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From the Desk of Alexander Krulik
Wednesday, 11:11am

Dear Friend,

There are tons of ways to generate traffic and build your business or ali-aboutpractice online. There are new slick marketing ideas popping up all the time, one after another, claiming to be the next best thing.

However, one of the easiest, proven, most time-tested ways to attract new business and more traffic to your site is to become a sought after authority and gain expert status in your field.

One of the biggest secrets that the top marketers don’t talk a lot about is the fact that they ALL have built their credibility, visibility, and their lists of gold by writing articles.

In fact, multi-million dollar online entrepreneur Ali Brown says that:ali-about

“This is a tried-and-true method that will NEVER stop working, unlike the latest and greatest gimmicks to spoof the search engines.

(Try one of those and see how quickly your traffic halts once the bottom drops out.)

Search engines love real content and will always love real content.”

Ali Brown,
http://AliBrown.com

 

 

 

 

And this is only scratching the surface…

As thousands of Internet Marketers already know, backlinks from articles offer the surest route to high rankings in Google, tons of free traffic and lots of targeted customers.

That’s what Yuwanda Black found out…

“I wanted to create more passive income, I decided to give article marketing a REAL try. I decided to submit one article to 25 top-rated directories for 30 days straight.
Only a week into it, my Google Adsense income has quintupled (increased 5 times) and my subscriber rate has increased three fold. And this is after ONE WEEK.”

Yuwanda Black,
PubliserInkwellEditorial.com

 

There’s nothing better than seeing first-hand the profitable results of your article writing.

And it’s a “dream strategy” for many other reasons, too.

bulletIncrease web traffic – With article marketing, visitors can constantly come to your website.

bulletAchieve massive publicity

bulletBuild your list of targeted prospects that want to hear from you right now

bulletBoost your reputation, credibility, and name recognition

bulletGain link popularity & Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings.

bulletCreate affiliate relationships and JV partnerships with highly influential web publishers.

So if you’ve learned to write articles, then congratulations.

You’re halfway there!

CLICK THE LINK BELOW

 

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CLICK HERE

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How to leverage your audience’s Instagrams, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, Tumbls & G+s

 

Chris AbrahamIcan’t believe you’re still hiring professional photographers with expensive DSLRs who shoot your events live but time-delay the results by days and weeks. Yes, I am looking at you!   moranLiveTweetingSetupGear-296x300

I am not saying you shouldn’t hire a professional team for posterity, the annual reports, and your organization’s archive. But why are you time-delaying your fundraisers, events, conferences, gatherings, jamborees, and rally by hours, days, and weeks when you have all the cheap-and-accessible tools all around you to take dozens of “good enough” images real-time, allowing hundreds, thousands, and millions of friends, family, fans, and potential donors, clients, customers, attendees, and members to get a selective and well-curated peek into all the cool stuff you do every day, as it happens, live, en masse, over the course of the entire event, instead of only the tightly-edited album you may only share with your current friends and family, all in one dump, at one moment, well after the event is far in the rear view mirror?

Yes, those professionally shot 16.2 megapixel photos may well be well-lit, hi-def, perfectly posed, and color-corrected, but they’re also planned, dull, and edited down to so few images that all you’re left with are some boring photos of some random “celebrity” at a dais, some sponsors, board members, and honored guests mugging in a huddle, some glad-handing photos, and maybe a snappy of plates of rubbery chicken on linen-festooned banquet tables.
Expand your reach beyond who’s in the room

Keep the pro shooters but look to others who might be willing to live tweet, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumbl on your behalf, logging in to your Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts before the night begins.

Alternately you can follow my advice below and get the sort of impact you need from the events that you’ve spent a lot of money and energy on already — events that could really help your brand profile in the noisy, noisy, world — but at which there are only dozens to hundreds of attendees and not the thousands-upon-thousands you’ve acquired through social media marketing across all of your social networks and social sharing platforms. Plus, there’s the excitement of the check-in, be it checking in on Foursquare, Facebook, Google Plus (or even on Foursquare through Instagram, actually).
Live streaming, live-tweeting, Instagramming and Vine

2014-04-28 13.48.52When I know I need to capture an event via social media, I use two smart phones and several huge, portable, backup batteries. Strangely enough, too few people carry backup batteries for their smart phones.

My two smart phones are an Apple iPhone 5 and a Google Nexus 5. The 5 has passable battery life, the Nexus 5 dies within an hour the way I use it. As a result, I fill up two Radioshack Portable Power Banks, each with 6000mAhs, every night.2014-04-28-13.48.52-300x281

The best thing about porting around too many batteries and cables? Well, you can hook your staff and the folks who are attending up with batteries and charging cables and still have your battery needs covered as well. In fact, you might decide to buy a bunch of batteries and chargers and adapters and plugs and maybe even have a safe charging station where people can leave their poor depleted phones. If you play your cards right, half of the people in your banquet hall will be attending your event through the lens of the video display of their smart phone. No, not their camcorder, DSLR, or Canon snappy, but their smart phone, uploading their Vines, Instagrams, tweets, and Facebooks, blogs, Tumbls, and Plusses right then and there, an entire corps of paparazzi.

 

 

 

LEARN and READ MORE AT:

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CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus

Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus – See more at: http://socialmedia.biz/2014/05/12/enlist-the-power-of-the-crowd-for-your-next-live-event/#sthash.dhWbMrAG.dpuf
Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below. – See more at: http://socialmedia.biz/2014/05/12/enlist-the-power-of-the-crowd-for-your-next-live-event/#sthash.dhWbMrAG.dpuf
Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below. – See more at: http://socialmedia.biz/2014/05/12/enlist-the-power-of-the-crowd-for-your-next-live-event/#sthash.dhWbMrAG.dpuf

 

 

 

 

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There’s nothing better than seeing first-hand the profitable results of your article writing. And it’s a “dream strategy” for many other reasons, too. Increase web traffic – With article marketing, visitors can constantly come to your website. Achieve massive publicity. Build your list of targeted prospects that want to hear from you right now Boost your reputation, credibility, and name recognition. Gain link popularity & Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings. Create affiliate relationships and JV partnerships with highly influential web publishers.
However, one of the easiest, proven, most time-tested ways to attract new business and more traffic to your site is to become a sought after authority and gain expert status in your field.

 

 

Do You Want to Know How ???

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If you want to be heard above the din of the Internet, you need to speak clearly and with persistence. It’s not uncommon for someone at a loud bar not to hear you the first time, or even twice. If you assume someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better just because they don’t hear you the first or second time, then you’re doomed. The Internet is the busiest, loudest, most distracting place ever created. It’s global and impersonal and often anonymous. Plus, there’s no accountability.

persistence

At least in a bar, you can sit right next to the someone you want to meet and then just bide your time until there’s a lull in the noise or you can catch an eye. The Internet’s just not like that. Social media is loud and tends to be an insider’s club. We resonate with people we already know, be it in our in-boxes, our rivers of news, or our walls, we tend to tune out unknowns. And, in social media marketing, most of us are unknowns, most brands are unknown, and most services, too.

 

 

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In order to score the digits in content marketing, you need three things: confidence, conviction, and stay-with-it-ness. One of the reasons why people are so coy online when it comes to engaging folks online about brands, promotions, events, products, and services is because they feel like they’re in some way doing something that’s dodgy. That selling is an ignoble pursuit. That what you’re doing – engaging people online in order to have them read, share, write, review, and buy – is sleazy and that what you’re pushing is snake oil.

When singles talk about being attracted to confidence, what they’re saying is that they’re attracted to transparency and authenticity. Confidence conveys a deep belief that what you’re pitching has integrity, be it yourself, when it comes to the art of seduction, or your brand, when it comes to the art of content marketing. Like the dweeb approaching the supermodel, it’s not that nice guys finish last, it’s that folks who don’t really believe they belong doing what they’re doing, pitching what they’re pitching, saying what they’re saying, and being what they purport to be, finish last.

 

women-in-bar-rejecting-a-man-300x199

women-in-bar-rejecting-a-man What separates winning content marketing campaigns from the losers? Persistence. From my experience, too many new media marketing campaigns lack bravery, boldness, confidence, and persistence. They do the messaging equivalent of “ahem, excuse me, if you would be so kind, ahem, I don’t mean to bother you or anything, ahem” rather than “hello, my name is Chris Abraham, damned glad to meet you.”

 

LEARN and READ MORE AT:

CONNECT with the AUTHOR

HERE

Chris Abraham

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Blog: Chrisabraham.com
Twitter: @chrisabraham
LinkedIn: /in/chrisabraham
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LinkedIn: /in/chrisabraham
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Blog: Chrisabraham.com
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Blog: Chrisabraham.com
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Blog: Chrisabraham.com
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Blog: Chrisabraham.com
Twitter: @chrisabraham
LinkedIn: /in/chrisabraham
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Fresh Designs for Thesis & Genesis

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The one difference is instead of standing alone, they hook into another parent theme which provides the core functionality. Think of WordPress as the engine, Thesis or Genesis as the body and Themedy as the paint job. You get an incredible new design and keep all the power of an industry-leading framework.
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by

The last few months we’ve been conducting a series of test cases to once and for all prove out the overall effectiveness of public relations within the scope of an overall business communications success story. By the end of this series of reports, business owners and the communicators that help power their stories, will have several templates of PR success on a small scale, to apply to the larger scale projects some undertake. What our parent company, Pamil Visions PR has undertaken, any communications professionals can surely emulate. More importantly than this though, businesses for so long suspicious of marketing and PR strategies, will soon have a far better understanding of correct channel management.

What Is PR? Not Just Press Releases, Oh Please!

Once, PR was often at the head of marketing and advertising as the three dominant means of conveying message, and converting business. In the digital realm, marketing and ads naturally preceded a viable PR initiative. At least this is how Web 2.0 and ensuing digital business panned out. Now, agencies from the most powerful of all, Edelman and APCO, to an array of boutique PR firms and even so-called publicists finally play integral roles. My first two reports on this were featured on Social Media Today, as the next will be. I thought it appropriate though, that the first mention of a client of our firm should be here on Everything PR News. Part three of a series of reports to prove out for business how best to deploy the triad of marketing, PR, and advertising will show how story, and the right “mix”, even with some negative aspects, can still lead to very positive bookings ROI for hospitality players.

The long and short of today’s report focused on a Crete event, a hotel there, and an all too familiar “unwired” element that can crash any communications campaign. My previous articles referencing PR’s place in the promotion of all things digital dealt with generalities in the media outreach end of things, and to a degree social media might, etc. Part one focused on a hotel group in Scandinavia, and an individual effort to “heighten” that group’s visibility (Nordic Choice Hotels) unsupported by their PR and marketing team. While part two brought a major hospitality marketing firm into the picture (WIHP).

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Promotional Marketing by Suzanne Scholl

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Written By Ryan Whitwam

Science fiction authors and futurists have been musing on the possibility of mining asteroids for decades, but last year a company called Planetary Resources declared its intention to actually do it. That got people thinking about whether or not humanity has really reached the point where asteroid mining could become a reality. A group of astronomers at the University of Strathclyde in the UK have replied with an emphatic, “yes.” They have identified 12 near-Earth asteroids that could be easily retrieved and mined with current rocket technology.

It’s believed that asteroids could contain large deposits of industrial and precious metals. An unremarkable one-kilometer asteroid could contain upwards of two billion tons of iron-nickel ore, which is three times the global yield on Earth. Then there is the likely presence of gold, platinum, and other rare substances. Planetary Resources claims a 30-meter object of the right composition could contain $25 to $50 billion in platinum.

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These numbers spurred the University of Strathclyde team, led by Garcia Yarnoz, to pour over the astronomical data on near-Earth objects to see if any of them could actually be snared. To their surprise, they found 12 small asteroids that pass close enough to Earth that they could be corralled into the L1 or L2 Lagrangian points for mining operations. The researchers dubbed these asteroids Easily Retrievable Objects (EROs).

Lagrangian points are regions of space where the gravity of the Earth and another celestial body balance out. If you place something in a Lagrangian point, it stays put. That’s exactly what you want if you’re going to start drilling into an asteroid. The L1 and L2 Lagrangian points are where the gravity of Earth and the sun are at a draw. They are about 1 million miles from Earth, or about four times the distance to the moon.

Lagrangian

The 12 candidate asteroids are in orbits that take them near the L1 or L2 Lagrangian points, so they would need only a small push to get them to the right spot. Yarnoz and his team estimate that changing the velocity of these objects by less than 500 meters per second would be sufficient — some would take substantially less effort. One ERO called 2006 RH120 could be captured by changing its velocity by only 58 meters per second. This could be completed as early as 2026.

One of the important criteria in filtering the database of 9,000 near-Earth objects down to the 12 mineable asteroids was size — we simply don’t have the technology to safely nudge a large asteroid into a Lagrangian point. There will be no mega-sized mining platforms spanning a one-kilometer asteroid in the near future. Most of the EROs identified by the study are in the two to 20 meter range, but that’s still large enough to contain substantial resources.

These 12 objects are probably a small fraction of EROs floating around near Earth. We know where many more of the big space rocks are because they’re much easier to see, but there might be a wealth of resource-rich small asteroids near the Lagrangian points ripe for the picking.

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Managing Social Media Chatter, Complaints, Conflicts and Crises image tips to avoid social media crisisWhat do Dominos, DKNY, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, the  Red Cross, KitchenAid, Applebee’s and Paula Dean all have in common?

They’ve all had painful social media mishaps. Some of these brands  were able to minimize the negative impact by handling their situations quickly  and wisely; others will go down in history as “socially awkward.”

With social media, you don’t have to be a big brand to have a big blow-up. A  little forethought and adherence to four basic guidelines will prepare you to  handle the occasional faux pas that may come your way.

Create A Social Media Plan

A social media plan outlines a your promotion and engagement  protocol, the platforms you’ll be using and even your daily routines. It should  also include instructions for dealing with potentially damaging situations. As  you’re developing that part of the plan, it’s wise to anticipate a wide array of  possible issues, no matter how off the wall they might seem, and determine how  you’ll handle each:

  • Identify the types of communications and the response each requires. A  customer complaint about your price should be handled much differently than a  rumor about product contamination – something that could turn into a full-blown  brand reputation crisis
  • Assign people within your organization to handle the situation based on the  type of communication. It’s easier to maintain a consistent and effective  approach if you categorize situations based on their potential “hazard” and have  the same people respond to the same types of situations
  • Develop an internal communications plan that puts everyone on the same page  regarding the company’s position and messaging around things like product  performance complaints, missed shipments, quality, etc. You don’t want one  representative flying solo and promising something the company can’t (or won’t)  deliver on
  • As part of your regular engagement strategy, encourage venting, sharing and  conflict discussion by your followers. Many companies are afraid of the  occasional negative comment, but giving your followers a way to share their  concerns gives you the opportunity to resolve issues and even have your  advocates help you out. It also presents you as confident, collaborative and  focused on giving customers what they’re looking for

Monitor

Many times, customer service issues are tweeted or posted  with the expectation that someone is watching on the other end ready to respond.  Because your community is undoubtedly talking, you have to be listening so you  can get ahead of the situation before it snowballs. Make sure you have an  effective process in place that:

  • Allows easy monitoring of all platforms on a single dashboard
  • Sends alerts triggered by keywords or hashtags signaling potential issues  for your company
  • Identifies spikes in engagement – this can be an early warning sign that  chatter’s picking up

Respond

How you respond to a situation can arguably be more  important than the challenge itself. A well-prepared, well-crafted response can  actually result in kudos for you and increase your followers – as in the case of  Burger King and DKNY. A panicked response can create bad press that’ll live on  long after memory of the crisis dies. So what should you do?

  • Acknowledge and clarify the specifics of the situation immediately
  • Respond authentically, not automatically
  • Be honest and transparent; admit if there was a mishap and what will be done  to rectify the situation
  • Encourage interaction with you, not community at large
  • Respond first on the platform where the communication started/took place. If  the flare-up happened on Facebook, respond there first – it won’t help to jump  platforms if the conversation and chaos are happening within another audience.  After that initial response, go ahead and expand to other outlets if you believe  the situation will “spread,” develop a dedicated microsite to house your  official responses and messages if the situation warrants, and direct anyone  interested to that site
  • Encourage company employees to use their own social media accounts to  share  information about an incident; make sure their messages are calm and  straightforward, not incendiary, and accurately reflect your company’s  position
  • Don’t delete community comments. Address them fairly and follow up off-line  with any individual trouble spots
  • Know when to take it offline – reach out personally. Sometimes people just  like to pick fights and nothing you say will dilute their ire. In many cases, a  phone call and sincere effort to rectify the situation keeps the situation from  becoming out-of-control

Review

Take a breath. The sun will still rise tomorrow and hopefully you’ve handled  the situation as well as possible. But now what? It’s important to do a  post-mortem to understand what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be changed  for future events. A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • What happened, why and was it preventable?
  • What was the resolution and what measures are now in place to keep this from  happening again?
  • What was the extent of the spread?
  • Did internal communication flow effectively?
  • Did the plan work as anticipated? If not, why not?
  • What long-term ramifications will need to be dealt with?

You can’t entirely avoid social media conflict and the potential it has to  cause problems for your brand. But by having a plan, being alert to what’s being  said, and tackling each issue quickly and appropriately, you’ll find that social  media engagement is a manageable process that will provide many more positives  than negatives.

Managing Social Media Chatter, Complaints, Conflicts and Crises image b94d13c5 ce6f 4499 b81e da8b468762e4

Image Credit

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Profile: Tami Wessley

Tami Wessley is VP of Client Services for Weidert Group, a full-service marketing agency based in Appleton, Wisconsin. Tami has spent nearly 20 years in both corporate marketing and agency environments focusing on strategic marketing and planning. As part of the Weidert team, Tami loves sharing the benefits of integrated traditional and inbound marketing strategies with clients. The best places to interact with Tami are Twitter and LinkedIn.

Follow Tami Wessley: Tami Wessley on the Web

Jenga blocks

Adblock Plus is a very popular browser extension for both Chrome and Firefox, which automatically blocks web advertising on all websites.

However, Austrian news site Horizont reported that Google, amongst other companies, are paying Adblock Plus (and their parent company Eyeo) in order to ensure that their ads are displayed to those who are using the extension, by being included on their “whitelist” of allowable online advertising.

Adblock Plus, on their website, states that they do charge some companies for the white listing, in order to support the service.

Do companies pay you for being added to the list?

Whitelisting is free for all small websites and blogs. However, managing this list requires significant effort on our side and this task cannot be completely taken over by volunteers as it happens with common filter lists. That’s why we are being paid by some larger properties that serve nonintrusive advertisements that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative.

It isn’t really surprising that Google is paying to the whitelisted. For starters, it is a loss of revenue for Google.

Beyond that, advertisers want to be able to reach the users to utilize extensions such as Adblock Plus, so there is the motivation by Google to ensure that their advertisers are happy and can get their ads displayed in front of the users they want to on the sites they want to.

However, it does start a slippery slope of what kind of fees they will accept for ads to appear even with Adblock Plus in use. For example, if the price is right, would they accept any advertiser who wanted their spammy advertising to appear?

There’s been no word from Adblock Plus or Google so far on the fact Google seems to be paying to be whitelisted.

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Jennifer Slegg

Jennifer Slegg

Search Engine Marketing Consultant

JenniferSlegg.com

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization.  She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, JenniferSlegg.com and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.

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Giant sequoia at Mariposa Grove, Yosemite (photo by JD Lasica)

Giant sequoia at Mariposa Grove, Yosemite (photo by JD Lasica)

Tips on optimizing your online presence by building links & making your content more valuable

Guest post by Rand Fishkin CEO, SEOmoz

I‘ve gotten to spend some time recently with folks who run small,  personal blogs. Many of them have asked me whether SEO, in particular link building,  is an activity they can take on to help grow their online presence.

I  sympathize with the challenges – from reading many of the guides and posts about link building, you could be forgiven for  feeling “in over your head” or that “only real businesses can do this  kind of stuff.”

This post is intended to provide answers  specifically targeted to organizations and individuals running their own blog, personally  or semi-professionally, on how to engage in activities that will draw in  links from other sites and grow your potential to rank in the search  engines.

Generic directories aren’t your best bet

1Thinking of spending a few dozen or a couple hundred dollars on a  generic directory listing like Yahoo! or Best of the Web? For personal  bloggers, my advice would be to save your money. These directory listings may provide some small amount of value, but there are dozens of  different activities you could engage in that cost less or have higher return on investment. Generics are also extremely unlikely to send you direct traffic, and what’s more, Yahoo! only lists 46  personal blogs now; it might be hard to make the cut.

yahoo-directory-submission

Not  worth the $299 for personal bloggers

Even directories like the  long-neglected Open Directory Project have  such long wait times, tough criteria and poor acceptance rates that  it’s barely worth submitting these days. There may be a few exceptions  here and there, but on the whole, I’d urge personal bloggers to shy away  from large, subject-agnostic directory sites.

Note: These generics may make sense for  larger operations and sites, depending on your goals.

Niche blog listing sites can be much more effective

2Don’t give up on directories or listing sites entirely. For personal blogs,  particularly those with a targeted niche, there are a lot of good places  to create listings or fill out a submission form. For example, here are some blogs in specific niches I’d encourage you to check out. You can find these types of  sites quite easily through searches, but looking at the link profiles of  other blogs in your niche that perform well in the search rankings can  also provide a lot of value.

You  can use search queries like “niche+blogs,” “niche+bloggers,”  “niche+blogs+list” at Google or Bing or try Yahoo! Site Explorer or Open Site Explorer –  plug in the blogs you’re most jealous of (or most similar to) and you’ll  often find a few dozen to a few hundred opportunities.

A few well-targeted searches can reveal hundreds of link opportunities

3Finding quality, targeted directories and lists can be a good start,  and may bring traffic as well as better search rankings, but if you get creative with your searches, you’ll often find even more specific and  sometimes valuable opportunities. Think of these queries on three levels: overall blog topic (similar to the suggestion above), category theme  (of or related to one of your primary, consistent topic areas) and  post-specific (related to an individual piece you’ve authored or are  considering writing).

For category  themes, you’ll want to identify a particularly strong category-focus on  your site. For example, my wife has a collection of posts about air  travel, and could find opportunities for links specifically to this  section or posts in them using queries like air  travel blogs suggest or air travel  resources. Don’t give up if you don’t find opportunities on the  first page of results. Dig deep. It’s often where you’ll find the best  opportunities.

You can also use this  tactic on individual posts – particularly those that tackle important,  controversial or high-demand topics – the kind that fit nicely into  resource collection lists.

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This  Labs tool can help make running the right queries easy.

Once you have a few posts or categories in  mind, leverage link  searches from this SEOmoz list, this  one from SEJournal or this  one from SELand. You can also use the Link Acquisition  Assistant from Labs and this free tool from  SoloSEO to help.

Answer questions in online forums / Q+A sites

4When you participate positively in  online forums, it often sends referrals to your site from those who  check out your profile. Many of these are nofollow (meaning they don’t  pass link value in the search engines’ eyes – more on this here),  but the traffic you receive from those who ask the questions or who  find value in your response can be useful – and earn you links.

As an example, for the past six months, I’ve been answering a question or two each week on Quora, a relatively new but well-regarded Q+A site focused on technology and startups. My answers page shows that I’ve left 77 total answers since April (~11/month) and  you can see the impact that has had on traffic back to SEOmoz:

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SEOmoz’s  traffic from Quora (past 30 days)

While not stellar, it has been building as the site grows and the answers get indexed by search engines and seen by more people. For personal  bloggers, spending a few hours each month contributing to 5-10 relevant  Q+A sites or forums can have a substantive impact on your traffic and on  links that you generate inside your community. It’s a great way to interact with those who, otherwise, might never stumble across your  site.

Some of the broad Q+A sites I  recommend looking at include:

  • LinkedIn Answers (particularly if you have a professional focus)
  • Yahoo! Answers (depends on your  topic – some areas are very low quality)
  • Wiki Answers (gets good search  traffic, but a less active intra-community population)
  • Facebook Questions (very new, but big possibilities for the future)
  • Askville (from Amazon, generic,  but large and well trafficked)
  • Quora (the above mentioned startup – currently has a tech/valley bent, but is growing and expanding fast)

Of course, you’ll also want to identify niche and subject-specific sites  where contributions can be made. A good example starting point would be  something like StackExchange’s  list of Q+A sites on their platform or using a list of communities  (e.g. ODP’s Math  Chats & Forums).

Submit your best work to relevant social portals

5If you have posts that you feel are especially brilliant, interesting and potentially “viral” (meaning  lots of web visitors will want to share them with others once they’ve  seen it), there are a number of portals that can help drive traffic and  attention through social “voting” or editorial review. A relatively  good list is here, but I’ll  also tackle some specific examples:

  • Kirtsy – a niche social site focused  on fashion, arts, style and family.
  • Care2 News – one of the most  popular niche social voting sites on nonprofit, environmental and  societal stories
  • Hacker  News – a very popular community around startups, technology and  entrepreneurship
  • Subreddits – Reddit has grown to become one of the most trafficked social sites on  the web, and they have categories (aka “subreddits”) for many topics

Just be aware that submissions should be  carefully considered. If you spam these types of sites with everything  you write or even a few inconsistent or irrelevant pieces, you can be  banned, downvoted or simply shunned by the other contributors/voters. The best way to know what to submit vs. not is to read the site’s top  pieces regularly and get a feel for what’s appropriate.

Use Twitter (and possibly Facebook + StumbleUpon) on every post

6While you should be cautious about submitting every piece you write  to social voting sites, there are fewer reasons to hold yourself back  from promoting everything your post on Twitter, Facebook and  StumbleUpon. In fact, may of your fans, friends and followers on  Twitter and Facebook may be surprised and disappointed if they don’t see a  stream of your latest content through those channels. While subscribing  via RSS or email are still quite popular, many folks use Twitter or FB as a  way to keep up with your content.

I do  strongly recommend that if you’re sharing via Twitter (in particular)  that you use a url shortener like bit.ly that captures and displays click-through data so you can measure an  improve (see my blog post on Twitter click-through rate for a more in-depth analysis of that issue).

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StumbleUpon is bit different in  that you earn traffic from it based on the ratio of visits to “thumbs  up” received by those seeing your work. However, unlike a Reddit, Hacker  News or Digg, there’s no stigma or restriction on thumbing up /  submitting every post you create. Providing a good, relevant description  and careful categorization is a must, and there may be cases where the  type of site you’re running just doesn’t have the relevance to SU’s  audience. But, in many cases, regular post submission, at least on the  top 50 percent of your work, can make good sense and drive very nice traffic. SU gets smart about your site, their users and the  tagging/categorization system, sending only those visitors who have some  interest in your topic to the pages you submit.

Guest post strategically

7One of the most common pieces  of advice I see on growing one’s blog audience and links is to “guest  post” (a practice where one blogger creates content for another site and  earns readers, recognition and a referring link). This is, undoubtedly,  an excellent way to reach a new audience and create value for both  parties. However, like many common tactics in link building (blogrolls,  generic directories, reciprocal links), it can easily be abused.

The past few years have seen a bevy of low-quality guest posting submissions and it’s reached an extent where many  bloggers and sites that engage with them will publicly message that they  don’t accept guest posts. A must-read piece on this topic comes from Kelly Diels on ProBlogger – Guest  Posts: How-to, Where-to, Where-Not-To.

The only other critical piece of advice I have for thinking about  and choosing guest post options is to be strategic in your decisions  about your use of time and content. If you have an amazing piece of  content that could perform well, earn lots of traffic and links, it  could be a great move to use it on your own site OR guest post it on  someone else’s. To choose correctly, you need to weigh the potential  positives and negatives:

  • Is the content evergreen (meaning it will remain useful and valuable for a long time)? If so, you may want to favor keeping it on your site, as it can  continue to build value and earn links long after publication. If the  content is highly temporal, it could work well as a guest post, earning  you immediate attention, but not costing you as much in the long run.
  • Do  you have the content/value to take advantage of an inbound traffic rush? If you guest post on a powerful site this week and 5-10% of those  visitors check out your site, will they be inspired to stay, subscribe  and read more? If you’ve neglected your own blog and don’t have content  as powerful, compelling and interesting there as the guest post you’ve  just authored, you could be losing a considerable amount of the  potential value.
  • Have you guest posted on this site  before or have they linked to you frequently? When that’s the  case, the value of the link from both a new-audience-exposure and  SEO perspective may be diminished. Preaching to the choir has its use,  but it should probably be done on your own site. You want to branch out,  find new sites and audiences to connect with and not get stuck in the  same small community. The exception to this rule is when an extremely  large, influential site wants you to write for them regularly or  semi-regularly. If the New York Times travel blog is ready to host a fourth  article from you, don’t say no.

Finally, if you’re  considering guest posting or hosting guest posts, I can heartily  recommend My Blog Guest, a great  community resource/tool for making contacts on both sides.

Maintain a smart, detailed blogroll

8A long time ago,  blogrolls were similar to “following” an account on Twitter – if someone  interesting linked to you on their blogroll, you’d likely peruse their  site and link to them. Today, it’s rare for this reciprocation to take  place unless you’ve made your site stand out in some way. Blogrolls, in  the traditional sense (long lists of sites on a sidebar), are also less  useful from a user’s perspective, particuarly when no description or  segmentation is provided.

I’d suggest  for those leveraging blogrolls on their own sites and requesting  inclusion in others, a more robust, advanced and useful way. For  example:

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An  example of a segmented blogroll with descriptions

By separating your blogroll into  sections/categories and providing descriptions of the sites you include, you can provide more value to those skimming for interesting links and  more context for those you mention. The second part of a good blogroll  is to be strategic in focus. Listing only the biggest and most-read  industry sources/bloggers likely won’t bring you as much potential  reciprocation as finding great niche bloggers with less traffic. These  sites may indeed see a few referrals or a link from you and check out  your site, creating the beginnings of a relationship or even a possible  link.

Don’t ignore traditional media

9As  bloggers, we often think of ourselves as separate from the mainstream  media world and worry that resentment may be harbored. But, in my  experience, traditional media often wants and needs blogs as sources for  inspiration, for quotes on stories and to help understand a new niche  or topic they’re writing about. There’s a number of good ways to engage  with the press to help your personal blog gain exposure:

  • Story sources: Services like HARO and ProfNet exist to help connect reporters to “experts” or amateurs  relevant to the stories they’re writing (good piece on a blogger’s HARO experience). However, connections aren’t limited to these portals alone –  by following reporters/journalists on Twitter and connecting/commenting  on their own personal/news blogs, you can often build a relationship  that will later result in a citation/link.
  • Comment on  mainstream media stories: Many bloggers are well aware of the  benefits of engaging with their fellow blogs and bloggers by leaving  comments, but fail to do so on traditional publications. It can be daunting to see hundreds or thousands of comments on a NY Times piece,  but it also means there’s tens of thousands of visitors perusing those  comments, and leaving intelligent, robust, useful replies and references  can be a substantive brand-builder and traffic driver.
  • Reference their content in your posts: Even mainstream media folks will  look at their traffic referrers and those writing about their work, and  if you add great value to the conversation, you could be a central part  of it next time. Just writing about topics that are getting mainstream  media attention in unique, interesting ways can bring links. For  example, in October, I wrote about a study  on traffic to advertising value that had received lots of press. My  critique was then picked  up by several other sources, including the Neiman  Journalism Lab at Harvard.

The  mainstream press may have financial troubles, but they still generate  an extraordinary share of time spent online. Don’t ignore them as an  opportunity to grow your site’s reach.

Don’t buy links or link “advertising”

Ads for Buying Links

Just  because the ads are on Google doesn’t mean it’s not risky.

10You’ll undoubtedly see banners, links and advertising like those above. I’d strongly advise you against using these  paid sources to boost your blog’s links. They tend to send very low and  low-quality traffic and are high risk from a search engine ranking  perspective. While Google  has, recently, been soft on link buying and manipulation, that’s  supposedly about to change, as the web spam team gets more resources (via  GG’s Head of Webspam at Pubcon). Risk isn’t the only reason –  there’s also opportunity cost. When you spend money buying or renting  links, you lose out on the potential of those resources to be spent on  other ways of earning links the engines will want to count. This post on  8  Ways to Buy Links Without “Buying Links” is a good start.

Attend local meetups & free events

11One of the most  obvious and enjoyable ways to earn links and branding for your blog is  to find local events and meetups for those in blogging, technology or  your particular niche, and attend. It can be overwhelming to go to an  event by yourself without knowing anyone first, so leverage Twitter and  your blog’s network to find folks who comment, read, run blogs or tweet  about your site and build those relationships online before you take  them into the real world.

Events on  Eventbrite

Several upcoming Seattle events via  Eventbrite

A few great resources for finding local events include Eventbrite, Meetup.com, LinkedIn Events and Facebook (but beware, FB  only shows events you’re connected to through existing  friends/groups). Mashable also has a great list of Ways to Find  Local Twitter Users in Your Town.

Comment, engage & build relationships

12When you’re finding new blogs to connect with and comment on, your first instinct  will be to focus on dropping relevant links back to your blog posts,  getting your name/link prominent in the comments and driving traffic  back to your site. These are all fine things – and they should encourage  you to leave valuable, useful comments, which other bloggers appreciate  (if you do anything but, your comments are likely to be erased or  marked as spam). But, you should also consider the value of commenting  regularly and productively simply to build a relationship with the few  key bloggers/sites that matter most to you.

These aren’t  necessarily the sites with the most traffic or highest metrics but  those whom you’d like to build and have a professional, friendly  relationship. That means looking beyond the content to the tone, voice  and emotional resonance between yourself and the blog author. If you  feel a connection, try formalizing the relationship after a few weeks of  chatting online (through comments, Twitter, etc). If you’re good at  emotional intelligence, chances are it could become a real friendship  and/or productive, professional relationship.

In many ways,  these are better than just earning links, because you’ll have enhanced  your online reach through another human (or many) who can then provide  recommendations, connections and advice. Just be sure you’re willing to  put into the relationship in equal proportion (or greater at the start).

Use plug-ins & site features that will enhance your reach

13WordPress, along with several other  popular blog content management systems, offer a great variety of  plug-ins and tools to help market your site, but none of them are  automatic. To have an impact, you’ll need to use these features wisely and not overburden your users with too many options/actions to take.

WP Tweet Button Options

WP Tweet Button: a plug-in with lots of customization for  Twitter buttons in WordPress

Tools that help make sharing  content easier, promoting your blog’s reach (and providing social proof –  a key element in making others interested in your work), and help you  manage, monitor and improve your site are smart choices to consider. A  few of my quick favorites include:

  • WP Tweet  Button – as shown above, it allows you to customize a link to Tweet  posts/pages for placement on your site.
  • Google  Analyticator – an excellent plug-in that integrates your Google  Analytics traffic data right into your WordPress admin home, making sure  you’re consistently aware of and thinking about traffic and metrics.
  • Feedburner  Widget – Feedburner itself is a great way to get analytics about  your feed; this widget makes it easy to share that link and attract  sign-ups (and you can customize the look/feel/messaging). It also enables  easy subscription via email; a popular option for many who don’t use  RSS.
  • Increase  Sociability – Allows you to customize a welcome message for  visitors from specific social sites; it’s particularly effective with  StumbleUpon traffic.

However, I’d be remiss to make so short  a list without referring you to some of the excellent, longer lists out  there, including SEO Plug-ins from  Michael Gray (which goes way beyond just SEO plug-ins), 21  of the Best WordPress Plug-ins from Marketing Pilgrim, JD Lasica’s 10 essential WordPress Plug-ins and Yoast’s WordPress Plug-ins. You  almost certainly don’t want all of these, but picking a choice few and  testing them out could bring better returns from every post you write.

Include strategic links in your online bio

14A person’s online “bio” follows them around the web like a bad  habit. Make yours useful, easy to embed and valuable to your site by  strategically embedding links and references. You want to come across as  authoritative, interesting, possibly humorous or at least approachable. Here’s mine:

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I’ve not only chosen links on SEOmoz itself, but also to other mentions of me online. These help those pages rank well and help pass link juice to those pages which, in turn, have good links  back to my site. It’s a virtuous circle, and whenever I’m interviewed,  speaking at an event or merely a contributor to an online article, the  bio appears. Likewise, when anyone investigates my profile, they find  those links and (hopefully) some of them follow them and possibly  reference, too.

Hopefully, if you have some  less-SEO-savvy/techy friends running their own blogs, this post can be a  valuable resource. Please do contribute your own ideas and suggestions  for personal blog link building; we’d love to see them (and please link to posts/examples in your comments).

SOURCE:

Rand Fishkin is the CEO & co-founder of SEO­moz. This post orig­i­nally appeared at SEO­moz and is repub­lished with per­mis­sion. SEO­moz is not affil­i­ated with Socialmedia

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Newsroom

Your personal newsroom calls for authentic, purposeful engagement

Chris AbrahamIf you read your local newspaper or a typical magazine, you’ll realize that most journalism is specialized. You have your columns, reporting, reviews, editorials, letters to the editor, and ombudsman. However, most companies don’t have the volume or diversity of news required to need such staffing.

That said, enough does go on each and every day in your office, among your staff, in your business, in your industry, with you and your very own personal brand that you need to cover the entire newsroom on your own, including the advertising and publicity (because like the news, everything comes down to driving revenue, and if you can’t prove that all the time, energy, and resources you’re spending online aren’t feeding sales, your one-man-social-media-band is not long for this world.)

Let me break it down.

I would start by saying tone down the shameless self-promotion that you’re incessantly dropping into your streams and onto your walls, but I have a feeling you’re not being aggressive enough. Why? Because I don’t think that most social media experts, consultants, and gurus recommend being aggressive enough. Continue reading

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I have been thinking about the posts of the most successful bloggers and social media sharers and I believe one of the things they all have in common is that they reveal of themselves just a little more openly and intimately than anyone else with a marketing agenda and a lot to lose. There’s a fine line between taking your friends, followers, fans, and audience on a beautiful and compelling narrative ride and over-sharing, but even over-sharing verging on TMI has been better for the most successful social media artists and content marketers.

It makes me think of the poem by William W. Purkey:

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.

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The most successful social media artists don’t hide their black eyes, they sing them.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re all very aware that they’re being scrutinized and that they must protect the privacy of their children, friends, family, businesses, employers, and brands, but they also know that business is personal, work is personal, selling is personal, sales are personal, and that the most successful business people lead with relationships, friendships, and trust well before anyone ever gets to CVs, resumes, case studies, or client lists.

Let me just pull actress Jennifer Lawrence out of a hat as an example. She’s too beautiful, too perfect, on her own, on the red carpet. She’s unapproachable so gorgeous that envy could quickly turn to resentment.

Falling on her way up the stairs to receive her first Oscar at the Academy Awards was the best thing to ever happen to her, whether or not it was staged by a very savvy publicist.

Her subsequent behavior during interviews, on Saturday Night Live, and in Silver Linings Playbook — the funny, goofy, flawed, self-effacing, girlish, gamine — is who people love in spite of her Helen-of-Troy-class unspeakable beauty.

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Mind you, this may or may not be completely intentional, orchestrated, scripted. Whether or not, it is a strategy that requires that you become way less self-conscious, spending a lot less time in front of the mirror, and a lot more willing to show good humor and grace when you find yourself on all-fours with your bum in the air on your way up to receive an honor in front of a billion people.

And that’s what it’s about. Social media is a de facto stress test. It’s an opportunity to get a feeling for who you and your brand really are.

Which is why, even though you may feel very exposed while under the spotlights of social media; therefore, you’ve gotta blog, tweet, Facebook, Tumbl, and Plus like there’s nobody watching while still understanding that you still shouldn’t share or do anything online that you wouldn’t do during a dinner party with your Vicar, Priest, Rabbi, Mum, Dad, Boss, Clients, Wife, and Kids in attendance.

That said, does dancing like there’s nobody watching mean naked and in a sexual manner or does it mean, “as though nobody were watching,” which means, rather, to go ahead and perform to your full ability, out loud, and with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.

And that’s what people want. They want you. They want to get to know you and your staff. They want to see your happy hours and when dogs come into the office.

I am really proud of being part of Unison Agency as they’re doing such an amazing job of sharing of themselves, the fun they’re having, their creativity, and their creative process.

When I think about all of this, I think of my favorite book by Milan Kundera, Immortality. The book is about great men who are obsessed with their immortality and they absurd paradox that is the result of single-mindedly pursuing one’s own greatness and place in history.

That telling people how you want to be known, respected, feared, and loved — even commanding them at the point of a sword — is folly; history will make it’s own decisions about you and the best way to be known, respected, loved, feared, and trusted is to be knowable, respectable, lovable, fearsome, and trustworthy.

And for all that to happen, you’ve gotta share of yourself like there’s nobody watching!

SOURCE:

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I am in the midst of setting up my New Year’s resolutions for 2013. I know not everyone does the resolution thing, but almost half of all Americans do. If you’re one of them and you can’t come up with some digital markeing resolutions for 2013, I have some suggested resolutions for you. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Start a Blog — I know what you’re thinking: blogging’s dead. However, if you’ll notice, most of what folks are sharing online via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+ are articles via links. The only real way of creating and providing content that can easily be shared everywhere is via a blog or some other kind of bloggish platform. With a blog-based platform, be it your personal or professional site, sharing your content from a web application you own and control is a no-brainer. A blog offers built-in RSS and the ability to easily hook right in to Google Webmaster tools via a dynamically-created sitemap. You can add plugins that automagically optimize your site for search as well reduce the friction associated with sharing by dropping share buttons into your content from Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and even Google’s +1. And as each of your favorite “forever for now” social networking service fades and dies, you won’t lose any of your best content but will be able to maintain your own database of everything you have ever written.

Listen More Online — in our mad rush to create content every day, every day, and with all of our impending blog post due-dates rushing in, it’s hard to spend some time reading the tweets of your followers, the posts of your Facebook friends, the blogs of people in your space, and their latest videos and memes or YouTube, Slideshare, Pinterest, and Flickr. But you need to spend some of that time. I was overwhelmed until I adopted Flipboard (see below). It’s worth it, and I will tell you why below.

Become Way More Visual — The biggest changes over the last year, 2012, were in how people consume new content and new posts online. More and more platforms search for an illustrative photo or graphic. Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon have always done this; however, now it’s even in the way we view our content on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and especially Flipboard (see below). So, you need to make sure every post, every article, and every column you publish always has a “cover shot” because in the content war, the spoils too often go to the book with the prettiest cover.

Start a Meme — while you cannot honestly make a viral video — we all know that — you can start thinking in memes. Not every meme will become a Meme to say nothing of reaching MEME status; however, there are several things you can do to pre-package a bit of visual, informational, or video in such a way that you’ll maximize its change of going viral and becoming a proper meme: 1) keep it short 2) choose one thing, one message 3) use both image and text 4) make sure each meme is 100% self-referential and self-contained: to misquote Jacques Derrida, “il n’y a pas de hors-MEME” — there’s nothing beyond the meme. By their very nature, memes want to mutate and as in poetry, you cannot control how your reader interprets your poem — so you had better make it as explicit and clear as possible. Make sure it includes source(s), creator(s), and its home URL. Make sure you don’t put all that stuff in a description because memes always leave the original platform behind. If you don’t make completely certain you have done everything you possibly can to not leave anything to chance then your meme will surely mutate most grotesquely a la The Island of Doctor Moreau. Even if your meme is completely self-referential, the more successful your meme is, the more it will want to mutate — however, if the Internet has decided your meme is popular enough to copy, corrupt, or mock, then you’ve batted-a-thousand.

Explore Flipboard — If you think the idea of reading all the banal and self-indulgent chaff your sundry followers, friends, and fans churn into the world, day and night, then you need to try out Flipboard. Flipboard is the best-in-breed social newsreader. It allows you to plug in your credentials for all of your social platforms, including Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Google Reader, and then it allows you to browse through other content based on category and subject — and, when you’re sorted out, it lets you browse, read, and share! all of that content seamlessly using a very beautiful, visual, and easy-to-navigate interface from your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet. I have basically replaced all the content sources on my phone with Flipboard as al the best of them are being fed through the News portion of Flipboard already — if they know what’s good for them.

Engage a Blog — I was going to write Read a Blog but reading is only one part — commenting, counter-blogging, reblogging, and befriending the bloggers is maybe even more important than keeping tabs and reading. Bloggers and most journalists are no longer untouchable; rather, we’re very accessible and quite amazingly stoked by any and all attention that we receive based on our writing and insights. The best way to become a colleague, acquaintance, and then friend of the people who are writing, blogging, and influencing in your space is to engage with them — with us — online in the comments, via email, or on the social networks we haunt. Internalize it — every single one of the folks listed in the AdAge Power 150 are completely accessible to you right now — go git ‘em!

Listen to a Podcast — the best thing about Flipboard is that you can listen to podcasts and watch videos through it too, though I don’t. I am not that good at listening to “real” podcasts but I surely do get all my content from the CBC and NPR via podcast. However, though I am being quite a hypocrite here, but I do know that there are loads of podcasters out there who act as industry aggregators, reporters, and curators. The best example is For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Listening to relevant podcasts is a good way of passively keeping in-the-loop, especially if you’re not ravenously curious as to what’s going on every day online in your space. Listening to podcasts is similar to reading blogs: consider them your very own industry journals. The most modern of interpretations of the professional journal.

Finally Figure out Pinterest — it’s not rocket science and I am certain that I don’t use it well enough. I often forget even to share stuff to Pinterest. All I know is that whenever I share something from any one of my blogs via a nice image to my Pinterest, along with a cross-post to Twitter, a compelling image, and a link back to the blogs (happens by default) I get the most traffic back to my post out of any of my platforms. I don’t know why that is but there’s something amazing going on there. Again, I am a hypocrite here as well. I don’t spend much time at all on there except to always share everything I can there. Please make sure that your sites and blogs always include a Pinterest share button in addition to your typical +1s, Like, and Retweets. And I think I will take my own advice and spend more time both listening to industry-focused podcasts, blogs, and surely get to know Pinterest a lot better.

Give FourSquare Another Try — It seems like folks are trying to call time of death on FourSquare but I believe they’re premature. Unlike Blackberry’s RIM, the reports of FourSquare’s death is greatly exaggerated. Although it has taken a while, I am seeing more incentives for checking in to FourSquare outside of just bragvertising your amazing life. My local Mexican restaurant offers 50% off my food bill every time I check in — every time (excepting happy hour and adult beverages). Over the last three years, since its inception, restaurants and stores have not rewarded everyone who checks in well enough to be enough of an incentive to encourage doing it every time; and, the badges have gotten stale and are harder to get. Restaurants and stores haven’t really even offered their Mayors very nice rewards — it was pretty pathetic. The only reason I still check in to FourSquare is because FS does a darn good job of linking up with other applications such as GetGlue and Instagram — so I tend to only use FourSquare via GetGlue and Instagram these days — until I realized that I am missing out, especially when it comes to checking in to restaurants and other venues where there may very well be worthwhile perks — such as the 50% discount I get at Taqueria el Poblano on Columbia Pike.

Check-in to Movies and TV — I must admit that I watch too much TV and love movies. And I must further admit that there’s a lot going on in the world of the second screen where the first screen is the TV and the second screen is the PC, tablet, or smart phone. I have been using GetGlue for movies and Yahoo’s IntoNow for TV whenever I am watching. IntoNow’s pretty interesting because it allows you to do two interesting things: 1) is allows you to let your device to listen to and identify a show and the episode — sort of like Shazam does with music and 2) it allows you to create visual memes through application-aided and time-stamped screen captures directly from television that you’re encouraged to share on your social media stream. It’s all very interesting and very compelling and also a very good way to create content to your social media stream even when you’re kicking back and relaxing. Give it a whirl, it’s surely worth a couple evenings of prime time.

Figure Out Why Instagram is So Hot — There are three reasons I use Instagram, in order of importance: 1) Instagram is a gorgeous photographic community all on its own, even better than Flickr ever was 2) Instagram shares directly and seamlessly with other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and 3) Instagram has the second best filters beneath Hipstamatic’s — and while Hipstamatic may well have better filters, the resulting images are small and it doesn’t have Instagram’s gorgeous community — and there’s the rub: technology is one thing but community is another and in 2013, technology is not nearly enough.

I surely hope that’s a good list for you to start with — like I said, take what you like and leave the rest. This is all just off the top of my head. Please let me know what you think and what I missed. And, please do engage me as I am very keen to help you in any way I can to embrace social media in 2013! Good luck and Godspeed!

Oh, and In case you’re curious, my personal resolutions include 1) spend time on my Concept II rowing ergometer every day and log every row 2) focus on my nutrition by improving the quality and reducing the quantity and log it all on LoseIt 3) use my Mizuno running shoes for what they were made for, running, and log it all on RunKeeper. Yes, my new years resolutions are all health and fitness-based. While banal, I need to drop another 50-pounds and it all has to do with cardio and nutrition as I have been awesome when it comes to strength-training. Wish me luck! Happy New Year!

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Most of you know that I do career coaching, mostly for technical and marketing executives. I had an interesting conversation recently during one such coaching session, when my client expressed a deep need to publicize her expertise but lamented her inability to maintain her blog. She gave me an entirely believable and reasonable reason for her lack of recent posts: “I am too busy with my clients to post.”But while believable and reasonable, my client wasn’t thinking clearly about her choices. First off, nobody actually has any more time than anyone else. We each get 24 hours in the day and we all get to choose how to use them. So, if a blog post is really more important in the long run than spending an extra hour on client work, you should be able to make that happen.

But, as a consultant myself, I totally understand the calculation that billable time is almost always more important than non-billable time, so I can sympathize with always prioritizing client work over blogging. What my client needed was a way to blog more efficiently.

So, I started by asking her a question about how much time blogging takes: “Which takes more time, the actual writing or the process of coming up with the idea?” She thought a minute, concluding that coming up with the idea was the tough part. She said she could write post in 30 minutes or less once she had a solid idea, but she had writer’s block when she had to write a post with no idea.

What she needed was a new process for coming up with ideas. So, I gave her one suggestion for a new process, that she write down every good question a client asks her. Answering each question is a potential blog post. In fact, when she is spending the most time with clients is when she should be surrounded with ideas for posts. The problem isn’t the lack of ideas, but rather that she hasn’t organized herself to write down those ideas when they are most plentiful.

Once you have a system for capturing ideas, the blog posts are far easier to do. It usually isn’t lack of time that prevents blogging, but our understandable avoidance of that excruciating pain of trying to come up with an idea from nothing. Most people don’t generate ideas on demand, while they sit and contemplate.

If you’ve been struggling to maintain your blog, perhaps this system might work for you. It works for me. That’s how I got this post. I wrote down my client’s question when she asked it, weeks ago. Then today, when I needed to write, I went through my list of ideas and this one seemed the one I could knock out most comfortably.

 

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