5 ways to create expert content with limited resources

 

In the world of tighter budgets, less staff and more workflow, who has time to write content?  How much do you have to write to be effective? Why write it at all?

A recent business study showed that 75 percent of buyers are likely to use social media in the purchase process and 55 percent of B2B survey respondents search for information using social sites.  Remember all those social platforms you put up for your company? Better have something to say on them, or better yet, have something to pass along. Content is your currency, make it worth sharing within your target community!

Below are five ideas on how you can create expert content, with limited resources:

1.    Curate

This is the cornerstone of a robust content management program. Similar to a museum curator, you don’t create the artwork; you collect and assemble it into a relevant showpiece. This involves organizing just where you are going to get your content from, and that’s not Wikipedia. A well-organized collection of useful information will motivate your audience not only to read, but also share with others.

Just ask Guy KawasakiHe’s a master curator, employing a staff to help sort through the mountains of information buzzing across the web. In fact he uses Twitter to send folks to his website at Alltop.com by tweeting links to his “online magazine rack,” in other words, the content he has aggregated from original sources.

Trusted, credible sources are key to curating good content. Start by building a go-to list of sites that you rely on regularly. For me, as a social businessperson, a few I subscribe to via email for updates are:

In addition, I use Facebook to like pages such as Mashable.com/tech to get all the technology news by the master curated site on the web.

2.    Crowdsourcing

Here’s yet another way of collecting knowledge from different sources, where the aggregated collection is the value. You’ll want to ask subject matter experts in your network a specific topic based question or two and aggregate your findings. Here’s an example of expert shared tips, which makes for a perfect published piece: Laptop Life Tips: Experts Share 10 Tricks To Make Your Computer Last Longer.

Or you can take a more public poll. Facebook recently added a Poll app called “Ask a Question.” Survey Monkey also allows free surveys and gives you a link to drive traffic to. LinkedIn Answers offers a chance to ask industry professionals for feedback and opinions.

Here’s a question: “What percentage of your marketing budget are you going to use on creating content this year?”

3.    Comment

I just read a story about Big Data and where it’s headed. Well, if I’m a systems architect, I just may have a lot to say about that. I cite the story, and then add my commentary. It’s also good practice to notify its author and build a warm relationship. Follow him/her on their social sites as well, you’re building press credentials for later.

4.    Use Numbers and Lists

Research shows that the highest rated posts on the web organize their content into numerical lists. 5 ways to create content, 3 top server consolidation methods, 7 of your favorite blogs (this one included). A list that is well sourced and has meaning will inspire your readers to comment and engage.  No room for fluff here. Quality is the key as shown in this article by HubSpot, “The Top 10 Qualities of High Quality List Posts.”

5.    Interview

My colleague, Kathy Tito, from New England Sales & Marketing does this very well. In “The Bootstrap” blog, she finds people of interest in technology marketing and interviews them Q and A style in a candid, no-nonsense way. Not only does it make for some great storytelling, but also she has acquired some great business contacts along the way.

What would you add to this list? How are you creating content with limited resources?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Anita O’Malley, who is a social and marketing business communications expert. She recently curated her own company, Perspectiv3. She can be reached at anitaom@perspectivmarketing.com

When is the best time to tweet?

A typical Deutsche Bahn railway station clock

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all want our tweets to get noticed, read and retweeted—whether they are your personal tweets or you are tweeting on behalf of a brand.

The purpose of this blog post is to give you some information about what research says about the best time to tweet and show you some tools so you can tailor your tweeting times to your followers’ habits.

Time of Day

According to the Twitter vs. Time infographic produced by the marketing company Lemon.ly referencing Twitter and Sysomos data, the most traffic on Twitter occurs between 9 to 11 a.m. ET and 1 to 3 p.m. ET. According to Hubspot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella’s research, the best time to tweet is 5 p.m. ET. The takeaway: Spread your tweets out throughout the day with an emphasis toward later in the day.

Time Zone

Pulling data from Dan Zarrella, the Science of Social Timing infographic created by KISSMetrics, shows that the breakdown of tweets in U.S. 48% of tweets are from the East Coast, 33% of tweets are from the Central time zone and 14% are from the West Coast. It is important to remember that nearly 80% of the general U.S. population is located in the Central and Eastern time zones. The takeaway: Think East Coast time.

Day of the Week

According to Dan Zarrella’s How to Get More Clicks on Twitter, you are more likely to get clicks on your Twitter links toward the end of the week and weekends. From my personal experience, I have been successful with Sunday evenings. In terms of followers clicking on your Twitter links, followers are more likely to do so on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The takeaway: Don’t forget about the weekends.

Tools

Optimizing you or your brand’s daily tweeting habits is important in making sure you reach your followers. I found 13 tools that can help you figure out and maximize the timing of your tweets.

1. WhenToTweet. This tool will help you figure out when most of your followers are online.

2. TweetWhen. This free tool shows you the best times to tweet based on your past 1,000 tweets.

3. Tweriod. This free tool looks at you and your Twitter followers’ tweets to provide times on when you should tweet.

4. TweetStats. This free tool will show you detailed analysis of your best tweeting time.

5. Timely. This free tool analyzes your past 199 tweets and figures out the best time slots for you to tweet.

6. Tweue. This free tool is basically a Twitter queue that will evenly space up to 10 tweet from 15 minutes to eight hours apart.

7. TweetReports. This free tool gathers the stats from your top 25 influential followers and analyzes the times where keywords are talked about the most, and when you may want to participate in these conversations.

8. Lookacross. This paid tool (30-day free trial) to find the best time to reach people.

9. 14Blocks. A paid tool ($5-$49/month) that analyzes your followers’ activities to find out the best times to tweet each day of the week.

10. Socialflow. A paid tool ($1 for first month) publishes your content when it will resonate the most with your Twitter followers.

11. Hootsuite. A free web-based social media dashboard that allows you to queue up and post updates in a timely fashion.

12. Buffer. This free app allows you to add articles, photos and videos to it anytime of the day and then it automatically shares them throughout the day

13. TweetDeck. This free tool allows you to schedule tweets and can help you manage your social media platforms.

Conclusion: Success Lies in Frequency Not Timing

In the end, success on Twitter does not rely on when you tweet but how frequently you tweet. Not too much but not too little. If you post at least 5 times a day, spaced throughout the day, you will mostly likely achieve the maximum impact of your tweets.

The 7 habits of highly effective people on Twitter

Free twitter badge

Image via Wikipedia

A lot of what Stephen Covey writes in his bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People applies to the habits of the top influential Twitterers. So here are seven behaviors to repeat regularly to increase your influence on Twitter.

Habit #1: Make Each Tweet Count

Mark sure each tweet or update you send is relevant. There is an increasingly amount of noise on Twitter so you need to make sure each tweet you send grabs the attention of your followers. With limited time and lower attention spans, compelling tweets are a must. Hint: try to follow the 9 simple formulas to creating killer headlines.

Habit #2: Know Yourself

Discover and clarify your values and goals. What are your trying to accomplish from Twitter? Think Guy Kawasaki and his Twitter strategy.

Habit #3: Plan Ahead

Plan and execute your tweets for the week ahead. Schedule some tweets using a third-party platform like Hootsuite or TweetDeck (which is now part of Twitter).

Habit #4: Know Your Following

Know your Twitter followers and what they like about your tweets. The third-party platforms mentioned above show you which tweets are the most popular and shows which topics your followers like and don’t like.

Habit #5: Listen

Listen well. Follow trending topics on Twitter, popular hashtags and take advantage that Twitter inherently reports news before traditional media does. Create a reasonably large amount of Twitter lists to better segment your followers so you can better understand your different types of followers.

Habit #6: Grow Your Influence Slowly

Your following won’t dramatically increase overnight. It is a marathon not a sprint. Follow these tips on how to grow your Twitter influence (another post I wrote).

Habit #7: Develop a Sustainable Strategy

Twitter takes a lot of time and effort to be successful. You are only as good as your latest tweet. You have to continually to produce re-tweetable content. Know how to get more retweets by taking advantage of research by social media scientist Dan Zarrella.

What habits would you add to this list?

7 ways social media is changing PR

Social media is a game changer for public relations. It is bringing new challenges and opportunities to the profession and to savvy pros. I have outlined seven ways that social media is changing PR.

  1. Two-way conversation. PR pros can no longer blast out information about their brand or client and expect to succeed. Consumers and journalists have come to expect that they won’t be “spammed” and will be answered quickly and in a personal manner. Timely, two-way communication is the “new normal.” Listening, engagement and thought leadership are now three areas that PR pros manage.
  2. Digital communication. PR pros need to know the latest digital tools, including social media monitoring tools, Twitter, Google Analytics. They need to understand blogging and the tools that come with that. We need to understand the nuance of communication for different online communities. (ie. between communicating on Twitter and/or Facebook.)
  3. Research. The social networks offer a wealth of information to PR pros on target markets, customer service, and media they want to pitch. They can now create new opportunities that may not have been available before without social media.
  4. Journalism is changing. Traditional media is no longer the “go to” source for information. The news can “break” from anywhere and the general public has become citizen journalists. For example, look at the U.S. Airways crash into the Hudson River or Michael Jackson’s death. The consumer no longer relies on big news organizations to be on the scene for news. Companies are, in essence, becoming media companies and their PR pros are becoming publishers. Be sure to read How is Social Media NOT Journalism?
  5. Faster and more visible communications. In our 24/7 customer-centric world, social media has increased the potential for complaints and the visibility of this negative outcry. Since we live in a social network, crises happen faster, and response time must be as well. It is important for PR pros to develop their organization or client online presence BEFORE a crisis happens. Because technology is always changing, the crisis plan needs to become a “living” document that helps give an immediate and well-informed response to the latest information.
  6. Analytics. PR pros need to understand and use math everyday. Social media can better help track the return on investment, including direct costs of staff time spent using the tools, and measurement of the traffic it drives to a company’s website.
  7. Organizational hierarchy change. Internal and external communications have been democratized thanks to social media taking out the extra layers such as a direct line to the CEO if you are an internal or external stakeholder.

What would you add to this list? How do you think social media has changed PR?

This post originally appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.

Top 10 viral YouTube videos of all time

 

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

We all love video. So I thought it would be fitting to create a post on the 10 best viral YouTube videos of all time.

In doing research for this post, I saw many other top viral video lists varied based a number of variables and criteria. Basically, the list depends on how you slice and dice it. In other words, these types of posts are very subjective. So what really makes up a viral YouTube video for this list?

Here’s my criteria:

  1. The video needed to reach a large age range
  2. Be a part of pop culture
  3. You can watch it on YouTube
  4. Ranked by number of YouTube views

To help create this post, I referenced the YouTube Chart of all-time most viewed videos.

Here’s my list:

10. Lazy Sunday – Saturday Night Live

Views: 5 million +++ (taken down by NBC from YouTube so not sure final count)

9. Evian Babies

Views: 14 million +

8. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Views: 30 million +

7. Will it Blend? iPad version

Views: 10 million + (note: many different versions of “Will It Blend” so I ranked this higher)

6. Numa Numa

Views: 41 million +

5. Miss Teen USA 2007 – South Carolina answers a question

Views: 49 million +

4. Battle at Kruger

Views: 60 million +

3. D&*K in the Box – Saturday Night Live

Views: 24 million + (owned by NBC so numbers are off – most likely tons more than listed on YouTube)

2. David after Dentist

Views: 85 million +

1. Evolution of Dance

Views: 168 million +

What video(s) would you add to this list?

7 ways to avoid common PR campaign pitfalls

Managing a PR campaign takes a lot of hard work and effort.  To ensure success of your PR campaigns, you should avoid these seven common pitfalls or mistakes.

No integration. A campaign is more than a news release.  Most successful campaigns know how to take advantage of a multi-channel campaign that uses online and offline PR tactics, including developing a media kit, writing a blog post, producing a video and/or podcast, organizing a Tweetup or event for key stakeholders.  If all the components of the campaign don’t integrate, the campaign has a lower chance of being successful.

Lack of alignment and availability. Think about the key stakeholders in your organization and how they are going to be affected by this PR campaign. Is your key spokespeople who works in another department available to talk at moment’s notice on a blog, to traditional media, answer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn questions?

Lack of proper positioning. There is nothing worse than not understanding how a PR campaign fits into your overall marketing strategy.  Marketing positioning is very important for a product, brand or organization.  What is your company’s identity and how will this campaign reinforce an image that has been branded into the minds of your target audience?  How will this campaign help with Search Engine Optimization? In other words, does the PR campaign highlight all the keywords that your audience may type into a search?

Too self-centered. Make sure that you solve your customer(s) problem(s) with the PR campaign.  Make sure you think about how this will help your target audience.  A journalist is more likely to write about something if the PR campaign can help its audience.

No newsworthy components. As a PR pro, you need to put on your journalist hat and think like the media.  Why should anybody care? Or what is in it for me?  Be sure to read: What Makes a Story Newsworthy? It is very important that you read, listen and/or watch the media outlets you are pitching for the PR campaign.

Not sustainable. Often times, a PR campaign is great at creating initial buzz but is forgotten months later.  You should create what is called the PR longtail on the Internet. Making sure that the content you write today can still be applicable in some way tomorrow is important for long-term success of the campaign.   Also, make sure the concept of the campaign is created in a way that it can be adapted to many different audiences.

Don’t know target audience. Who is the audience for your PR campaign?  Make sure that you not only know what target audience you are trying to reach with the campaign but what media outlets or online influencers would most likely be interested.  Make sure you do your homework.

What would you add to this list?

Image courtsey of DoktorSpinn.

Why your organization needs a domain strategy

Creating a domain strategy should be one of the first things you do when developing an overall Internet marketing strategy for your organization.

Organizations should make sure that they purchase multiple top level domains (TLDs) so that they all point to one primary domain name.

What does this mean?  If your company primary domain name has a .com TLD, they should also purchase the domain rights to .org, .net, .mobi, .biz, .jobs and .info.  You should also purchase some misspellings of your original domain name to make sure that your audience gets to your website.  For example, type in yahoo.org, yahoo.biz, yahoo.info into your web browser.  Do they all direct you to yahoo.com?   Yes.  If you type in yahooo.org with the extra ‘o’ do you get directed to yahoo.com?  Yes.  Yahoo is a great example of a company that successfully implements a domain strategy with multiple TLDs.

Why should you care?  One of the best mainstream examples of how a domain issue can affect organizations is the whitehouse.com controversy.  If you are trying to go to the White House website and type in whitehouse.com, you won’t find out about President Obama’s latest press conference.  You’ll need to instead go to whitehouse.gov.  A web page designer purchase whitehouse.com first and made it an adult site.  (It has since been changed to another site.)  CNET’s Whitehouse.com goes porn article summarizes this controversy well.

So do you want your organization’s clients and prospects go to a site that is not affiliated with your organization?  Worse yet, do you want to your audience (who may be young children) to encounter adult content instead of your content?  A cybersquatter took advantage of the popularity of the White House to promote his content.  Do you want your organization to fall victim to this too?

To learn more about the benefits of why your organization should purchase multiple TLDs and point them to one domain, I recommend you visit these two posts: advantages of multiple TLD registrations and why use multiple domain names?

Does your organization have a domain strategy?

10 tips to become a more successful PR pro

In today’s ultra-competitive PR world you need to find ways to stand out. Following are 10 things that continue to help me become a more successful PR pro. I hope they help you, too.

  1. Do your homework. A mass pitch never amasses a lot of coverage. Before you pitch a journalist or blogger, know what they cover. Research their past stories and fine tune your pitch to appeal to their audience.
  2. Learn something new. Take a training course. Sign up for a conference. Go back to school. Take an online certification like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification. You may find out you know more than you think.
  3. Become a better writer. Practice being a “headline communicator” by learning how to hook your audience with your first five words. Find creative ways to flex your writing muscle. Become a contributing author to an industry publication. Start your own blog or write for your company’s blog.
  4. Develop deeper relationships. Remember how powerful and memorable handwritten thank you notes are in today’s online world. Look for new and creative ways to keep yourself top of mind in the eyes of your stakeholders. Don’t forget that relationships are best built face-to-face than over the phone or on a computer.
  5. Learn how to better manage the yes. This is a twist on managing the no. Learn how to better manage the expectations of others. Make sure that you set the scope of work and discuss desirable outcomes. Make sure you always under-promise and over-deliver.
  6. Prioritize. When you feel overwhelmed by multiple large projects, step back and remember what’s most important to accomplish today. Create a to-do list at the end of every day, so when you come into work the next morning you know what you need to do first.
  7. Be more resourceful. If you can’t reach a journalist or blogger over the phone or by email, search for them on Twitter and send them a message. Find creative ways to pitch beyond the standard press release. Seek out the stories journalists are working on by using services like HARO and NewsBasis.
  8. Take advantage of social media. More journalists are using social media to find story ideas and sources. Use sites like Muck Rack, MediaOnTwitter, and Journalist Tweets to find out who’s online and how to contact them.
  9. Network, Network, Network. Join professional PR associations like PRSA or IABC or Ragan. Become a member of your local Social Media Club. Participate in Twitter chats. You never know when a relationship may help you with your current job or finding a future one.
  10. Use free PR tools. Read Jeremy Porter’s 13 PR resources you may have overlooked post. There are many tools out there that can help you deliver tremendous value to your brand or client – without spending a dime.

What tips would you add to this list?

This post originally appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.

7 ways to win friends and influence others on Facebook

One of my favorite books is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It recently occurred to me that a lot of what he writes in the book applies to interactions on Facebook.

Facebook is having a tremendous impact on many of the top brands in the the world. For example, Starbucks is one of the top brands on Facebook because it recognizes and rewards its consumers.

Here are seven ways you can help your brand or client win friends and influence others on Facebook.

1. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Figure out what the customer really wants from your Facebook page. Why are they coming to your Facebook page and why do they ‘like’ it? Is it because of conversation? Engagement with fans of similar interests? Discounts? Special offers? To benchmark other top brands for ideas, check out the Facebook page leaderboard on the PageData section of InsideFacebook.com. According to the site, Texas Hold’em Poker is number one. It is interesting to note that since Facebook changed its language from ‘fan’ to ‘like’, the entertainment brands have seen an increase, according to ClickZ.

2. Become genuinely interested in other people.

Contribute relevant content on your wall (and if you have a discussion tab) to stimulate conversation. Make sure that each person who ‘likes’ your Facebook page knows that the brand cares about them in a genuine way. Your Facebook page should be generating conversation among your loyal fans not spamming them with marketing messages that are irrelevant to them.

3. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Update content consistently and ask a lot of questions. Asking questions is a sure way of getting them to talk about themselves. But it is important to make sure that when you ask these questions that you listen so that you can ask better questions the next time. While the number of people who ‘like’ your Facebook page is important, those who actively engage with you is even more important for your brand. To learn more about how to engage your fans, check out these two great Mashable articles: four ways to increase Facebook fan engagement and five inspiring case studies for Facebook fan pages.

4. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Why do people want to become a fan of your page? Why do they like your content? Learn what interests your target audience has beyond just the interactions with your brand. Conducting research is important to really getting to know all of the interests of your brand advocates. Throughout all of your social media platforms, you can get a bigger picture of what really interests your audience.

5. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

It is important that you generate new fans and keep your current fans happy. To keep them happy, recognize the people who create or share the most information about your brand. For example, create a loyalty rewards card where your fan collect points or badges or stars. Something where you encourage your fans to keep coming back for more and more. Highlight on your Facebook page, stories that represent your “ideal fan.” Perhaps develop a “fan of the day” or “fan of the week” on your page where you continually make your fans feel like they are an important part of everything you do as a brand. For more information, check out: how to recognize and reward your brand’s top fans.

6. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

In social media, it is important that you give sincere appreciation. A simple “thank you” needs to go deeper. You need to give them something of value such as free ticket, a coupon, exclusive access, gift certificate or a momento. Something creative to show them that you really appreciate them and are thankful that they are a brand advocate.

7. Throw down a challenge.

Create a contest. Be creative. For example, you can create a user-generated content contest about why they are your biggest fan. Or you can create a contest where they take a video or photo about using your product or service. Or create a contest with a large prize such as a trip, cash or meeting your brand celebrity. Check out these posts: leveraging social media for contest promotion and five tips for creating a successful social media contest.

For more information on how to win friends and influence others on Facebook, check out these other five resources.

  1. InsideFacebook
  2. Mashable
  3. AllFacebook
  4. Facebook Blog
  5. Facebook Developers

#FollowFriday: Justin Brunner


Justin Brunner, a corporate communications manager at Standard Parking, and I met over Twitter. So it seemed fitting to find out more about him in 140 characters or less. Justin is responsible for the construction of their intranet, creation of their publications, development of their corporate messaging and managing their social media platforms.

In honor of Twitter’s #FollowFriday, here is a quick Q&A with him on everything digital media.  I encourage you to follow him on Twitter (@justinspage) and subscribe to his blog, The Justinarim. Happy Friday!

Q: Tell me about yourself.
A: Recent Chicago transplant with a 7-year communications & marketing background; Texas native; Navy vet; lover of tennis, travel and fashion.

Q: Tell me about your experience as Standard Parking as the lead communicator.
A: My primary role is to oversee the delivery of information. My goals for year one: 1) assess 2) create strategy 3) implement and 4) measure.

Q: What has been your experience between understanding social media and implementing it?
A: Understanding what works best for your specific needs is hard. Constantly creating new content is tough. Implementation is the easy part.

Q: How do you define social media?
A: A direct, 2-way conversation across an online platform, primarily utilized for information sharing and creation of ideas.

Q: Who “owns” social media at Standard Parking?
A: Corporate communication oversees the company account & monitors overall company activity. Field marketing handles location-specific accounts.

Q: What is the purpose of social media?
A: It opens a direct dialog with your stakeholders (customers, clients, potential clients or competitors) and creates corporate transparency.

Q: How do you measure success in social media?
A: Success is the $40M question! I think it depends on the goals & objectives. Ask what can you get out of it then see if you’re measuring up.

Q: What social media metrics make the most impact on the C-suite?
A: I like things like influence and retweets. Twitalyzer and HootSuite are great for this.

Q: What social media tools/sites are you most comfortable with?
A: We currently utilize Facebook and Twitter. We’re still relatively new at this on the C-level.

Q: What is the biggest mistake that people make in social media?
A: I think there are two: Placing a dollar figure (ROI, etc) on engagement and whoever has the most friends/followers wins. It’s about quality.

Q: What social media tips would you give my readers?
A: Have a plan and be consistent. If you don’t know where you’re going then why go at all. And, if you go silent, no one will hear you.

Q: What are you favorite social media blogs?
A: Brian Solis, Copyblogger, Olivier Blanchard, Online PR, Scott Meis, Seth Godin, Strategic Public Relations, Todd Defren – PR Squared

Q: Who influences you the most on Twitter?
A: People that take the time to respond to your comments or provide a solution when you need it.

Q: What would you tell a “newbie” about the value of Twitter?
A: You only get out of it what you put in. Post relevant items that you feel are valuable to your audience. Try, try, try and you’ll get there.

Q: Your Twitter profile says you are an opinionated problem solver. What problem caused you to be the most opinionated?
A: When people told me to, “Stop asking ‘why’!”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 76 other followers

%d bloggers like this: