Tag Archives: Blogs

How to be a Better Blogger

By: Lara Michelle Greenberg

Many people think that the hardest part about blogging is getting started, but that part is easy. The hardest part is staying active and gaining interest. With immense amounts of content being circulated each day, how do you break through and create something that’s worth reading? Here are a few tips that can help you become a better blogger.

  1. Find your niche

The blogging sphere is a very busy place and without a niche it’s hard to stand out in the crowd. Running a blog means that you need to create regular content about the topic so you want to make sure that you don’t run out of things to say or lose interest. Find something that you are passionate about. Whether you are writing about travel, business or basket weaving, if you write about something you love, content will flow freely.

  1. Headlines

No matter what the subject is, chances are it’s a great headline that catches your attention and earns your click. A great headline will help your content spread further.

  1. Content

Now, onto the content itself: spend some time researching the topic you are going to write about and gather information from reliable sources. Following these two basic tips is very important because the content you write should be accurate and informative. A great blogger entices their readers by writing awesome and educational pieces.

  1. Proofread, proofread, proofread

Make sure you read through your blog a few times before you post. There is nothing worse than putting up a great article and realizing that there are several mistakes. Read aloud. Since your mouth has to voice each word, your ears will pick up the errors better than your mind distinguishing errors as you read silently. And if someone is around, have them read it over a few times for you. They might spot a few errors that you missed.

  1. Make sharing easy

To increase growth and readership of your blog, share your blog posts on other forms of social media and encourage your readers to share your writing. It will be easy for your readers to share your content if you have social sharing buttons. Make sure you place them wherever you think the reader would want to share the post (top of page/bottom of page/middle). You can also post the link to your blog on your Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin a few times per day so that people will come across it more easily. If you make it easy and simple for your readers to share, you will increase your social media shares in no time.

With so many blogs on the internet today, standing out isn’t so easy. While creating your posts, don’t be scared to let your personality show through. Writing in your own unique voice will really help you connect with your readers. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to making your blog more successful, but these basic tips will help you get started. As always, if you like what you read, please be social and share.

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I Wrote This Blog and You’ll Never Believe What Happens Next…

By: Dallas J. Short

Working in public relations, I’m a bit of word nerd and am constantly writing. There is a new version of Merriam-Webster’s unabridged dictionary and 1,700 words have been included, along with 3,200 new examples to add context. After this, all I can do is SMH at WTF and NSFW being added. The one that bothers me the most though is clickbait, not because I disagree with it being a word, but I disagree with even having clickbait (as what it is) exist.

Clickbait (noun): something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.

There are two mains reasons.

The first, it’s lazy journalism, which is very unprofessional and should not even be labelled as journalism. If you can’t judge a book by its cover, you should definitely still be able to know what a story is about by its headline. Integrity is extremely important to me and has seemed to fall by the way side, as people are more focused on getting clicks so they can pad their traffic stats and get more money for advertisements. It’s lying and disrespectful. It might sound crazy, but when you actually create quality content for your audience, they will not only trust and respect you more, but your positive engagement will increase. While some people will always be bored and out to troll, the majority of comments on a “news” story should not be outrage because of the author’s misrepresentation of facts and details.

The second, the internet and the world in general are fast-moving and unfortunately there are some people who just read headlines and form their own stories, without taking the time out to read the whole thing, put it in context or do research. Ah yes, ignorance is bliss and we should be a more educated society, but putting nonsense out into the world is part of the problem, not the solution. These misleading titles can also cause people to be upset and spread hate, as well as misinformation. Writers understand that words are weapons and a quick Spiderman refresher “with great power comes great responsibility.” Readers deserve better.

Clickbait has become a bad game of follow the leader, it works/worked to increase the number of page clicks and so more and more people keep doing it. Online publications do rely on advertising money, so they do want more clicks and that is understandable. There are other ways to go about it and it comes down to knowing your audience and writing in ways that appeal to them. It could be through intelligence, wit, sarcasm, actual satire or other styles.

In PR, your reputation is everything. I like my news delivered to me clever and honest, how about you? As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.

Getting Traffic to Your Website

By: MJ Pedone

How to get traffic to your website depends in part on your demographic, your niche and how you plan to monetize. But the main components for earning online traffic are pretty similar across the board and should include:

1. Growing a newsletter

This is, by far, the best thing you can do for your site. When you have email addresses, you can go right to the source instead of you waiting for them to find you. If you can email your readers, you will be able to encourage them to visit your site continually, building a loyal following over time. So building your newsletter list should be your number one priority. Display your sign-up form prominently on every page of your site. Offer a freebie for anyone who signs up. Collect emails like it’s your job because it should be your priority and share your amazing content with those readers on a regular basis.

2. Becoming active on social media

Don’t sign up for every social media platform out there. Instead, choose two or three channels and maximize them. Be strategic about which ones you choose; work the channels that make the most sense for your demographic.
In addition to sharing your own content, share others as well. Be generous, and use Twitter’s @mention or whatever the equivalent tag is on the channel you use so influencers notice you.
If you choose to use Facebook, expect to put some money behind your updates if you want to gain any traction as Facebook has lowered the reach on page posts in order to capitalize on advertising dollars.

3. Optimizing your content for search

The best thing you can do is optimize your headlines. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends to figure out what terms people are searching for that relate to what you’re writing about and use them in your headlines. Don’t write for SEO; instead, write your content and then go back and tweak it so Google will feature you high in search results. If you do this consistently, you will see your organic search traffic increase. As that increases, more people will share your posts, more readers will sign up for your newsletter and you’ll see a high volume effect on traffic.

4. Getting back-links to your site

Building back links is an SEO tactic, but it requires its own strategy. When other websites link to your site, Google looks favorably on you and ranks you higher in search results. The bigger the publication that links to you, the more Google love you get. As an added bonus, when publications link to you, some of their visitors will hop over to your site, too.
How do you get back-links? Here are a few options:
• Write guest posts. Write them for free as long as you get a link back to the site in your bio.
• Get press. Convince other outlets to feature your story. One smart way to make this happen is by responding to HARO requests.
• Encourage organic link-backs. If you offer dynamic content and help people notice it through all the avenues written about, bloggers and publications will link to your content without you asking them. One way to encourage this is by writing a list post that features the best bloggers or resources in your niche. Because when you put someone on your list, it makes him or her look good and they will share it with the world, which will likely include a link on their blog.

When it comes to generating traffic there is a lot more you can do but if you find yourself strapped for time and money, these are great first steps to cover. Of course this all assumes you’re creating unique content that’s valuable to your readers and information people want to share with their friends. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that if you create great work, people will find it. The truth is, you have to help them find it.
If you don’t push yourself to spend time on promotion, your blog will probably rarely get read. If you do, your site will gain traction, traffic and influence over time, which will lead to all sorts of opportunities for your creative endeavors.

What have you been doing thus far to gain traffic to your website? Have you implemented any of the strategies listed above? As always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

The Benefits of Infographics

By: Gina Mason

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and in content marketing, it can be worth thousands of dollars too. Studies have shown that “people process visuals 600,000 times faster than text” and they “retain 80 percent of what they see and only 20 percent of what they read,” according to an article on Regan.com. Also, “the average person reads only 20% of webpage text,” making longwinded blog posts and excessive content on websites go unnoticed. This makes it difficult for many brands to capture people’s attention while communicating their strategic message.

The second part of this dilemma is that our society is on content overload. Nearly, 1.5 billion pieces of content, 140 million tweets and 2 million videos are created daily and we are exposed to an excessive amount of information per day. So how can you make your brand’s message standout in a sea of content? One solution is to create an infographic.

Outside of tantalizing food porn photos or cat memes, infographics are a fantastic tool to build your brand and get your message out there in a fun, attractive and interesting way. For those of you who are unfamiliar with infographics, they “are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.” Infographics can be used for many things and have a number of branding benefits.

Here are some reasons to consider implementing infographics into your marketing strategy:

• People love new tidbits of information, yet as mentioned above, many people no longer have the attention span to scroll through a website/article/blog post. Infographics can be compelling, attractive and can efficiently and effectively communicate your strategic message in a matter of seconds.
• They create brand awareness by demonstrating your expertise on a certain topic or in a certain industry and also give you an opportunity to showcase your brand.
• They can be easily shared and present viral capabilities with the right information and design.
• They help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is great for expanding your brand to new audiences. According to Social Media Marketing expert Jeff Bullas, “The viral nature of the infographic medium makes people link to your site and Google will index your website higher due to Google’s “Page Rank” algorithm. This increases the importance that search engines pace on your site.”

However, not all infographics are created equal. In order to make sure your infographic gets the attention it deserves, make sure your infographic includes the following elements:

• Make it visually appealing while including unique and interesting content.
• Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm people with text.
• Make it easy to share on multiple platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).
• Site your sources of research or statistics.
• Most importantly, don’t forget to include the link to your website so people can trace the information back to your company/brand and learn more.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to infographics and with our ever-dwindling attention spans, I believe that they will become even more prevalent as time goes on. Due to the sharing capabilities, I think that it is very smart to invest in infographics in order to promote your brand and reach a much larger audience.

What do you think of infographics? Do you find them to be informative and useful?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

Does social media affect your mood?

By Karleigh Creighton

Our mood and emotions change often. They are affected not only by the big things in life, but also by small incidences like the weather, a surprise text, a meeting with friends and even by social media. Have you ever thought about how social media affects your mood and emotions? Facebook recently released research on its “contagion effect.” An effect they say that results in posting like your friends post.

Evidence from this study of 689,003 random Facebook users showed that after their newsfeeds were manipulated to have either a more positive or negative vibe, their own timelines reflected that same feeling. Those who were exposed to more positive news increased the use of positive words in their own posts, while those receiving less positive news in their newsfeed began to use more negative words. The same trend was also seen in the type of post. Individuals with newsfeeds consistent with long, revealing, emotional posts generally reciprocated that type of post, while those who constantly saw less expressive updates were likely to do the same.

Due to Facebook’s data-use policy the actual content of the posts of the individuals studied could not be seen and the study was conducted by counting the number of positive and negative words within the posts.

Personally, my mood is not seriously affected by what I see on my timeline. I don’t like to see negative posts so I just keep scrolling through them without paying much attention to the naysayers. If I see too many negative posts in a row I might get slightly annoyed and think about blocking the user to safely avoid negative energy, but nothing more than that. My emotions, on the other hand, are affected by posts I see from family and friends. Happy posts from people about getting a new job, having a baby, getting a puppy, or something else special will put a smile on my face, while posts about a loss trigger sadness because I can feel how much someone is hurting through their words.

However, regardless of the mood and emotions present in my newsfeed, I post my own thoughts and feelings. What do you think about the information provided by the study? Does it hold true in your life?

In addition to piggy backing off of the atmosphere in your timeline, social media can have other ways of affecting your mood. After posting a picture and getting 50 “Likes,” chances are you are feeling pretty happy that your selfie scored big with followers.

But what about the days when your post doesn’t generate any reach, especially one you thought was extra creative and fun, it’s discouraging. I believe it’s all just mental. Post what you want to post because it’s how you feel. Don’t let the attitude of another infiltrate your mind and therefore the tone of your own posts. The only way your social media will be influenced by others is if you let it.

How big of an impact do you let social media have on your life? I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

WWE’s Digital Takeover

By: Ben Okun

The new millennium saw a new trend in television as a number of successful sports leagues launched league-branded channels. First came the NBA, launching NBA TV in 1999. Next, the NFL launched its now wildly popular NFL Network in 2003. Shortly thereafter, the MLB and NHL launched MLB.TV and NHL Network respectively. Now, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is following in these leagues’ footsteps, by announcing the launch of the WWE Network beginning on February 24, 2014.

However, the WWE is taking a different approach than the other major sports leagues and is following the Netflix model by creating a 24/7 digital subscription network. The WWE Network will be available on a variety of digital platforms including PCs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and app stores, while featuring all 12 annual pay-per-view events, original shows and series, and access to all the classic matches from years past. If this wasn’t already a wrestling fan’s dream, first consider that a single PPV event such as WrestleMania is normally $59.95. Now, consider that the WWE is offering this full package of content PLUS all 12 PPV events to fans for $9.99 a month with a six month commitment.

Aside from saving its loyal fan base boat-loads of money, WWE Network is also providing a seemingly endless supply of content to consume.  In an age where content is king and “binge watching” TV shows is considered the norm, WWE Network is giving its fans the option to do just that. Upon its launch, over 1500 hours of content will be readily available, ranging from PG to uncensored matches, all in high-definition. As an added bonus, WWE Network promises that the majority of the programming will be commercial free, with minimal sponsorships and advertisements. On top of all of this, the WWE will still air its content on traditional cable channels, while continuing to offer special matches in a PPV format.

Really, this is a win-win situation for the WWE. They are fully embracing the digital space, yet still not putting all its eggs into one basket. Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson notes that wrestling fans watch five times as much digital video than non-fans, and that the WWE YouTube channel has nearly 1 billion views. Why wouldn’t those numbers translate to the WWE Network where all the company’s content will be in one place? Furthermore, casual wrestling fans who may just be flipping through the channels, can still enjoy wrestling on basic cable.

The real question is whether any of the four major sports will follow this Netflix model and utilize the growing, digital landscape. The UFC recently launched its “Fight Pass” digital subscription, but that pales in comparison to WWE Network. The true remaining players are the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, but only time will tell if they make a move. In the meantime, Chairman and CEO of the WWE, Vince McMahon, can walk with his head held high, knowing he has pioneered the blueprint for brands to launch their own digital network. 

If you were a wrestling fan, would you subscribe to the WWE Network? Is this the beginning of the end for pay-per-view? Are there any other sports that would benefit from a digital subscription network?

I look forward to your feedback and welcome any and all comments. If you like what you’ve read, be social and share. 

Media Magnetism – 21st Century Publicity Foreword Written by MJ Pedone

About

About    Inspiration often arrives at unexpected moments and in diverse forms. Media Magnetism, for instance, owes its origins to a pack of Crest Glide dental floss.I had been sent by the local newspaper to do a feature story on the latest charity project of a prominent philanthropist. He graciously invited me to his office, pointed me to a comfortable chair and listened with interest to my prep-talk on how the interview would proceed as I set up my audio recording equipment on his desk.Within the first minute of my starting the tape, he casually reached into his shirt pocket and withdrew a white plastic container. I initially thought that it contained breath mints and was, thus, perplexed when he unspooled a long strand of dental floss. Having interviewed former smokers who occasionally rely on “props” to give their hands something to do, I assumed this was just one of the quirkier choices.

You can imagine my reaction when he began using it for its actual purpose. If you’ve ever tried to decipher what someone is saying when they’re in a cavernous mid-yawn, try doing it when they’re aggressively going after mystery particles on their back molars. Over the course of 20 minutes – although it seemed much longer – he not only executed an intensely methodical cleaning worthy of a dental hygienist but also deposited all of his floss shrapnel in a messy, discolored mound right next to my microphone. No matter how scintillating or insightful the takeaway value of the feature story which was subsequently published, I can no longer see this man’s name or hear about the good deeds of his organization without recalling that unflattering image and feeling instantly repulsed.

I’m guessing that’s probably not the message he was going for.

What possesses an otherwise articulate, intelligent and well groomed person to perform personal hygiene tasks in front of a total stranger?  Were his actions a purposeful show of disdain for media intrusions on his life? Did he have someplace else he had to be immediately after our appointment and was just multi-tasking to save a trip to the bathroom? Had I inadvertently donned my cloak of invisibility and caused him to think he was talking to himself?

You’re right. There is neither an acceptable excuse for the full-frontal floss fest nor a rewind button to pretend it didn’t happen.

Although he currently holds the unofficial record for bizarre interview behavior, he’s also by no means an isolated case when it comes to putting the wrong foot forward. Interactions with media professionals sometimes have a funny way of making people say too much, say too little, or fall victim to the conversational equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction. No matter how accomplished they are at running a business, raising money or engaging in creative endeavors such as writing or art, these talents may not be evident to the reading/watching/listening public if they’re predisposed to view every reporter as (1) their new best friend or (2) their worst enemy. In truth, reporters are neither one: they are just there to help you deliver the best possible story to your target audience.

**********

FOREWORD Written By: MJ Pedone

There has always been a certain stigma attached to “dream jobs” – acting, modeling, sports, advertising –  the type of professions that a lot of people wish they could have and, more often than not, mistakenly perceive as being more “fun” than actual “work.” Who wouldn’t, for instance, want to play exciting roles, be photographed in top designer clothes, play the same sport they’ve loved ever since they were kids, or schmooze with celebrity clients at the hippest restaurants and night clubs?

What you have to take into consideration, however, is that the general public usually only sees the finished product – the blockbuster movie at the Cineplex, the gorgeous spread in a fashion magazine or the success of a charity or red carpet event that raises big money and brings out the A-list stars. The fact that it looks like such a flawless presentation is a testament to how much time, effort and creativity took place behind the scenes, much more than most can even imagine.

This is the reason why I always say that people will never really know how long it takes you to do something; they will only know whether it has been done well. If you have ever opened a new business, you’ve probably already discovered that you can’t just send out one generic press release and wait for the world to beat a path to your door. In today’s competitive marketplace – and given the challenging economy – it requires a more aggressive approach if you want to make your brand a household name that stands out from the competition. What I call “backstage readiness” is not only the ability to understand how 21st century media really works but also how to deliver what it wants from you in a way that projects confidence, credibility and professionalism.

Like Christina Hamlett and the team of industry experts she has brought together to create Media Magnetism, I’m no stranger to the bounty of elements that contribute to a successful marketing/PR campaign. Yes, it’s exciting for me to do a job that I love all hours of the day and night and work with my A-list clientele in the entertainment and sports industry. My effectiveness, however  –  and, in fact, the effectiveness of anyone involved in media relations – is only as good as the clarity of the client’s message and our mutual understanding of the target demographic that particular message is intended to inspire.

Whether you’re a small business owner, a nonprofit organization or an artist with a new project to promote, understanding how to maximize the media resources available to you is the first step in moving your PR campaign forward, and that is whyMedia Magnetism is a must-read for all who are involved in any aspect of public relations. This book will be the reason why you earn the exposure and return-on-investment you seek for your clients. It will be the reason that members of the media will be excited to shine a spotlight on you and your company’s accomplishments. It will be the reason you succeed.

In closing, I’m humbled to have written this foreword and hope you enjoy what I consider to be one of the most informative communications books available to date.

MJ Pedone CEO & Publicist

Indra Public Relations – New York, NY