Copy and content marketing - Tips, Advice, Articles and Services

Technocharity- Raising Funds Through Technology

Barnardo's collecting box

Donations are the lifeblood of any non-profit. It’s the constant dilemma of any charity, figuring out how to balance the energy you put into actually doing good with the effort you put into acquiring the donations that actually allow you to do that good.

Fortunately technology is giving us innovative new ways to raising funds for the charities. As well as allowing you to reach a wider audience, technology can also let you approach potential donors in new ways that avoid the negative reactions people often have towards “chuggers” and emotionally manipulative TV adverts.

For instance, across the world there are 1.2 billion smartphone owners. The trick is to find way to win over this young, tech-savvy audience on their own level.

Make donating easy

One of the easiest ways to get people to donate is to ask for their loose change. It’s a minor annoyance to them, it’s useful to you. It’s a win-win scenario. The trouble is that to do that you have to get charity workers, or at least collection tins at every location where somebody might be walking around with loose change. Until lately trying to get donations from people without asking after their loose change in person involved getting them to call you and spend minutes on the phone giving their details or going online to fill out extensive and annoying forms.

The trick is to turn everyday activities into opportunities to donate. A great example of this take a look at the Charity Miles app. The app works by getting its users to raise charity funds through the walking, running and cycling they do as part of their everyday routine.

It works by getting app users to choose from nine possible charities, and then the app keeps track the distance you run, walk or cycle, and this information is passed on to corporate sponsors who donate a certain amount of money per mile, so long as you share that activity on Facebook or Twitter.

Charities, users and corporate sponsors all win and it takes virtually no effort to set up.

Work with people who are creating great content

“Content is king” is one of those phrases that gets used so often when discussing online marketing that I believe you’re legally allowed to beat someone to death if they say it. However as annoying as it is reading that phrase over and over and over (and over) again, there is truth in it. More than “calls to action” or constantly trying to persuade people to Like or Friend your accounts, people will be drawn towards your sites if there is interesting and engaging content there that they want to see.

Ethioiaid is a good example of this. Content here doesn’t just mean great copy. The app uses amazing photography from Ethiopia, combined with a unique graphic novel for the iPad and a cinematic soundtrack that really draws you in. The app works twofold. The content educates users about the history and culture of Ethiopia and the issues the country is facing. It also generates an income by giving a quarter of all app sales to the charity.

Make a game of it

Gamification is a word that’s hot on the heels of “Content is king” for things people in social media need to shut up about, but games are a great way of engaging your audience, either driving them to find out more about your cause or even allowing you to crowd source large tasks that can be broken down into smaller component parts.

The ingeniously named iHobo app, for instance, takes the form of a sort of homeless teenage Tamigotchi.  The game was developed for the UK homeless charity, Depaul, and it presents users with the kinds of decisions homeless teenagers are met with every day, including decisions about food, shelter and support to keep off drugs and avoid illness. This educates the user, while also including a function that allows them to directly donate to the charity through the app.

Similarly, UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, helps to raise awareness of the problems faced by refugees by putting the user in the shoes of a refugee, asking them what they would do in a given situation. My Life As A Refugee takes you through various scenarios where you are forced to make life or death decisions against the clock. The app doesn’t back away from the terrible circumstances refugees face, and does an excellent job of building empathy with those who are in those situations for real.

Each of these apps does for charity jobs that would normally take a whole army of people with clipboards and change tins.

Featured images:

By Sam Wright

Sam Wright is a freelance writer who always gives generously to charity. He is currently working with http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/.

Issues to Steer Clear of When Using Twitter

fake-twitter-birdSo you finally decided your business needed a Twitter account and you’ve worked hard to get the following that you want.  While you are content, you still want more followers but you start to see a phenomenon.  Your list of followers is slowing decreasing rather than increasing.  Why is this happening?  It could be that while your tweets are on the ball and perfect, there may be other issues that are causing you to lose followers.  These same issues could be the reason you are not gaining any followers either.  Below are some every day mistakes that could be costing you your following and you don’t even realize you’re doing anything wrong.

Using Too Many Hashtags

OK, so the issue with hashtags is an ongoing one and it seems that many people still don’t get it.  If you are tweeting nothing but hashtags, then you’re probably killing your following and that is one great reason why they are leaving.  Think of how annoying it is to try and read a post that is just hashtags!  Using the last sentence as an example:  #Think #ofhow #annoyingitis #totryandread #apostthatisjust #hashtags.  How long did it take you to try and read that sentence and how frustrating did you find it?  This is why you should only use a one or two hashtags as way to trend your brand or product.  Never use so many hashtags that your entire one hundred and forty characters are taken up with them.

No Negativity, EVER!

Even though you may have friends and family on your Twitter account as followers, if you have something negative to discuss with them, you should do it in private.  If you need to use Twitter then do it from your personal account, not your business account.  Most people don’t care about what’s going wrong, how poorly you’re feeling or how frustrating your employees are.  They want positivity and they will stop following you if you are negative too often.  One way to help your SEO efforts is to have your tweets shared by your followers.  How likely is that they will be shared or retweeted if they are negative and do not offer anything of any value to the community?  The only followers who won’t care are those you may have paid for, click here for more information on how to do this.

Too Many Posts About Yourself

Of course we are our own best subject because of the familiarity but in all honesty, nobody else, besides family and friends really care about your personal life.  This is a common mistake that is made by many because they find that it is hard to post regular tweets based on business.  Actually, it is easy to tweet about business and all personal tweets should come from your personal account.  Rather than posting about what you had for lunch or where you’re heading for your holidays, post valuable information.  Seek out news and updates related to your industry such as new techniques or materials that are an improvement or that make production easier.  When you do have a lack, highlight an employee and give them the spotlight on Twitter.  These things will keep your following and will offer you more followers.

If you avoid the top three issues when tweeting, you will not only keep your followers you have now, but you will also gain more followers over the long term.

Author Bio – James Ritchie is considered an expert on the world of Twitter and blogs about his experiences.

Different Types of Article Marketing

IMG_0814Many times article writers get into the business to make some extra cash because they have a great grasp on writing and know that it can be profitable. There is much more to article marketing than just using keywords effectively and writing an interesting article that people want to read. This can be the single most effective technique you use online today to help you advertise your business or gain traffic to your websites. It’s also a valuable tool for the professional writer and it’s a direct sample of what you have for sale.

Learning the different forms of article marketing can help new writers know what their client wants without having to ask questions. The following are the most common types of writing tasks that an article marketing writer may be asked to produce:

· Blogs – Many times there is a high demand for blog writing. These are usually smaller articles that range from 200 to 300 words with some being 350 words. Blogs are a popular means for generating traffic for a website.

· SEO Articles – SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimized. This means that the articles are keyword rich and are used to increase search engine rankings for the website. These articles can be any length but are typically between 400 and 1000 words.

· Standard Articles – Standard articles are those that are not keyword heavy and rely more on content. This means that they are either informative or entertaining without being keyword rich. These are the most fun for writers because there are more options when choosing how to direct the content of the article.

· EBooks – These are the big money makers for most writers. Those who are lucky enough to get a contract for an ebook can make some decent money. The books are longer and take more time, but the price that is paid for them is well worth the time and effort.

With these tips, you can be prepared for proper article marketing, whether you are doing it for your own business or doing it as a profession.

 

Twitter Etiquette – Three Must Know Tips

twitter-love-728082For any person who is on Twitter, whether for business or for pleasure, it is vital to know what the rules of etiquette are for the site.  Sadly, most people sign up for an account and just start tweeting without thinking about the ramifications of what they are doing.  While this may not be a huge issue for some people who have very few followers, it can be a huge deal for a business who relies on followers for SEO purposes.  There are a few rules of etiquette that must be followed if you want to have a great Twitter presence.  Not following these simple rules can lose you fans that you need.  If you follow the tips below, you should have no problem with Twitter etiquette and can keep the followers you have while gaining more followers in the future.

Post Meaningful Tweets

While you may want to keep your friends and family members updated about your life, you don’t need to tweet about the mundane things.  A photo of meals and talking about every minute of your life is not necessary and is even considered a breach in etiquette.  While you can certainly post a photo of a great meal you had a fabulous restaurant to promote them, you really want to keep the food pictures to a minimum.  Also, while it may seem cute, there is no need to post about the exact time and consistency of yours, your children or your partners bodily functions.  Not to seem rude but nobody really cares and this will not get you more followers.  Instead, start a conversation by asking questions or talking about current events.  Even sports are a great topic and one that people will want to read about.

Your Personal Life Should Stay Personal

Please, if you get nothing else out of this article, this one topic is vital to remember, nobody wants to hear about your personal drama.  Social media is for socializing with others, not talking about your problems every time you tweet.  Want to lose your followers?  Keep tweeting about the jerk that broke your heart or the girl who cheating on you who needs to face a firing squad.  Now, again, there are always exceptions to this rule.  You can certainly start a prayer chain for a loved one who is ill or injured and you can support your family and friends but keep the really personal stuff in your direct messages rather than your tweets.  If you do this too much, the only followers you’ll have are the ones that were purchased on a website.

Should You Always Follow Back?

It is an unwritten law that when you are followed, you follow back.  However, you should first check out the person who is following you to make sure they are legit and that they won’t spam your timeline.  Having said that, you can offer the courtesy of a follow back and then stop following them at a later time if you are not happy with them.  Remember, you want others to follow you back so you have to extend the same courtesy to the same degree.

If you stick to the above list of Twitter etiquette rules then your time on the social media site will go much smoother.

Author Bio – Sandra Smith has been blogging for ten years and is now writing specifically about social media.

The Video Formats That YouTube Supports

ventureneer-listeningIf you are not able to upload your videos to the YouTube site and you are concerned and want to know why, it may just be a simple problem.  Not all file formats are supported by the YouTube platform so you will have to make a change in order to get your videos on the site.  You don’t want to skip using YouTube as your main video sharing site because it is one of the biggest in the world.  Thankfully, there are some things that you can do and there are many other video formats that are supported.  Below are some tips for working with YouTube and your video formatting issues.

Videos Wont Upload to the Site

The first thing you need to check when you get an error message during a YouTube video upload is the size of your video.  You may be using a compatible format but if your video is too long or if the overall file is too large YouTube will reject it.  One thing you can do is to use video editing software to crop the video into parts and then upload each segment on its own.  If this does not work then you may not have the right format and this brings up another set of issues that will need to address in order to get your videos on the site.

The Reason Your Video Format is Vital

The first thing you need to know about video formatting is the compression size and why it is so important.  Compression takes a huge file and turns it into a smaller, more manageable file and for sites like YouTube, the smaller the size the better.  All websites use a computer server which is just a bunch of huge hard drives where all uploads and information is stored.  If a video isn’t compressed then imagine how much storage space would be needed when considering that YouTube has millions of users and billions of videos!  So if your video is not properly compressed into a file that is recognized by the site, then you are not going to be able to upload it and you’ll need to convert it first.

How to Convert Videos Into a YouTube Friendly File

The following are file formats supported by YouTube:

  • .avi
  • .mov
  • .mp4
  • .flv
  • .3gp

Now you may be in a panic because you don’t know anything about video editing but before you give up, you have to understand that it is not really that hard to convert your videos.  There are free video converters online that you can use and that work just as well as those that cost a great deal of money.  You may also want to look at your camera or your smart phone and see if there is a setting for the output file.  Many of the better cameras offer this option so the video is automatically compressed before you even attempt to upload it to YouTube’s site.

There is no way that anyone can increase their viewer count on YouTube if you don’t have any videos for them to watch.  You can learn about buying views and subscribers here, but still, your efforts are wasted if you don’t have at least one video on the site.

Author Bio – Otis Alexander has been helping people with their YouTube issues and blogs about this regularly.

6 Simple Ways to Vamp Up Your Business Social Media Profiles

8967321_lSocial media marketing is the newest trick of the trade for business owners today. It’s an excellent way to build brand awareness, increase customer service and just interact with your client base. But if you want to get the most from your social media, you need to create outstanding profiles that get noticed for all the right reasons.

You already know the world of business is a fast one- with many factors involved in keeping up with the competition and standing out to your target customer. Your social media accounts are a great way to represent your brand and reach your target customers where they are already- enjoying social networking.

Here are some simple ways to vamp up your business social media profiles and create an impressive representation of your brand.

Fill Out all the Info

The first very simple step you can take to improve your social media profile is to fill out all of the information it asks of you. It sounds like a simple and obvious step but it’s one that goes unnoticed by many companies. They get quick or lazy in the creation process and they don’t fill in all the blanks. You might think that your brand is large enough that people know you already or that they will recognize you when they land on your profile. However, you might not know that there are other reasons for filling out all the info.

When you fill in all the spaces in your social media profile, it makes your profile more available in search results, meaning more people will find you. This is also an opportunity to tell people more about your brand, include calls to action, invite them to your website or use this to post your mission statement, bio and more. Take advantage of all the space and opportunities given to you.

Get a Professional Profile Photo

If you want your social media profile to stand out from the many others in the average social media user’s stream, then a professional photo might be just the way to do it. Using a professional photo of a person who leads the company is often better and more personable than using your company logo- but again, it depends on the business, the social networking platform and your branding.

Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar

A social media editorial calendar will help you stay organized on what you are posting and when. This is an essential tool of more than one member of your business team will be using the social media accounts. However, even if you’re managing it all yourself, you can benefit from the editorial calendar. It will help you to brainstorm for new ideas, post content your readers will enjoy and stay consistent with your posting. This will immediately launch your profile and create a more professional appearance even to those just briefly glancing through.

Post Original Content

There’s nothing wrong with a share here and there but you will make much more progress when you post original content to your social media accounts. You want people to come to your page/account/activity stream and see things they have not already seen elsewhere. You want to give useful content that makes them want to come back again and also to share with their friends.

If you do share, make sure you attribute properly and do not infringe upon the rights of others. This includes all types of content- articles, quotes, photos and more.

Enlist the Help of a Professional

Sometimes we all need a little help and a social media/ branding specialist can help you to get your accounts started correctly, pinpoint problems in your accounts or profiles, set you up with an editorial calendar and more. A professional could come on board full time to help you or it could be a once-in-awhile opportunity to get your accounts evaluated for efficiency.

Always Represent Your Brand

If you want your social media profile to stand out from the rest, keep consistent with your brand. Everything you post, share and say should be keeping with your brand’s values and ideals. This doesn’t mean you cannot post things just for fun but your profile at-a-glance should reflect what your brand is all about.

As you can see, there are many different ways to improve your business social media profiles and portray the best impression of your brand. You can get more people to engage with your accounts when you take the time to build them properly and post content that stands out in the stream.

What tips do you have for vamping up your social media profiles? What are some examples you have seen of profiles that really stood out and impressed you?

Takeaways:

  1. Your social media profile is often the first impression someone has of your brand.
  2. Your business social media profiles should be professional but unique.
  3. Update your accounts regularly with unique, quality content to show an impressive social media profile from quick glance.

 

Creating a Holiday Editorial Calendar

content calendarIf ever there was a great time to have an editorial calendar for your blog or website, it’s during the holiday season. Holidays are overwhelming- there is so much to see and do and many people are traveling. You’re preparing for the New Year and you’re spending time with family. Adding content to your website or blog might seem like one too many tasks for the already busy season.

But you don’t have to let your blog go while the holidays are here. In fact, this is a prime time for keeping great content on your site because many people will be out of work, enjoying vacations and browsing on the Internet.

An editorial calendar will help you remove stress from the many tasks you have to do this time of year. With research, creativity and a solid plan, you can take action!

With and editorial calendar you can:

  • Avoid the stress that comes with last minute additions to your blog or the stress of not knowing what to write about.
  • Keep regular content on your blog, even during the holiday season.
  • Write and post content that is relevant and interesting- set trends and stay ahead of the trends in your industry.
  • Avoid writer’s block because you will always have a plan for what you’re going to write about.

So we know that an editorial calendar is a great idea any time of year but how do you prepare one for the holiday season? Well, the first step is to research what your readers will be celebrating. There are many different holidays this time of year aside from just Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Some examples are:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
  • Free Shipping Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Winter Solstice
  • Christmas
  • Boxing Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • College Football Games
  • New Year’s Eve

 

Research your target market and determine which of these holidays may apply to them and then plan your content around them. Consider how often you will post (every day, 2 times a week, once a week…) and use this to plan what posts you will make and when.

This works best if you have an actual calendar to use in your planning. This can be digital or a paper calendar; whichever you prefer. Mark the holidays you will be writing about on the calendar and then plan the days that you will publish up to and around the holiday.

Now spend some time brainstorming what you can write about and how you can tie this into the holiday season. For example, an editorial calendar for a parenting blog during the holidays might look like this.

Monday: Managing Manners (Teaching Your Children How to Behave During the Festivities)

Tuesday: Quick Tip (5 Moms Tells us How to Tame Toddler Tantrums)

Wednesday: Worry-free Shopping (How to Tackle Black Friday with Kids in Tow)

Thursday: Mommy Moments (A great, heart-warming story from a parent about a child)

Friday: Friday Fun! (share games, links to free apps or book downloads, etc.)

Saturday: Shake It Up! (Talk recipes, ideas to make food more fun for kids, etc)

Sunday: Top 10 List (Top 10 Toys for ___)

Rather than doing a day-of-the-week theme, you might choose instead to do a weekly theme. For example, on a small business blog, you might have these weekly categories:

Week 1: Managing Your Marketing During the Holidays

Week 2: Who is Your Target Market and How Do You Reach Them?

Week 3: Examine the Competition- What Can You Learn from Them?

Week 4: Stress-Free Holiday Business Tips

Write and Schedule

Once you have your plan in place, give yourself enough time ahead of schedule to write and post-date your posts for the appropriate days. You will no longer have to worry about what you will write about and when. You won’t wake up stressing that your blog has no content. You know that your message will be out there and that it is keeping in your brand theme and with the holiday season to draw more readers in.

Your holiday editorial calendar is your roadmap to excellent content all year round.

You can learn more about creating a social media editorial calendar in this post.

Do you use an editorial calendar? Have any tips of your own for producing holiday content?

 

Takeaways:

  1. A holiday editorial calendar will help you plan your content and take the stress out of the season.
  2. Your editorial calendar will help you plan and publish content that is interesting and useful to your readers this time of year.
  3. Learn how to use the editorial calendar to plan ahead all year round.

Interesting and Unknown YouTube Tips

happy-5th-birthday-youtube--501ecffedfAny business owner needs to make things as easy as possible when posting videos to the YouTube website either through the computer or via a smart phone.  Yes, it is vital to get as many views and subscribers to your channel and in order to do this it is important that you utilize social media when promoting the video.  For this reason, you need to make it easy for viewers to share the videos on their favorite sites like Facebook and Twitter.  If you want to make things as easy as possible on your viewers there are some things you can do.  Below are some interesting and unknown tips for an easier YouTube experience.

Connecting with Social Media

Did you know that you can associate your YouTube account with your other social media sites easily?  You may be wondering why this is very important but it is when it comes to saving time and effort for not only you but your viewers.  When you post your videos on to YouTube, you are also automatically posting them on to your other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.  You can get views on your videos much faster with the only option that would offer you views quicker would be to buy them.  You can learn more about his by clicking here.  So, instead of putting the hyperlink onto each social media site separately, you can have the posts up on all your social media at one time.

Using the Shortcuts Made for the Keyboard

One way to watch your videos and other’s videos is by using they keyboard shortcuts which allow you to navigate through videos much faster than you can with a mouse.  It is always important to watch videos of others in the same niche as your videos in order to not only get ideas but to know what videos do not work.  It is important to go through these videos as quickly as possible so you are not wasting too much of your own time and these shortcuts allow you to do this.  The space bar will play or pause the video and the right and left arrow keys advances or rewinds the video and the left and right arrow keys control the volume.  Finally, the home and end keys take the video to the beginning or the end.

Captioning Your Videos

One thing you can do that will make your video pop from all the others on YouTube is to offer custom captions.  When a person is looking through YouTube, they are more likely to stop and view a video that has unusual captions than those who offer no captions at all.  You can change both the font and the background color to make the captions more visible for those who have a hearing impairment.  When the person wants to watch your video with captioning, they only have to click on the close captioning link and then it is turned on for them.  This is also where you can set up your own personal custom captions.

Any YouTube user who wants to be more effective needs to know how to both make their videos easier to view and post but also needs to make them pop.

Author Bio – Laura Irving has been an avid blogger for ten years and is becoming an expert at YouTube.

Technocharity- Raising Funds Through Technology

Barnardo's collecting box

Donations are the lifeblood of any non-profit. It’s the constant dilemma of any charity, figuring out how to balance the energy you put into actually doing good with the effort you put into acquiring the donations that actually allow you to do that good.

Fortunately technology is giving us innovative new ways to raising funds for the charities. As well as allowing you to reach a wider audience, technology can also let you approach potential donors in new ways that avoid the negative reactions people often have towards “chuggers” and emotionally manipulative TV adverts.

For instance, across the world there are 1.2 billion smartphone owners. The trick is to find way to win over this young, tech-savvy audience on their own level.

Make donating easy

One of the easiest ways to get people to donate is to ask for their loose change. It’s a minor annoyance to them, it’s useful to you. It’s a win-win scenario. The trouble is that to do that you have to get charity workers, or at least collection tins at every location where somebody might be walking around with loose change. Until lately trying to get donations from people without asking after their loose change in person involved getting them to call you and spend minutes on the phone giving their details or going online to fill out extensive and annoying forms.

The trick is to turn everyday activities into opportunities to donate. A great example of this take a look at the Charity Miles app. The app works by getting its users to raise charity funds through the walking, running and cycling they do as part of their everyday routine.

It works by getting app users to choose from nine possible charities, and then the app keeps track the distance you run, walk or cycle, and this information is passed on to corporate sponsors who donate a certain amount of money per mile, so long as you share that activity on Facebook or Twitter.

Charities, users and corporate sponsors all win and it takes virtually no effort to set up.

Work with people who are creating great content

“Content is king” is one of those phrases that gets used so often when discussing online marketing that I believe you’re legally allowed to beat someone to death if they say it. However as annoying as it is reading that phrase over and over and over (and over) again, there is truth in it. More than “calls to action” or constantly trying to persuade people to Like or Friend your accounts, people will be drawn towards your sites if there is interesting and engaging content there that they want to see.

Ethioiaid is a good example of this. Content here doesn’t just mean great copy. The app uses amazing photography from Ethiopia, combined with a unique graphic novel for the iPad and a cinematic soundtrack that really draws you in. The app works twofold. The content educates users about the history and culture of Ethiopia and the issues the country is facing. It also generates an income by giving a quarter of all app sales to the charity.

Make a game of it

Gamification is a word that’s hot on the heels of “Content is king” for things people in social media need to shut up about, but games are a great way of engaging your audience, either driving them to find out more about your cause or even allowing you to crowd source large tasks that can be broken down into smaller component parts.

The ingeniously named iHobo app, for instance, takes the form of a sort of homeless teenage Tamigotchi.  The game was developed for the UK homeless charity, Depaul, and it presents users with the kinds of decisions homeless teenagers are met with every day, including decisions about food, shelter and support to keep off drugs and avoid illness. This educates the user, while also including a function that allows them to directly donate to the charity through the app.

Similarly, UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, helps to raise awareness of the problems faced by refugees by putting the user in the shoes of a refugee, asking them what they would do in a given situation. My Life As A Refugee takes you through various scenarios where you are forced to make life or death decisions against the clock. The app doesn’t back away from the terrible circumstances refugees face, and does an excellent job of building empathy with those who are in those situations for real.

Each of these apps does for charity jobs that would normally take a whole army of people with clipboards and change tins.

Featured images:

By Sam Wright

Sam Wright is a freelance writer who always gives generously to charity. He is currently working with http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/.

Issues to Steer Clear of When Using Twitter

fake-twitter-birdSo you finally decided your business needed a Twitter account and you’ve worked hard to get the following that you want.  While you are content, you still want more followers but you start to see a phenomenon.  Your list of followers is slowing decreasing rather than increasing.  Why is this happening?  It could be that while your tweets are on the ball and perfect, there may be other issues that are causing you to lose followers.  These same issues could be the reason you are not gaining any followers either.  Below are some every day mistakes that could be costing you your following and you don’t even realize you’re doing anything wrong.

Using Too Many Hashtags

OK, so the issue with hashtags is an ongoing one and it seems that many people still don’t get it.  If you are tweeting nothing but hashtags, then you’re probably killing your following and that is one great reason why they are leaving.  Think of how annoying it is to try and read a post that is just hashtags!  Using the last sentence as an example:  #Think #ofhow #annoyingitis #totryandread #apostthatisjust #hashtags.  How long did it take you to try and read that sentence and how frustrating did you find it?  This is why you should only use a one or two hashtags as way to trend your brand or product.  Never use so many hashtags that your entire one hundred and forty characters are taken up with them.

No Negativity, EVER!

Even though you may have friends and family on your Twitter account as followers, if you have something negative to discuss with them, you should do it in private.  If you need to use Twitter then do it from your personal account, not your business account.  Most people don’t care about what’s going wrong, how poorly you’re feeling or how frustrating your employees are.  They want positivity and they will stop following you if you are negative too often.  One way to help your SEO efforts is to have your tweets shared by your followers.  How likely is that they will be shared or retweeted if they are negative and do not offer anything of any value to the community?  The only followers who won’t care are those you may have paid for, click here for more information on how to do this.

Too Many Posts About Yourself

Of course we are our own best subject because of the familiarity but in all honesty, nobody else, besides family and friends really care about your personal life.  This is a common mistake that is made by many because they find that it is hard to post regular tweets based on business.  Actually, it is easy to tweet about business and all personal tweets should come from your personal account.  Rather than posting about what you had for lunch or where you’re heading for your holidays, post valuable information.  Seek out news and updates related to your industry such as new techniques or materials that are an improvement or that make production easier.  When you do have a lack, highlight an employee and give them the spotlight on Twitter.  These things will keep your following and will offer you more followers.

If you avoid the top three issues when tweeting, you will not only keep your followers you have now, but you will also gain more followers over the long term.

Author Bio – James Ritchie is considered an expert on the world of Twitter and blogs about his experiences.

Different Types of Article Marketing

IMG_0814Many times article writers get into the business to make some extra cash because they have a great grasp on writing and know that it can be profitable. There is much more to article marketing than just using keywords effectively and writing an interesting article that people want to read. This can be the single most effective technique you use online today to help you advertise your business or gain traffic to your websites. It’s also a valuable tool for the professional writer and it’s a direct sample of what you have for sale.

Learning the different forms of article marketing can help new writers know what their client wants without having to ask questions. The following are the most common types of writing tasks that an article marketing writer may be asked to produce:

· Blogs – Many times there is a high demand for blog writing. These are usually smaller articles that range from 200 to 300 words with some being 350 words. Blogs are a popular means for generating traffic for a website.

· SEO Articles – SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimized. This means that the articles are keyword rich and are used to increase search engine rankings for the website. These articles can be any length but are typically between 400 and 1000 words.

· Standard Articles – Standard articles are those that are not keyword heavy and rely more on content. This means that they are either informative or entertaining without being keyword rich. These are the most fun for writers because there are more options when choosing how to direct the content of the article.

· EBooks – These are the big money makers for most writers. Those who are lucky enough to get a contract for an ebook can make some decent money. The books are longer and take more time, but the price that is paid for them is well worth the time and effort.

With these tips, you can be prepared for proper article marketing, whether you are doing it for your own business or doing it as a profession.

 

Twitter Etiquette – Three Must Know Tips

twitter-love-728082For any person who is on Twitter, whether for business or for pleasure, it is vital to know what the rules of etiquette are for the site.  Sadly, most people sign up for an account and just start tweeting without thinking about the ramifications of what they are doing.  While this may not be a huge issue for some people who have very few followers, it can be a huge deal for a business who relies on followers for SEO purposes.  There are a few rules of etiquette that must be followed if you want to have a great Twitter presence.  Not following these simple rules can lose you fans that you need.  If you follow the tips below, you should have no problem with Twitter etiquette and can keep the followers you have while gaining more followers in the future.

Post Meaningful Tweets

While you may want to keep your friends and family members updated about your life, you don’t need to tweet about the mundane things.  A photo of meals and talking about every minute of your life is not necessary and is even considered a breach in etiquette.  While you can certainly post a photo of a great meal you had a fabulous restaurant to promote them, you really want to keep the food pictures to a minimum.  Also, while it may seem cute, there is no need to post about the exact time and consistency of yours, your children or your partners bodily functions.  Not to seem rude but nobody really cares and this will not get you more followers.  Instead, start a conversation by asking questions or talking about current events.  Even sports are a great topic and one that people will want to read about.

Your Personal Life Should Stay Personal

Please, if you get nothing else out of this article, this one topic is vital to remember, nobody wants to hear about your personal drama.  Social media is for socializing with others, not talking about your problems every time you tweet.  Want to lose your followers?  Keep tweeting about the jerk that broke your heart or the girl who cheating on you who needs to face a firing squad.  Now, again, there are always exceptions to this rule.  You can certainly start a prayer chain for a loved one who is ill or injured and you can support your family and friends but keep the really personal stuff in your direct messages rather than your tweets.  If you do this too much, the only followers you’ll have are the ones that were purchased on a website.

Should You Always Follow Back?

It is an unwritten law that when you are followed, you follow back.  However, you should first check out the person who is following you to make sure they are legit and that they won’t spam your timeline.  Having said that, you can offer the courtesy of a follow back and then stop following them at a later time if you are not happy with them.  Remember, you want others to follow you back so you have to extend the same courtesy to the same degree.

If you stick to the above list of Twitter etiquette rules then your time on the social media site will go much smoother.

Author Bio – Sandra Smith has been blogging for ten years and is now writing specifically about social media.

The Video Formats That YouTube Supports

ventureneer-listeningIf you are not able to upload your videos to the YouTube site and you are concerned and want to know why, it may just be a simple problem.  Not all file formats are supported by the YouTube platform so you will have to make a change in order to get your videos on the site.  You don’t want to skip using YouTube as your main video sharing site because it is one of the biggest in the world.  Thankfully, there are some things that you can do and there are many other video formats that are supported.  Below are some tips for working with YouTube and your video formatting issues.

Videos Wont Upload to the Site

The first thing you need to check when you get an error message during a YouTube video upload is the size of your video.  You may be using a compatible format but if your video is too long or if the overall file is too large YouTube will reject it.  One thing you can do is to use video editing software to crop the video into parts and then upload each segment on its own.  If this does not work then you may not have the right format and this brings up another set of issues that will need to address in order to get your videos on the site.

The Reason Your Video Format is Vital

The first thing you need to know about video formatting is the compression size and why it is so important.  Compression takes a huge file and turns it into a smaller, more manageable file and for sites like YouTube, the smaller the size the better.  All websites use a computer server which is just a bunch of huge hard drives where all uploads and information is stored.  If a video isn’t compressed then imagine how much storage space would be needed when considering that YouTube has millions of users and billions of videos!  So if your video is not properly compressed into a file that is recognized by the site, then you are not going to be able to upload it and you’ll need to convert it first.

How to Convert Videos Into a YouTube Friendly File

The following are file formats supported by YouTube:

  • .avi
  • .mov
  • .mp4
  • .flv
  • .3gp

Now you may be in a panic because you don’t know anything about video editing but before you give up, you have to understand that it is not really that hard to convert your videos.  There are free video converters online that you can use and that work just as well as those that cost a great deal of money.  You may also want to look at your camera or your smart phone and see if there is a setting for the output file.  Many of the better cameras offer this option so the video is automatically compressed before you even attempt to upload it to YouTube’s site.

There is no way that anyone can increase their viewer count on YouTube if you don’t have any videos for them to watch.  You can learn about buying views and subscribers here, but still, your efforts are wasted if you don’t have at least one video on the site.

Author Bio – Otis Alexander has been helping people with their YouTube issues and blogs about this regularly.

6 Simple Ways to Vamp Up Your Business Social Media Profiles

8967321_lSocial media marketing is the newest trick of the trade for business owners today. It’s an excellent way to build brand awareness, increase customer service and just interact with your client base. But if you want to get the most from your social media, you need to create outstanding profiles that get noticed for all the right reasons.

You already know the world of business is a fast one- with many factors involved in keeping up with the competition and standing out to your target customer. Your social media accounts are a great way to represent your brand and reach your target customers where they are already- enjoying social networking.

Here are some simple ways to vamp up your business social media profiles and create an impressive representation of your brand.

Fill Out all the Info

The first very simple step you can take to improve your social media profile is to fill out all of the information it asks of you. It sounds like a simple and obvious step but it’s one that goes unnoticed by many companies. They get quick or lazy in the creation process and they don’t fill in all the blanks. You might think that your brand is large enough that people know you already or that they will recognize you when they land on your profile. However, you might not know that there are other reasons for filling out all the info.

When you fill in all the spaces in your social media profile, it makes your profile more available in search results, meaning more people will find you. This is also an opportunity to tell people more about your brand, include calls to action, invite them to your website or use this to post your mission statement, bio and more. Take advantage of all the space and opportunities given to you.

Get a Professional Profile Photo

If you want your social media profile to stand out from the many others in the average social media user’s stream, then a professional photo might be just the way to do it. Using a professional photo of a person who leads the company is often better and more personable than using your company logo- but again, it depends on the business, the social networking platform and your branding.

Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar

A social media editorial calendar will help you stay organized on what you are posting and when. This is an essential tool of more than one member of your business team will be using the social media accounts. However, even if you’re managing it all yourself, you can benefit from the editorial calendar. It will help you to brainstorm for new ideas, post content your readers will enjoy and stay consistent with your posting. This will immediately launch your profile and create a more professional appearance even to those just briefly glancing through.

Post Original Content

There’s nothing wrong with a share here and there but you will make much more progress when you post original content to your social media accounts. You want people to come to your page/account/activity stream and see things they have not already seen elsewhere. You want to give useful content that makes them want to come back again and also to share with their friends.

If you do share, make sure you attribute properly and do not infringe upon the rights of others. This includes all types of content- articles, quotes, photos and more.

Enlist the Help of a Professional

Sometimes we all need a little help and a social media/ branding specialist can help you to get your accounts started correctly, pinpoint problems in your accounts or profiles, set you up with an editorial calendar and more. A professional could come on board full time to help you or it could be a once-in-awhile opportunity to get your accounts evaluated for efficiency.

Always Represent Your Brand

If you want your social media profile to stand out from the rest, keep consistent with your brand. Everything you post, share and say should be keeping with your brand’s values and ideals. This doesn’t mean you cannot post things just for fun but your profile at-a-glance should reflect what your brand is all about.

As you can see, there are many different ways to improve your business social media profiles and portray the best impression of your brand. You can get more people to engage with your accounts when you take the time to build them properly and post content that stands out in the stream.

What tips do you have for vamping up your social media profiles? What are some examples you have seen of profiles that really stood out and impressed you?

Takeaways:

  1. Your social media profile is often the first impression someone has of your brand.
  2. Your business social media profiles should be professional but unique.
  3. Update your accounts regularly with unique, quality content to show an impressive social media profile from quick glance.

 

Creating a Holiday Editorial Calendar

content calendarIf ever there was a great time to have an editorial calendar for your blog or website, it’s during the holiday season. Holidays are overwhelming- there is so much to see and do and many people are traveling. You’re preparing for the New Year and you’re spending time with family. Adding content to your website or blog might seem like one too many tasks for the already busy season.

But you don’t have to let your blog go while the holidays are here. In fact, this is a prime time for keeping great content on your site because many people will be out of work, enjoying vacations and browsing on the Internet.

An editorial calendar will help you remove stress from the many tasks you have to do this time of year. With research, creativity and a solid plan, you can take action!

With and editorial calendar you can:

  • Avoid the stress that comes with last minute additions to your blog or the stress of not knowing what to write about.
  • Keep regular content on your blog, even during the holiday season.
  • Write and post content that is relevant and interesting- set trends and stay ahead of the trends in your industry.
  • Avoid writer’s block because you will always have a plan for what you’re going to write about.

So we know that an editorial calendar is a great idea any time of year but how do you prepare one for the holiday season? Well, the first step is to research what your readers will be celebrating. There are many different holidays this time of year aside from just Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Some examples are:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
  • Free Shipping Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Winter Solstice
  • Christmas
  • Boxing Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • College Football Games
  • New Year’s Eve

 

Research your target market and determine which of these holidays may apply to them and then plan your content around them. Consider how often you will post (every day, 2 times a week, once a week…) and use this to plan what posts you will make and when.

This works best if you have an actual calendar to use in your planning. This can be digital or a paper calendar; whichever you prefer. Mark the holidays you will be writing about on the calendar and then plan the days that you will publish up to and around the holiday.

Now spend some time brainstorming what you can write about and how you can tie this into the holiday season. For example, an editorial calendar for a parenting blog during the holidays might look like this.

Monday: Managing Manners (Teaching Your Children How to Behave During the Festivities)

Tuesday: Quick Tip (5 Moms Tells us How to Tame Toddler Tantrums)

Wednesday: Worry-free Shopping (How to Tackle Black Friday with Kids in Tow)

Thursday: Mommy Moments (A great, heart-warming story from a parent about a child)

Friday: Friday Fun! (share games, links to free apps or book downloads, etc.)

Saturday: Shake It Up! (Talk recipes, ideas to make food more fun for kids, etc)

Sunday: Top 10 List (Top 10 Toys for ___)

Rather than doing a day-of-the-week theme, you might choose instead to do a weekly theme. For example, on a small business blog, you might have these weekly categories:

Week 1: Managing Your Marketing During the Holidays

Week 2: Who is Your Target Market and How Do You Reach Them?

Week 3: Examine the Competition- What Can You Learn from Them?

Week 4: Stress-Free Holiday Business Tips

Write and Schedule

Once you have your plan in place, give yourself enough time ahead of schedule to write and post-date your posts for the appropriate days. You will no longer have to worry about what you will write about and when. You won’t wake up stressing that your blog has no content. You know that your message will be out there and that it is keeping in your brand theme and with the holiday season to draw more readers in.

Your holiday editorial calendar is your roadmap to excellent content all year round.

You can learn more about creating a social media editorial calendar in this post.

Do you use an editorial calendar? Have any tips of your own for producing holiday content?

 

Takeaways:

  1. A holiday editorial calendar will help you plan your content and take the stress out of the season.
  2. Your editorial calendar will help you plan and publish content that is interesting and useful to your readers this time of year.
  3. Learn how to use the editorial calendar to plan ahead all year round.

Interesting and Unknown YouTube Tips

happy-5th-birthday-youtube--501ecffedfAny business owner needs to make things as easy as possible when posting videos to the YouTube website either through the computer or via a smart phone.  Yes, it is vital to get as many views and subscribers to your channel and in order to do this it is important that you utilize social media when promoting the video.  For this reason, you need to make it easy for viewers to share the videos on their favorite sites like Facebook and Twitter.  If you want to make things as easy as possible on your viewers there are some things you can do.  Below are some interesting and unknown tips for an easier YouTube experience.

Connecting with Social Media

Did you know that you can associate your YouTube account with your other social media sites easily?  You may be wondering why this is very important but it is when it comes to saving time and effort for not only you but your viewers.  When you post your videos on to YouTube, you are also automatically posting them on to your other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.  You can get views on your videos much faster with the only option that would offer you views quicker would be to buy them.  You can learn more about his by clicking here.  So, instead of putting the hyperlink onto each social media site separately, you can have the posts up on all your social media at one time.

Using the Shortcuts Made for the Keyboard

One way to watch your videos and other’s videos is by using they keyboard shortcuts which allow you to navigate through videos much faster than you can with a mouse.  It is always important to watch videos of others in the same niche as your videos in order to not only get ideas but to know what videos do not work.  It is important to go through these videos as quickly as possible so you are not wasting too much of your own time and these shortcuts allow you to do this.  The space bar will play or pause the video and the right and left arrow keys advances or rewinds the video and the left and right arrow keys control the volume.  Finally, the home and end keys take the video to the beginning or the end.

Captioning Your Videos

One thing you can do that will make your video pop from all the others on YouTube is to offer custom captions.  When a person is looking through YouTube, they are more likely to stop and view a video that has unusual captions than those who offer no captions at all.  You can change both the font and the background color to make the captions more visible for those who have a hearing impairment.  When the person wants to watch your video with captioning, they only have to click on the close captioning link and then it is turned on for them.  This is also where you can set up your own personal custom captions.

Any YouTube user who wants to be more effective needs to know how to both make their videos easier to view and post but also needs to make them pop.

Author Bio – Laura Irving has been an avid blogger for ten years and is becoming an expert at YouTube.

Technocharity- Raising Funds Through Technology

Barnardo's collecting box

Donations are the lifeblood of any non-profit. It’s the constant dilemma of any charity, figuring out how to balance the energy you put into actually doing good with the effort you put into acquiring the donations that actually allow you to do that good.

Fortunately technology is giving us innovative new ways to raising funds for the charities. As well as allowing you to reach a wider audience, technology can also let you approach potential donors in new ways that avoid the negative reactions people often have towards “chuggers” and emotionally manipulative TV adverts.

For instance, across the world there are 1.2 billion smartphone owners. The trick is to find way to win over this young, tech-savvy audience on their own level.

Make donating easy

One of the easiest ways to get people to donate is to ask for their loose change. It’s a minor annoyance to them, it’s useful to you. It’s a win-win scenario. The trouble is that to do that you have to get charity workers, or at least collection tins at every location where somebody might be walking around with loose change. Until lately trying to get donations from people without asking after their loose change in person involved getting them to call you and spend minutes on the phone giving their details or going online to fill out extensive and annoying forms.

The trick is to turn everyday activities into opportunities to donate. A great example of this take a look at the Charity Miles app. The app works by getting its users to raise charity funds through the walking, running and cycling they do as part of their everyday routine.

It works by getting app users to choose from nine possible charities, and then the app keeps track the distance you run, walk or cycle, and this information is passed on to corporate sponsors who donate a certain amount of money per mile, so long as you share that activity on Facebook or Twitter.

Charities, users and corporate sponsors all win and it takes virtually no effort to set up.

Work with people who are creating great content

“Content is king” is one of those phrases that gets used so often when discussing online marketing that I believe you’re legally allowed to beat someone to death if they say it. However as annoying as it is reading that phrase over and over and over (and over) again, there is truth in it. More than “calls to action” or constantly trying to persuade people to Like or Friend your accounts, people will be drawn towards your sites if there is interesting and engaging content there that they want to see.

Ethioiaid is a good example of this. Content here doesn’t just mean great copy. The app uses amazing photography from Ethiopia, combined with a unique graphic novel for the iPad and a cinematic soundtrack that really draws you in. The app works twofold. The content educates users about the history and culture of Ethiopia and the issues the country is facing. It also generates an income by giving a quarter of all app sales to the charity.

Make a game of it

Gamification is a word that’s hot on the heels of “Content is king” for things people in social media need to shut up about, but games are a great way of engaging your audience, either driving them to find out more about your cause or even allowing you to crowd source large tasks that can be broken down into smaller component parts.

The ingeniously named iHobo app, for instance, takes the form of a sort of homeless teenage Tamigotchi.  The game was developed for the UK homeless charity, Depaul, and it presents users with the kinds of decisions homeless teenagers are met with every day, including decisions about food, shelter and support to keep off drugs and avoid illness. This educates the user, while also including a function that allows them to directly donate to the charity through the app.

Similarly, UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, helps to raise awareness of the problems faced by refugees by putting the user in the shoes of a refugee, asking them what they would do in a given situation. My Life As A Refugee takes you through various scenarios where you are forced to make life or death decisions against the clock. The app doesn’t back away from the terrible circumstances refugees face, and does an excellent job of building empathy with those who are in those situations for real.

Each of these apps does for charity jobs that would normally take a whole army of people with clipboards and change tins.

Featured images:

By Sam Wright

Sam Wright is a freelance writer who always gives generously to charity. He is currently working with http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/.

Issues to Steer Clear of When Using Twitter

fake-twitter-birdSo you finally decided your business needed a Twitter account and you’ve worked hard to get the following that you want.  While you are content, you still want more followers but you start to see a phenomenon.  Your list of followers is slowing decreasing rather than increasing.  Why is this happening?  It could be that while your tweets are on the ball and perfect, there may be other issues that are causing you to lose followers.  These same issues could be the reason you are not gaining any followers either.  Below are some every day mistakes that could be costing you your following and you don’t even realize you’re doing anything wrong.

Using Too Many Hashtags

OK, so the issue with hashtags is an ongoing one and it seems that many people still don’t get it.  If you are tweeting nothing but hashtags, then you’re probably killing your following and that is one great reason why they are leaving.  Think of how annoying it is to try and read a post that is just hashtags!  Using the last sentence as an example:  #Think #ofhow #annoyingitis #totryandread #apostthatisjust #hashtags.  How long did it take you to try and read that sentence and how frustrating did you find it?  This is why you should only use a one or two hashtags as way to trend your brand or product.  Never use so many hashtags that your entire one hundred and forty characters are taken up with them.

No Negativity, EVER!

Even though you may have friends and family on your Twitter account as followers, if you have something negative to discuss with them, you should do it in private.  If you need to use Twitter then do it from your personal account, not your business account.  Most people don’t care about what’s going wrong, how poorly you’re feeling or how frustrating your employees are.  They want positivity and they will stop following you if you are negative too often.  One way to help your SEO efforts is to have your tweets shared by your followers.  How likely is that they will be shared or retweeted if they are negative and do not offer anything of any value to the community?  The only followers who won’t care are those you may have paid for, click here for more information on how to do this.

Too Many Posts About Yourself

Of course we are our own best subject because of the familiarity but in all honesty, nobody else, besides family and friends really care about your personal life.  This is a common mistake that is made by many because they find that it is hard to post regular tweets based on business.  Actually, it is easy to tweet about business and all personal tweets should come from your personal account.  Rather than posting about what you had for lunch or where you’re heading for your holidays, post valuable information.  Seek out news and updates related to your industry such as new techniques or materials that are an improvement or that make production easier.  When you do have a lack, highlight an employee and give them the spotlight on Twitter.  These things will keep your following and will offer you more followers.

If you avoid the top three issues when tweeting, you will not only keep your followers you have now, but you will also gain more followers over the long term.

Author Bio – James Ritchie is considered an expert on the world of Twitter and blogs about his experiences.

Different Types of Article Marketing

IMG_0814Many times article writers get into the business to make some extra cash because they have a great grasp on writing and know that it can be profitable. There is much more to article marketing than just using keywords effectively and writing an interesting article that people want to read. This can be the single most effective technique you use online today to help you advertise your business or gain traffic to your websites. It’s also a valuable tool for the professional writer and it’s a direct sample of what you have for sale.

Learning the different forms of article marketing can help new writers know what their client wants without having to ask questions. The following are the most common types of writing tasks that an article marketing writer may be asked to produce:

· Blogs – Many times there is a high demand for blog writing. These are usually smaller articles that range from 200 to 300 words with some being 350 words. Blogs are a popular means for generating traffic for a website.

· SEO Articles – SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimized. This means that the articles are keyword rich and are used to increase search engine rankings for the website. These articles can be any length but are typically between 400 and 1000 words.

· Standard Articles – Standard articles are those that are not keyword heavy and rely more on content. This means that they are either informative or entertaining without being keyword rich. These are the most fun for writers because there are more options when choosing how to direct the content of the article.

· EBooks – These are the big money makers for most writers. Those who are lucky enough to get a contract for an ebook can make some decent money. The books are longer and take more time, but the price that is paid for them is well worth the time and effort.

With these tips, you can be prepared for proper article marketing, whether you are doing it for your own business or doing it as a profession.

 

Twitter Etiquette – Three Must Know Tips

twitter-love-728082For any person who is on Twitter, whether for business or for pleasure, it is vital to know what the rules of etiquette are for the site.  Sadly, most people sign up for an account and just start tweeting without thinking about the ramifications of what they are doing.  While this may not be a huge issue for some people who have very few followers, it can be a huge deal for a business who relies on followers for SEO purposes.  There are a few rules of etiquette that must be followed if you want to have a great Twitter presence.  Not following these simple rules can lose you fans that you need.  If you follow the tips below, you should have no problem with Twitter etiquette and can keep the followers you have while gaining more followers in the future.

Post Meaningful Tweets

While you may want to keep your friends and family members updated about your life, you don’t need to tweet about the mundane things.  A photo of meals and talking about every minute of your life is not necessary and is even considered a breach in etiquette.  While you can certainly post a photo of a great meal you had a fabulous restaurant to promote them, you really want to keep the food pictures to a minimum.  Also, while it may seem cute, there is no need to post about the exact time and consistency of yours, your children or your partners bodily functions.  Not to seem rude but nobody really cares and this will not get you more followers.  Instead, start a conversation by asking questions or talking about current events.  Even sports are a great topic and one that people will want to read about.

Your Personal Life Should Stay Personal

Please, if you get nothing else out of this article, this one topic is vital to remember, nobody wants to hear about your personal drama.  Social media is for socializing with others, not talking about your problems every time you tweet.  Want to lose your followers?  Keep tweeting about the jerk that broke your heart or the girl who cheating on you who needs to face a firing squad.  Now, again, there are always exceptions to this rule.  You can certainly start a prayer chain for a loved one who is ill or injured and you can support your family and friends but keep the really personal stuff in your direct messages rather than your tweets.  If you do this too much, the only followers you’ll have are the ones that were purchased on a website.

Should You Always Follow Back?

It is an unwritten law that when you are followed, you follow back.  However, you should first check out the person who is following you to make sure they are legit and that they won’t spam your timeline.  Having said that, you can offer the courtesy of a follow back and then stop following them at a later time if you are not happy with them.  Remember, you want others to follow you back so you have to extend the same courtesy to the same degree.

If you stick to the above list of Twitter etiquette rules then your time on the social media site will go much smoother.

Author Bio – Sandra Smith has been blogging for ten years and is now writing specifically about social media.

The Video Formats That YouTube Supports

ventureneer-listeningIf you are not able to upload your videos to the YouTube site and you are concerned and want to know why, it may just be a simple problem.  Not all file formats are supported by the YouTube platform so you will have to make a change in order to get your videos on the site.  You don’t want to skip using YouTube as your main video sharing site because it is one of the biggest in the world.  Thankfully, there are some things that you can do and there are many other video formats that are supported.  Below are some tips for working with YouTube and your video formatting issues.

Videos Wont Upload to the Site

The first thing you need to check when you get an error message during a YouTube video upload is the size of your video.  You may be using a compatible format but if your video is too long or if the overall file is too large YouTube will reject it.  One thing you can do is to use video editing software to crop the video into parts and then upload each segment on its own.  If this does not work then you may not have the right format and this brings up another set of issues that will need to address in order to get your videos on the site.

The Reason Your Video Format is Vital

The first thing you need to know about video formatting is the compression size and why it is so important.  Compression takes a huge file and turns it into a smaller, more manageable file and for sites like YouTube, the smaller the size the better.  All websites use a computer server which is just a bunch of huge hard drives where all uploads and information is stored.  If a video isn’t compressed then imagine how much storage space would be needed when considering that YouTube has millions of users and billions of videos!  So if your video is not properly compressed into a file that is recognized by the site, then you are not going to be able to upload it and you’ll need to convert it first.

How to Convert Videos Into a YouTube Friendly File

The following are file formats supported by YouTube:

  • .avi
  • .mov
  • .mp4
  • .flv
  • .3gp

Now you may be in a panic because you don’t know anything about video editing but before you give up, you have to understand that it is not really that hard to convert your videos.  There are free video converters online that you can use and that work just as well as those that cost a great deal of money.  You may also want to look at your camera or your smart phone and see if there is a setting for the output file.  Many of the better cameras offer this option so the video is automatically compressed before you even attempt to upload it to YouTube’s site.

There is no way that anyone can increase their viewer count on YouTube if you don’t have any videos for them to watch.  You can learn about buying views and subscribers here, but still, your efforts are wasted if you don’t have at least one video on the site.

Author Bio – Otis Alexander has been helping people with their YouTube issues and blogs about this regularly.

6 Simple Ways to Vamp Up Your Business Social Media Profiles

8967321_lSocial media marketing is the newest trick of the trade for business owners today. It’s an excellent way to build brand awareness, increase customer service and just interact with your client base. But if you want to get the most from your social media, you need to create outstanding profiles that get noticed for all the right reasons.

You already know the world of business is a fast one- with many factors involved in keeping up with the competition and standing out to your target customer. Your social media accounts are a great way to represent your brand and reach your target customers where they are already- enjoying social networking.

Here are some simple ways to vamp up your business social media profiles and create an impressive representation of your brand.

Fill Out all the Info

The first very simple step you can take to improve your social media profile is to fill out all of the information it asks of you. It sounds like a simple and obvious step but it’s one that goes unnoticed by many companies. They get quick or lazy in the creation process and they don’t fill in all the blanks. You might think that your brand is large enough that people know you already or that they will recognize you when they land on your profile. However, you might not know that there are other reasons for filling out all the info.

When you fill in all the spaces in your social media profile, it makes your profile more available in search results, meaning more people will find you. This is also an opportunity to tell people more about your brand, include calls to action, invite them to your website or use this to post your mission statement, bio and more. Take advantage of all the space and opportunities given to you.

Get a Professional Profile Photo

If you want your social media profile to stand out from the many others in the average social media user’s stream, then a professional photo might be just the way to do it. Using a professional photo of a person who leads the company is often better and more personable than using your company logo- but again, it depends on the business, the social networking platform and your branding.

Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar

A social media editorial calendar will help you stay organized on what you are posting and when. This is an essential tool of more than one member of your business team will be using the social media accounts. However, even if you’re managing it all yourself, you can benefit from the editorial calendar. It will help you to brainstorm for new ideas, post content your readers will enjoy and stay consistent with your posting. This will immediately launch your profile and create a more professional appearance even to those just briefly glancing through.

Post Original Content

There’s nothing wrong with a share here and there but you will make much more progress when you post original content to your social media accounts. You want people to come to your page/account/activity stream and see things they have not already seen elsewhere. You want to give useful content that makes them want to come back again and also to share with their friends.

If you do share, make sure you attribute properly and do not infringe upon the rights of others. This includes all types of content- articles, quotes, photos and more.

Enlist the Help of a Professional

Sometimes we all need a little help and a social media/ branding specialist can help you to get your accounts started correctly, pinpoint problems in your accounts or profiles, set you up with an editorial calendar and more. A professional could come on board full time to help you or it could be a once-in-awhile opportunity to get your accounts evaluated for efficiency.

Always Represent Your Brand

If you want your social media profile to stand out from the rest, keep consistent with your brand. Everything you post, share and say should be keeping with your brand’s values and ideals. This doesn’t mean you cannot post things just for fun but your profile at-a-glance should reflect what your brand is all about.

As you can see, there are many different ways to improve your business social media profiles and portray the best impression of your brand. You can get more people to engage with your accounts when you take the time to build them properly and post content that stands out in the stream.

What tips do you have for vamping up your social media profiles? What are some examples you have seen of profiles that really stood out and impressed you?

Takeaways:

  1. Your social media profile is often the first impression someone has of your brand.
  2. Your business social media profiles should be professional but unique.
  3. Update your accounts regularly with unique, quality content to show an impressive social media profile from quick glance.

 

Creating a Holiday Editorial Calendar

content calendarIf ever there was a great time to have an editorial calendar for your blog or website, it’s during the holiday season. Holidays are overwhelming- there is so much to see and do and many people are traveling. You’re preparing for the New Year and you’re spending time with family. Adding content to your website or blog might seem like one too many tasks for the already busy season.

But you don’t have to let your blog go while the holidays are here. In fact, this is a prime time for keeping great content on your site because many people will be out of work, enjoying vacations and browsing on the Internet.

An editorial calendar will help you remove stress from the many tasks you have to do this time of year. With research, creativity and a solid plan, you can take action!

With and editorial calendar you can:

  • Avoid the stress that comes with last minute additions to your blog or the stress of not knowing what to write about.
  • Keep regular content on your blog, even during the holiday season.
  • Write and post content that is relevant and interesting- set trends and stay ahead of the trends in your industry.
  • Avoid writer’s block because you will always have a plan for what you’re going to write about.

So we know that an editorial calendar is a great idea any time of year but how do you prepare one for the holiday season? Well, the first step is to research what your readers will be celebrating. There are many different holidays this time of year aside from just Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Some examples are:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
  • Free Shipping Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Winter Solstice
  • Christmas
  • Boxing Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • College Football Games
  • New Year’s Eve

 

Research your target market and determine which of these holidays may apply to them and then plan your content around them. Consider how often you will post (every day, 2 times a week, once a week…) and use this to plan what posts you will make and when.

This works best if you have an actual calendar to use in your planning. This can be digital or a paper calendar; whichever you prefer. Mark the holidays you will be writing about on the calendar and then plan the days that you will publish up to and around the holiday.

Now spend some time brainstorming what you can write about and how you can tie this into the holiday season. For example, an editorial calendar for a parenting blog during the holidays might look like this.

Monday: Managing Manners (Teaching Your Children How to Behave During the Festivities)

Tuesday: Quick Tip (5 Moms Tells us How to Tame Toddler Tantrums)

Wednesday: Worry-free Shopping (How to Tackle Black Friday with Kids in Tow)

Thursday: Mommy Moments (A great, heart-warming story from a parent about a child)

Friday: Friday Fun! (share games, links to free apps or book downloads, etc.)

Saturday: Shake It Up! (Talk recipes, ideas to make food more fun for kids, etc)

Sunday: Top 10 List (Top 10 Toys for ___)

Rather than doing a day-of-the-week theme, you might choose instead to do a weekly theme. For example, on a small business blog, you might have these weekly categories:

Week 1: Managing Your Marketing During the Holidays

Week 2: Who is Your Target Market and How Do You Reach Them?

Week 3: Examine the Competition- What Can You Learn from Them?

Week 4: Stress-Free Holiday Business Tips

Write and Schedule

Once you have your plan in place, give yourself enough time ahead of schedule to write and post-date your posts for the appropriate days. You will no longer have to worry about what you will write about and when. You won’t wake up stressing that your blog has no content. You know that your message will be out there and that it is keeping in your brand theme and with the holiday season to draw more readers in.

Your holiday editorial calendar is your roadmap to excellent content all year round.

You can learn more about creating a social media editorial calendar in this post.

Do you use an editorial calendar? Have any tips of your own for producing holiday content?

 

Takeaways:

  1. A holiday editorial calendar will help you plan your content and take the stress out of the season.
  2. Your editorial calendar will help you plan and publish content that is interesting and useful to your readers this time of year.
  3. Learn how to use the editorial calendar to plan ahead all year round.

Interesting and Unknown YouTube Tips

happy-5th-birthday-youtube--501ecffedfAny business owner needs to make things as easy as possible when posting videos to the YouTube website either through the computer or via a smart phone.  Yes, it is vital to get as many views and subscribers to your channel and in order to do this it is important that you utilize social media when promoting the video.  For this reason, you need to make it easy for viewers to share the videos on their favorite sites like Facebook and Twitter.  If you want to make things as easy as possible on your viewers there are some things you can do.  Below are some interesting and unknown tips for an easier YouTube experience.

Connecting with Social Media

Did you know that you can associate your YouTube account with your other social media sites easily?  You may be wondering why this is very important but it is when it comes to saving time and effort for not only you but your viewers.  When you post your videos on to YouTube, you are also automatically posting them on to your other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.  You can get views on your videos much faster with the only option that would offer you views quicker would be to buy them.  You can learn more about his by clicking here.  So, instead of putting the hyperlink onto each social media site separately, you can have the posts up on all your social media at one time.

Using the Shortcuts Made for the Keyboard

One way to watch your videos and other’s videos is by using they keyboard shortcuts which allow you to navigate through videos much faster than you can with a mouse.  It is always important to watch videos of others in the same niche as your videos in order to not only get ideas but to know what videos do not work.  It is important to go through these videos as quickly as possible so you are not wasting too much of your own time and these shortcuts allow you to do this.  The space bar will play or pause the video and the right and left arrow keys advances or rewinds the video and the left and right arrow keys control the volume.  Finally, the home and end keys take the video to the beginning or the end.

Captioning Your Videos

One thing you can do that will make your video pop from all the others on YouTube is to offer custom captions.  When a person is looking through YouTube, they are more likely to stop and view a video that has unusual captions than those who offer no captions at all.  You can change both the font and the background color to make the captions more visible for those who have a hearing impairment.  When the person wants to watch your video with captioning, they only have to click on the close captioning link and then it is turned on for them.  This is also where you can set up your own personal custom captions.

Any YouTube user who wants to be more effective needs to know how to both make their videos easier to view and post but also needs to make them pop.

Author Bio – Laura Irving has been an avid blogger for ten years and is becoming an expert at YouTube.

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