All posts by Gretchen Van Benthuysen

When I was 11, I knew I wanted to be a journalist and I grew up to become the Entertainment Editor of the Asbury Park Press when I was 25. Fifteen years later I finally was able to write about theater in NJ and in NYC full-time for another 10 years, plus contribute articles and reviews to Variety, Back Stage and The Drama League. Now I run this website TheaterCues.com for fun. Before I left The Press I was the Web Producer for the Friday and Sunday Entertainment sections of The Press, Home News Tribune, Daily Record and Courier News. I learned a lot about Search Engine Optimization, key words and phrases and other ways to attract Google’s attention. If you have a business — or show business — these days you need a website that shows up on the first page of Google that your customers — or audience — check often to see what’s new on your blog, in your photo galleries, on your video accounts, etc. You want them to be a part of your community, your family, so when it’s time for your service — or opening night — they are there to support you.

Small business owner reveals company secrets to quell knock-offs


Dave Munson, CEO of Saddleback Leather made an entertaining 12 minute video giving his imitators — and us — step-by-step instructions on how to make leather bags your kids will fight over when you die.
Dave Munson, CEO of Saddleback Leather made an entertaining 12 minute video giving his imitators — and us — step-by-step instructions on how to make leather bags your kids will fight over when you die.

If you’re a small business owner with a unique product the last thing you want is to see are copies of your one-of-a-kind product being ripped off, sold cheaper and made with inferior materials.

But it happens. It’s inevitable. We know the same night the Oscar Awards air on TV, knock-offs of the most popular gowns worn by movie stars are being replicated in overseas sweat shops to be worn by high school girls at their proms a few months later.

What can you do about?

Continue reading Small business owner reveals company secrets to quell knock-offs

10 Free Twitter Tools You Probably Should Be Using


When it comes to Twitter, do you know when your followers are online so you know when to Tweet for better exposure and stats?

Image of Twitter logo
Increase your following with these tips.

How about your competitors’ Twitter stats? Knowing which hash tags will become a  world-wide hit would be nice to know in advance, too.

Well, then, check out social media evangelist Rishona Campbell‘s blog “10 Free Twitter Tools You Might Not Know about but Should Probably Be Using.”

Learn a lot by clicking here.

Visitors who spend time on your site are golden


One visitor who spends time on your website may be worth more than two in a rush.

Google keeps its SEO analytics a secret so we can only guess, through best practices, how it rates what we do to attract  its spiders to crawl through our posts.

One industry wide accepted practice to boost your G rating is keeping folks on your page poking around for as long as possible. So, give them lots of “entertainment” in the form of photo galleries, video and links.  Keep in mind, though, it’s imperative your settings take the visitor to a new window, otherwise you are taking them off your page. Once they’re gone it’s unlikely they will hit the back button to return to your site. Continue reading Visitors who spend time on your site are golden

Building your ‘Empire’ totally free on Twitter


Image of Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett in “Empire.” (Credit Chuck Hodes/Fox)
Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett in “Empire.” (Credit: Chuck Hodes/Fox)

I haven’t watched a single episode of the first season of Fox’s “Empire,” a hip-hop soap opera on the scale of  “Dallas” when it comes to a rich family acting very badly.

But, I’m definitely a fan as it has increased its audience each week via social media, averaging 451,270 tweets per episode. Yeah, you read that right. According to Nielsen Social that is the highest on TV, beating “The Walking Dead” and “Scandal.” The second to last episode of “Empire” got 750,258 tweets and that is something any business with a Twitter account should be paying attention to.

Continue reading Building your ‘Empire’ totally free on Twitter

Salvation Army uses #TheDress in campaign against violence


Not every time something goes viral on the web will your company be able to piggyback on it for tons of free PR. But sometimes you can and the Salvation Army is reaping the benefits of the black-and-blue dress vs. the white-and gold dress phenomenon as part of its campaign against domestic abuse.

In a couple of days, this 150-year-old organization turned the world-wide conversation about individuals’ perception of the color of a dress into society’s perception of domestic violence. Why are some us, even whole societies, unwilling to see and act to end violence against women?

Continue reading Salvation Army uses #TheDress in campaign against violence

‘Peter Pan Live’ example how small business can reach millions, for free


Image of Christopher Walken as Capt. Hook.
Casting Christopher Walken as Capt. Hook is brilliant.

Want to increase your brand,  your image, your reach, and build your community  internationally (clicks are clicks)!! Then browse over to the DiGiorno twitter site. Whoever is tweeting during “Peter Pan Live” —  being watched by millions — is killing by being civil and funny  — all for free! Learn from the DG master.

Remember, this is a company that sells its pizzas in supermarkets so you don’t have count on delivery for “delivery quality pizza.”.

I bow to the master. Why? Here’s a small example. This goes on for the  entire musical. I am so jealous.

Continue reading ‘Peter Pan Live’ example how small business can reach millions, for free