Tag Archives: content marketing

Pocket Now Recommending Articles To Read, Save

Pocket, a popular online bookmarking software, is now offering users the ability to read and save articles the company recommends.

Pocket logo-online bookmarking This online bookmarking software gives the viewer the ability to read articles, then save them for future reference. Pocket uses tags, either recommended or created by the individual user, to both save and access articles.

When I clicked on my Pocket bookmarklet to save an article this morning, this is what I saw:
Pocket recommends articles for reading, saving

Three articles recommended to me by Pocket. A bit of research indicated these recommendations may be given based on how I currently use Pocket. The program also displayed a smaller version when I tried to “pocket” another article:
Pocket offers exploration to recommended articles for reading, saving

I can also recommend articles to read on Pocket. These recommendations show up in my Pocket profile and followers’ feeds. Cross-posting to my Twitter and Facebook news feeds? No problem. The program does caution, however, that political articles may display as Recommended, and their filtering system currently can’t filter for views or bias. To manage the articles you see, click the three dots in the upper-left-hand corner. manage article views in Pocket, click three dots

Currently Pocket offers browser extensions for Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. For those using Mozilla Firefox, the extension is built in to their browser.

Looking for a strategy for blogging ideas or keeping an eye on your competitors? Click here and let us know how we can help you.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Image courtesy of a Fox News article.


How Casual Should Article Writing Be?

old-fashioned lace with flip-flops

How casual should article writing be?

Casual writing for articles seems to be in these days. As a marketer and writer myself, I coach my clients to be conversational with their writing to make it easier for their audience to read, digest, remember. However, there is a difference between “conversational” and “casual”.

Lately, it seems readers don’t have to look very far to find abused conjunctions, such as starting sentences with the word “and” or “but”. My all-time favorite abused word (very tongue-in-cheek!) is the word “so”. There are also plenty of examples of other conjunctions, such as “aren’t”, “don’t”, “can’t”, and so on. At one point, I read an article from an online news agency that had the word “must’ve”! If I can find this article again, I’ll update my post with a link.

The worst offenders, in my opinion, are the writers who write as they text, or, don’t bother to check their spelling at all! Here is an example of a news article about the horrible stabbing of a USC professor by a student. The article is from Fox News, and yes, with a typo. While grammarians may argue with me on the use of “had” vs. “has”, you can’t argue the misspelling of the 2nd circled word. As of the date of this post, the word “according” has not been corrected.

USC student stabs professor, article typo from Fox News website

5 Tips To Write Better

Just how casual or formal should our writing be? It depends on both your writing style and your audience. If your writing is too formal and your audience is more laid back, you run the risk of the article not being read. If your writing is too casual and you’re trying to attract the upper-crust C-Suite in LinkedIn, that might not work well, either. Your writing must strike a balance between both.

Here are 5 points to think about:

  1. Simple, straightforward. Remember, your article will show up on a mobile device. That means the information should be straight, to the point content that is both snackable and shareable.
  2. Cut the tech-speak. Save the tech-speak for technical documents. If you’re going to use an industry-specific term or phrase, be sure to give a definition or explanation for it. Your audience will thank you.
  3. Be consistent. If you use contractions, keep using them. If you switch from writing longer articles to shorter ones, let your audience know. TIP: Try long-form with short paragraphs and short sentences.
  4. Speak-Write. Write the way you speak for a more natural tone and style. Visualize having a conversation with someone over coffee or a beer. Write like you’re talking to that person.
  5. Ask a friend to read it back to you. Does it sound the way you intended? Is the meaning clear, or clearly missing? Is there any tech-speak you missed?

The more you write, the easier the writing becomes, and you’ll be able to nail down your casual or conversational style more quickly.

Ready for a review of your articles or website? Click here and let us know how we can help you.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Image courtesy of a Fox News article.


The Inference Of Our Words and Social Media Posts

woman posting to social media from mobile phoneThe inference of our words and social media posts can either push your brand forward, or come back to bite you. A recent co-post by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Sharon Day caught the ire of the social media communities, particularly Twitter. At first, the post seemed fairly harmless, but the inference of the language is what led to a Twitter firestorm.

Take a look at this excerpt from a national news outlet via mobile phone: (insert screen capture here, please click to expand):

twitter mobile post by RNC

Twitter mobile post by screen capture, courtesy Fox News article.

One would like to infer that Priebus and Day were not referring to the new president-elect as a new “king”. Unfortunately, what else could possibly be understood from these words?

Words have meaning. We’re taught this as children when it comes to name-calling of others. We’re also taught that “names will never hurt me”. That’s a pretty good visual of conflicting views, don’t you think?

Oh, no? “What does this have to do with business?”, you might ask. More than you think.

What Your Meant vs. What Was Assumed

We all know what the word assume means. In this post, we could assume that both Prieibus and Day meant the birth of the Christian Son of God, Jesus. It also could mean literally what the post says – that the president-elect is a new king in America. Yet, the scope and meaning may have been lost or confused because: 1) it was rolled into a political post from political leaders; 2) other than wishing Americans a Merry Christmas and the presumptive meaning of renewed faith for the season and the incoming president-elect, the meaning of the post is not entirely clear, leading to assumptions that may not be entirely accurate.

Think back on our recent presidential election cycle. Go back to the name-calling by both presidential candidates. One intended to separate himself from his competitors. While this purpose was accomplished, the unintended consequence was the assumption, by many people, he will continue this sort of langugage as president — not a great way to gain allies.

The other, while trying to accomplish the same, also had the unintended consequence of isolating and separating herself from about half the voting population and inferring they were “bad people”. Not the best way to get people on your side.

From this post, could political adversaries conclude that the election means we now have a new king rather than president? Yes, it could — and apparently, they did just that. The bigger questions: 1) is that what you truly meant to say; 2) why wasn’t your message written more clearly; and 3) how does this message relate to your brand?

Now, think of your own messages and posts for and about your business. What could your competitors conclude? What will your intended target market and audience conclude? Was this your intention — what you meant to have happen?

Watch Your Langugage!

Before you hit the Post or Publish button on your next status update or blog article, stop and read your words again.

  1. Is the language appropriate to the topic or your audience? Could you have chosen words that clearly stated what you meant vs. choosing words that make you seem important or educated? Will your audience have to look up any of the words you’re using in a dictionary?
  2. Is the message appropriate to the topic or your audience?
  3. Will your message attract or isolate readers? Was this reaction deliberate? If not, how will your audience reach a more informed understanding?

  4. How does this message relate to your brand? If it doesn’t, why are you posting it? Is your brand experimenting with a new direction to capture a new audience? Are you venting a frustration or celebrating a victory of a situation that your brand did not participate in directly?

Your intentions for your posts and articles should match your brand’s mission and vision statements. Choose your words wisely, lest you get “caught up in the moment” and post something you may regret later.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Image courtesy of a Fox News article.


Why Your Hashtag “Strategy” Stinks and How To Fix It

Hashtags thrown against the wall.Your hashtag “strategy” stinks. Know why? You don’t have a real strategy. You don’t know what goals/results you’re trying to achieve, what expectations you have for the campaign and/or the hashtags, and what activities you’re going to utilize to make these outcomes a reality.

Here’s a quick background on hashtags. Hashtags were born on Twitter back in 2007 by Chris Messina as an idea to track conversations around a specific subject or interest. From this basic idea came the Twitter chats (learning and collaboration); movements, causes and disasters (i.e., #OccupyWallStreet, #LetsJoinHands, #JapanEarthquake); product sales (i.e., #SamsungS7, #iPhone7); events (i.e., #Rio2016, #Olympics); and social awareness (i.e., #BlackLivesMatter, #IceBucketChallenge, #BringBackOurGirls).

Business owners and brands know how to create a hashtag, for the most part: they start with the # sign and use a word or series of words with no spaces after it. They know they should either use one in a campaign or create one, but they don’t know which ones will get the most strategic visibility to meet their goals or how to create one that ties in to their campaign’s goals. Instead, some business owners create a hashtag that no one understands what it’s being used for, is what I call an “inside acronym” or “tech term” (used only within their industry or business), or is only relevant to that subject (which is good) but not being talked about by anyone else, including themselves (which is bad).

When creating a marketing campaign, you first decide what product or service you will showcase based on the goals of your company’s current business plan. You must decide the purpose of this strategy (i.e., what part of your marketing funnel you’re trying to target: product/service/brand awareness, client acquisition (new revenue), or client retention (marketing new products or services to an existing customer base). Once this is decided, goals and expected outcomes/results are planned to measure what your efforts should bring against the reality of what really happens.

Then, you decide how the campaign should be run: offline only (i.e., newspaper/magazine or radio ads, presentations, EDDM, etc.) online only (email to specific lists, social media, blog articles, webinars, etc.), or a combination of both. After you decide this point, you can determine whether or not a hashtag will be useful to your purpose.

Use An Editorial Calendar To Schedule Hashtags

Now that you know how your next marketing campaign will be presented, use your editorial calendar to plan out an entire month of blogging and social media posts, including hashtags. Here’s what you want to measure:

  1. Keyword vs. Phrase. Is the hashtag a keyword or phrase? Add a category to your calendar and monitor which one gets better results.
  2. Industry-specific. Are you targeting a specific industry for the Awareness or Consideration stages of your funnel?
  3. Use.How do you know that industry is using that hashtag? Is the prospect you want to do business posting content using it?
  4. Lone Wolf. Is your competitor or prospect the only one using that hashtag?
  5. Engagement. Both your competitors and prospects may be using the hashtag(s) you use. However, are they engaging with posters (posting a response or reply!) or just clicking the Like/Heart link? Mind you, I know sometimes a Like/Heart is okay, but if that’s all you see in their news stream you might rethink your own strategy.
  6. Social Media. List which social media channels you will be using to communicate your message and the hashtag(s). Pay close attention to both voices on each platform: your own voice (a.k.a., the company’s), and the channel’s.
  7. Save the date! Each post and its related hashtag should be scheduled consistently to maximize:
    • Google’s ability to capture your posts,
    • measuring what I can “consistent frequency”,
    • maximizing the number of eyeballs that will be reading it.

The hashtag(s) you choose to use can determine best visibility by day and time, and also by conversation. The last thing you want to do is attach a hashtag to your posts that has nothing to do with what you’re talking about! That means each hashtag must be researched to ensure both potential visibility and audience capture. Two good methods I use:

  1. Hashtags.org. This tool gives you a free 24-hour snapshot of the best time of day your chosen hashtag should be posted to Twitter, as well as about 5 snippets of conversation using this hashtag. If you don’t see a heartbeat (as I like to call it), the hashtag could either be so new no one is using it yet, or one you’re trying to brand to your organization (i.e., company name). Why Twitter? Two reasons: (a) hashtags were born on Twitter and the platform has fully supported this from day one; and (b) reporters use Twitter to look for interesting stories, media releases or company updates.
  2. Social media channels. OK, sounds like a d’oh!, right? You’d be surprised at how many business owners miss this simple step! There may be well over 500 social media channels, but they each handle hashtags differently. Check the channel you want to use to see how the hashtag is performing: (a) how long has this hashtag been used, and (b) what are the conversations around this hashtag?

If you’re using a different tool to measure hashtags and it’s working well for you, please comment to this article or on the social media channel you found this article.

Every business owner and social media manager should perform a social media audit at least once a year (larger companies should consider 2x/year). to ensure their strategy matches the goals of the business and marketing plans, and also ensure consistency with post frequency, voice, and engagement per channel. Download my social media checklist to get your audit started. No time? No problem! Fill out this short form and our experts will get your audit started.

To your success!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.


Blogging Strategy: Consistent Frequency

blogging layoutBusiness owners sometimes struggle with their blogging strategy, specifically with frequency and quality of their posts. They know blogging should be an important part of their marketing strategy, but they don’t know how much time should be committed to this process. Some don’t stay with the process because the ROI takes time to surface. Others don’t want to sacrifice quality for urgency.

I teach my clients to go for consistent frequency. This can be done in 3 steps:

  1. Write what you can support. If your business is low on active clients, the tendency is to “ramp up” your blogging efforts. This can become a difficult strategy as you start picking up clients and running low on time. Start out with what you can do when you are busy and build on it; in other words, start with that end in mind.
  2. Use an editorial calendar. Scheduling your posts ahead using an editorial calendar will help you see on what topics your articles are based, potential article overlaps, articles that can be expanded on, and upcoming holidays (if your blog is more B2C or retail-based). You can also see on which social media channels you have scheduled each post, for which day(s) and time(s), thus avoiding unplanned overlaps.
  3. Use a social media scheduling tool. Not every social media channel has a built-in post scheduling tool; this means you have to post your articles natively on the day and time you have on your editorial calendar. Using a tool such as Hootsuite (this has a mobile app!) or Social Ally USA will help you schedule your posts to the appropriate social media channel(s), for the day(s) and time(s) outlined by your editorial calendar. BONUS: Both Hootsuite and Social Ally will allow you to keep track of activity on each of your channels, and suggest content for posting.

If you find your active client base is shrinking, don’t react to it. Proact to it, strategically.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Ready to start using content marketing in your business? Contact me for a complimentary consultation!