the Vegas conference. V2V is SXSW Interactive on a smaller scale, but the quality of content and connections I made were impressive! The focus is more on educating startups and small business owners. I liked the intimate environment because it allowed me to build deeper relationships. Just like I do my top 10 SXSW Interactive recap each year, here’s a recap of the top ten things I experienced at V2V. You’ll find tips you can apply to your own business, mixed in with my favorite moments and fun experiences.
2. Yoga for the Busy Body– I had the pleasure of being the yoga instructor the the conference! I taught 2 morning yoga classes. I created a special class for the conference called yoga for the busy body. I incorporated poses that students could easily replicate at home and even at work! I absolutely love the fact that I had many students who have never, ever practiced yoga but decided to try it for the first time with me. I’m honored to introduce yoga into new lives at a tech conference of all places!
- Apply to speak at multiple SXSW events. Most people only apply to speak at SXSW Interactive so the competition is fierce. Customize your presentation to fit SXSW Film, SXSW Music and SXSW Edu.
- You have a better chance of getting chosen with a solo session versus a panel. Many people on panels don’t prepare as much as a solo session because they rely on other panel members. If you’re hosting a solo session, the spotlight is on you, so you will be more motivated to prepare.
- If you are going to apply to speak on a panel, make sure the panel is diverse. An all male panel, won’t fly. Don’t include 2 people from the same company or 2 people who do the exact same thing.
- Include a video! This personalizes your entry. It can be a short video you make on your own with your phone. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Having one will significantly increase your chances.
- Grammar and typos will count against you. Make sure to proofread multiple times and then proofread again.
Unfortunately, the application deadline for SXSW 2016 is over but these are things to keep in mind for next year. I also feel that these tips are relevant when applying to speak at other events and conferences.