When you think about school at the end of the semester, what are some of the ideas that come about time and time again? I have to believe that “finals” and the sort are the ones which are the most common. Stress is going to be constant and tension is going to be high, so why not kick back and try to find humor in the assignments that seem to bring students so much grief? This is where Tumblr has come into play and the results have cracked more than a couple of smiles.
Harvard College senior Angela Frankel took it upon herself to start a Tumblr blog entitled “LOL My Thesis” last month and she described it as, “…a means of procrastination from my own thesis.” Basically, it’s a blog that calls for people to give one-sentence summaries of their own theses. When you think about these kinds of papers, typically images of long, drawn-out narratives form in your mind. However, these summaries ranged from humorous to surprisingly insightful.
From Marine Biology at St. Andrews, one summary was, “Jellyfish don’t like it when you acidify their tank.” It’s absurd in its own right but strangely captivating enough to where you might actually want to click on the thesis in order to read what exactly happens in this case. From Philosophy at Reed College, another thesis had the summary of, “Numbers either exist, or they don’t. Depends on how you look at it.” It’s such a vague sentence and yet it’s interesting enough to where you may have the desire to see what it means in context.
In the end, though, “LOL My Thesis” wasn’t exactly made for those on the outside to look in and have a good laugh. It certainly succeeded on that front but the object was to give students an outlet. It wasn’t created to necessarily make fun of the assignments given but to ease the tension that comes with writing multipage-long papers. Frankel created something unique and the Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology major deserves recognition for that.
A Long Island social media agency can tell you that certain vehicles are more useful for brand awareness than others. While Tumblr is more hobby-esque by comparison to Facebook, for example, it can still attain popularity if an idea is creative enough. From what I have seen, “LOL My Thesis” brims with creativity and the fact that it racked over 50 pages of sentences three weeks after its launch speaks volumes.
In short, when others are in the same spot as you, it doesn’t pay to be distressed all the time.
Content marketing is hard. It requires your business to take up the role of a publisher. Now, that’s not something businesses or brands are used to doing traditionally. Most of the marketing now focuses on the “inbound marketing” phenomenon and that requires patience, extreme focus on generosity, establishing trust, and providing value. It also calls for the need for thought leadership and an ever-demanding presence over the web (including blogs and social media).
All of that is hard work.
Is there a way this can be made easy for you as a business owner? They say technology is a savior, so do tools exist that help to pump up your content marketing efforts?
Here are some web-based tools you can use to accelerate, streamline, and organize your content marketing efforts:
Content Aggregator Tools
To develop content, you’ll need an influx of incoming content. You’d basically need to read a lot to write as much as you ought to. How do you practically crawl over the web to consume so much information that’s spewed out everyday? You get smart and use an aggregator tool!
You can start with LinkedIn’s Pulse, move on to Flipboard for your mobile, TrapIt (claimed to be the world’s most advanced content curation app), set up good sources through Feedly (an alternative for Google’s now-dead RSS reader), and finally wade through Reddit manually.
By working with these tools, you make content available to you at all times. Read, repurpose, develop content on your own string of ideas, or gather information from other content on the web to make your own brand of valuable content. Curation is a pill for content creation and aggregator tools help you do just that.
Content Creation, Organization and Management
Organized efforts are a must for content marketing and there are plenty of tools starting from project management to content organization. Google Drive is ubiquitous and plugs well into the workflows that most small businesses have. You might also want to check out Trello, Asana and Basecamp for organizing projects, content, and teams. To actually create content, you could use tools such as one of the ubiquitous meme generators, Visual.ly, Issuu or UberFlip.
If you are a business owner, you can use Evernote in a million different ways. Note ideas as you get them or jot down facts you can later repurpose as full-blown resource pages or social media updates. You might also use the web-clipper for content curation.
If you work with a team of social media managers and content developers or freelancers, you could bring your team aboard using Evernote for business and collaborate on ideas, content planning, blog posts, and a host of other things.
Plugging into a Hot Spot
Most of the popular publications now have tons of content already as “pillar content” or “resource pages.” You could visit Social Media Today for syndicated posts and resources. HootSuite has a special section with tons of resources too.
In addition to that, many other websites provide on-site tools for helping you to create even more content.
Further, you could literally create an endless flow of content based on ideas from comments, reviews and user-generated posts on communities, forums or rating sites. If you have anything to do with food and restaurants, for instance, you could use reviews from Yelp for first-hand information and then turn it into list blog posts. For technical niches such as hosting solutions or servers, you could make use of information from comparison engines such as Who Is Hosting This and cite them as sources for your blog posts.
Content from Social Media
Social media is big and it’s a huge resource by itself. Using a tool like Storify, for instance, you can create stories using social media data. Use Swayy to get some of the best content to share with your audience based on their interests and engagement behavior. You might also want to consider a tool such as Curata that can help you find trustworthy content quickly and curate this content to fuel your content marketing efforts.
Even without any of these tools, you can still use the dripping content off social media updates and quickly whip up posts relevant to your business niche or industry. It’s quick, it can be credited, and it works for you in multiple ways. Don’t just create content for social media; make your content attract attention off social media too.
Tools for Other Types of Content
While writing posts and creating content based on text is easier, it’s not the end of the road. There are videos, slide decks, podcasts, magazines, and tons of other forms of content that you should create. There are tools for you to develop this kind of content too. Animoto or GoAnimator are ideal for creating short videos. Using Jing or Camtasia, you can create screen casts to show off your products or provide courses.
While it could be a daunting task to create so many forms of content and pump up your content marketing efforts, you also have a mind-boggling and never-ending list of tools to help you create content. Most of the tools are affordable and you can also pick the tools that fit your purpose or budget.
The question is: the tools exist and the list will continue to grow. How are you going to use them? If you are in business, which of these tools are you using currently? Which of these could turn you into a full-fledged business content publisher?
Change is good, sometimes. We all have those moments in our lives when we just want to branch out on our own. This is my moment.
I’ve been working for TK/KPA for the last seven years. I have absolutely nothing but positive to say about the company. They’ve treated me better than I probably deserved and I believe we’ve had a mutually beneficial relationship – both parties have grown as a result. I plan on referring KPA for many of the services that I do not offer because looking at it from the inside and seeing what else is out there, I know that they have what it takes to help their dealer clients find amazing success.
With that said, the company is still a growing corporation and I have wanted to operate in more of boutique situation for a little while. As a result, I am launching my own automotive internet marketing firm that will focus on premium social, search, and content marketing services. Dealer Authority is not for every dealership. The expectations are high and the costs will match. For the vast majority of dealers, the power I’ll be bringing to the table would be overkill. For truly aggressive dealers wanting to make a huge impact on their marketing efforts, I’m here to help.
Check out the website, get a feel for the direction that I’m heading, and make a choice: are you ready to get aggressive?
Titles can make or break a blog. The good ones rock and can draw in an audience that you normally wouldn’t have because of the sharing component. People like to share things that sound interesting on social media and titles can be the difference. In many ways, it’s more important than the content itself.
The one out of the group that I think is most important is #2. This is no longer a world where generalizations or all-encompassing posts are regularly effective. That’s not to say that they can’t be, but as Google and Bing improve their ability to narrow down results to exactly what people want and as people get used to the search engines presenting them answers to even the most obscure questions, it has grown ever-important to solve a problem with nearly every post. In the case of this post itself, the problem could be as simple as someone searching for “blog title tips”. Hopefully, in the next few days, Google and Bing will show them this article.
Search and social sharing are the two most important components of driving new traffic to your blog. If you they can’t find you or they’re not being presented your content in their social streams, they aren’t going to become a visitor. It sounds too simple, almost a “duh” moment, but it surprises me how often this portion of content marketing gets missed.
Before a hashtag was what it means today to just about every major social network, it was a pound button. It was a number sign. It was a tic-tac-toe box. It was anything other than what it is today, one of the most useful and important tools used by social media marketing firms and general social media fans across the internet.
I was there, believe it or not. I saw the first hashtag ever used. It was funny because at the time I thought it was a pretty silly idea, but obviously it grew on me and hundreds of millions of others. Now, I often find myself wondering why hashtags aren’t used more often. Go figure.
Here’s an infographic from Offerpop that breaks down the long (in internet years at least) history of the four little lines.
There are many people who believe that when it comes to WordPress based blogs, the only ones which are naturally SEO friendly are those ‘fresh out of the box’ ie. those which have not been customized in any way. When you start to add themes and plugins you begin to create a sort of hybrid version which can become somewhat incompatible with search engines.
Thankfully, there are some fairly easy ways to address this issue and with that in mind let’s look at a few of the SEO do’s and don’ts which will maximize your WordPress based blog’s search engine visibility
DO Make Use of SEO Plugins
When you need SEO help it makes sense to consult an expert in that field rather than a ‘Jack of all trades’. Using a dedicated SEO plugin such as WordPress SEO, Yoast or All in One SEO Pack is a lot like consulting an expert. These plugins are designed to handle all of your SEO needs and many of them are free. There are many themes available for WordPress which offer built in SEO assistance. However, this will tie you to that theme unless you want to redo your SEO whenever you change your theme.
DON’T be Lazy When Adding Images
WordPress has an excellent media uploader that is easy to use, so take advantage of that when adding images to your blog posts. The tool has an easy to follow form to enter all of the SEO information relating to your image and it is important to fill it out in full. You can provide a relevant name for the image, a caption featuring your keyword, alt text and even a description all of which will go some way towards improving SEO on that page/post.
DO Create a Proper Permalink Structure
One of the great things about WordPress is that it gives you the ability to customize your permalinks. This is great in terms of SEO, but only if you make good use of it by choosing a blog title and thus a post URL which will tell search engines (and readers) a little something about the post.
DON’T Go Nuts With Categories & Tags
It is a good idea to use categories to organize your content and to tag your posts; however, it important not go overboard with the categories. If you are going to implement indexing of your blog’s taxonomy archives you will have multiple unnecessary archive pages which are basically duplicates of your posts. It is much better to come up with just a handful of categories that the majority of your content can be filed under. Many SEO experts suggest that between 5 and 7 is the optimal number of categories per WordPress site and that posts should have approximately 3 tags each.
Do Claim Google Authorship On All Posts
Google Authorship is a great way to gain exposure as an expert author in your particular field and will lend additional credibility to your website when used. There are lots of ways to make use of Google Authorship including a variety of plugins which will take care of it for you. Just make sure that your contributing authors have added your blog on their Google+ profile.
These are just a few of the things which will affect the SEO status of your WordPress blog. There are many others that you may wish to thin carefully about including choosing the most appropriate server hosting service and producing truly engaging content. With a little effort and attention to detail you can have effective SEO for your blog.
Many of us who have been doing the hybrid search/social game for long enough remember what it was like to discover Tumblr. I got in pretty early and was able to get Social News as one of my Tumblogs, a pretty decent subdomain that is (unfortunately) completely underutilized and really just focuses on my Instagram pictures. That doesn’t mean that you have to sit around and let Tumblr not work well for you.
SocialMediaToday community contributor Mark Scott posted an interesting piece about using Tumblr as an SEO tool. While there are things in there that aren’t 100% correct such as the concept that all “links you add to all posts on your Tumblr blog are do-follow links” (some are nofollow), but otherwise he gives very sound advice about how to use the platform for something that it’s frankly not very good at for its own self: SEO.
Yes, it’s a great SEO tool and yes, it’s possible to optimize a Tumblog to do well in search, but it’s the benefits that it can bring to other websites where the real juice can come into play. As a supporting site, it’s great for search as long as the content is strong and you’re able to build up a decent following.
Tumblr essentially functions as a secondary blog you can use solely for the purpose of SEO. You can send optimized links back to the main website, allowing your website’s reach to expand and incoming traffic to multiply. What makes Tumblr great for SEO is the inbuilt promotion and SEO-friendly features that it comes packed with by default.
Groupon, the former daily deals site that turned into a social deals site that is trying to turn into a marketplace site has released its first redesign just in time for its five-year birthday. They aren’t just changing colors from old-school green to clean and tidy white. They’re trying to reinvent themselves… again.
After passing up on a $6,000,000,000 offer from Google a few years ago, they’ve had ups and downs. Mostly downs. That’s not to say that they don’t have a future, but it will take more than a redesign and a new direction to justify passing up on billions.
Here’s what Mashable had to say about the new design:
When users visit Groupon now, they will see a spotlighted deal followed by personalized collections of deals and a left-hand navigation menu, which lets users browse deals by category. There is now a search option featured prominently at the top — long overdue — which finally lets users search for keywords across categories. For example, someone looking for sushi would be shown restaurant deals, as well as deals for sushi classes and merchandise.
Earlier this week I wrote a controversial piece about responsive website design that brought the ire of professionals within my industry and a flood of emails calling me all sorts of names. Yes, there were those who agreed as well, but they were the minority.
In retrospect, I sold out. I looked at the data, saw how responsive websites were not performing very well on mobile devices in industries that were heavy on data, and came to the conclusion that adaptive was a better solution for some. I stand by that statement based upon practicality, but there’s an addendum to that answer: if you want to do the absolute best practice possible, it would be to build your website from mobile up rather than from PC down.
It’s always easier to make a site more complex than to simplify it. Adding features is simply easier than taking them away. If you build your websites with the following three ideas in mind, you have the greatest chance for success:
Mobile is huge and getting huger. Assume that your website will be accessed as much if not more on mobile devices in the near future than on big screens.
People love mobile designs because they’re used to them. If a website displayed on a PC operates much the same as it would on a mobile device, it will perform better. That’s not to say that you need to sacrifice design or make your website look amateur on a big screen, but strive to make it “mobilesque”.
Touchscreen functionality and the art of scrolling rather than clicking is becoming more of a “thing” for desktop websites. Keep that in mind when you build pages.
If you take into account how your website will load, operate, and perform on mobile devices and build up from there, you will find that your overall website performance will improve. The problem with responsive websites in some industries is that they cram as much as they can to fill out the big screen and then it looks terrible and performs poorly on the small screen. Work from the small screen up and the website will do better regardless of the device.
It’s hard being a geek. You have to keep up with all of the things happening in the tech world but you don’t have the time to sort through it all. There are literally hundreds of valid sources of news. A good feedreader can’t handle all of the sources without muddying the water and the standard news aggregators just don’t quite get what we need.
Then, there’s Techi. It’s a project that we’ve worked on for a couple of years now and it’s reached its culminating state of being the ultimate source for the most relevant tech news out there. There are others out there that work fine. Google News has a nice Technology section that doesn’t get updated nearly enough (strange, considering that it’s Google, but what are you going to do?). Techmeme has always been an excellent source but their leaning towards the business side of tech means that much of their news is about rich people or big companies giving lots of money to startups.
Reddit, HackerNews, and Slashdot have the social aspect cornered. Their challenge – they “like” some sites and tend to not like others. The politics within the community are part of what make them strong, but it’s also what keeps some of the most important or interesting news from rising to the point of visibility.
This is where Techi comes in. Yes, it’s a chronologically ordered list of links with some original content worked in, but that’s not what makes it special. The real juice comes from the style of selection. The stories are sorted by editors who try to find the definitive source on a subject regardless of the domain. Just because Techcrunch runs a story doesn’t mean that Hot Hardware doesn’t have a better variation. Unlike Google News, which gives preference to the high traffic sites, or Techmeme, which favors some sites and dismisses most, Techi digs deep into the stories. The editors read the options and determine which one is going to be the best source for the particular topic at hand.
Each story gets a brief lead that either tells the gist of the story in a sentence or two or leads into the bulk of the story if there’s a need to elaborate in order to do the story justice. All of the stories are sourced properly – there’s no scraping and posting like so many other aggregators do. If the best content is on Techdirt, that’s where the reader is directed.
Finally, it’s a 24-hour site. There’s no east-coast/west-coast. There’s no time zone limitation at all. The best tech news around the world is monitored and revealed 24-hours per day, 7-days per week, 365-days per year. Somebody is watching at all times.
There’s serious tech news. There’s offbeat stuff. There are plenty of videos and just the right amount of original content written by some of the same people that contribute to Soshable. It’s a winning mix that can help any geek (or non-geek) get just the right amount of tech news every single day.