Category Archives: Blogging

Lorrie Thomas
Social Media Marketing Management: Don’t Go it Alone

When it comes to getting social marketing work done, it is very common for me to hear people say things like, “I know I should be doing more on social media,” or “Oh, I am so behind on my blog writing” or “I haven’t had time, but I will try to write some social media posts this weekend” or “I need to learn how to do my own images.”

There can be a lot of guilt and shame when you don’t feel like you are getting enough social media marketing done. Get over it! Guilt and shame are negative – these bad feelings take away the enjoyment and can ultimately lead to failure.

Let’s look at the positive! When I am asked how I get everything done for our clients and my company’s social media marketing I tell the truth. I get it all done BY NOT DOING IT ALL! You can’t do it all by yourself, so stop trying to!

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Social Media Marketing Management: Don’t Go it Alone. Here’s how:

Delegate the workload
Delegating is one of your most powerful tools to get web marketing in motion. You are only one person and you only have a limited amount of time! Rather than spending your weekends and after-hours time working on blogging and social media posts (pssst.. if you are working on the weekends to keep up with your web marketing, there is something seriously wrong!) assign some of these tasks to others!

I would not be able to manage my workload and keep marketing going if I didn’t delegate tasks to my Web Marketing Therapy team. I also wouldn’t have content as creative as we get it without others chiming in! I need help to keep content fresh, relevant and interesting!

One of my secret steps to getting web marketing in motion is that I talk and one of the WMT teammies writes – organizing my chaos of content into a blog post. Then all I have to do is edit! Ahhhhh 🙂

Editing is a lot faster than creating material from the ground up. Ask others to help you write or use a dictation service to get the content out there!

Stay organized – plan ahead
There are a lot of tools you can use to keep ourselves accountable for posting regularly. Technology can help you be less “alone”. I use my Google calendar and write in set days I am going to post on social media. I also research national holidays and national observances for our clients a(s well as for our own company posts) for fun and widely talked about topics . Tools like Hootsuite can help you and your team manage your social networks and schedule posting.

Recycle
You don’t have to stay up late on a Friday night writing up a new blog post – and here is why! There is a HUGE likelihood that you already have a great content written. Good content is always good content. I often share posts I wrote from 4-5 years ago! Don’t look at the white space where you are supposed to post and feel like it’s all on you. It’s not, use what you have!

Reuse content that is still relevant! Infographics, images, blog posts, even videos! All of these can be shared for more social media marketing content!

Why kill yourself creating content when you already have awesome content to share? Don’t make life harder on yourself!

Remember, you are not alone.
Social media marketing can seem daunting at times with all the sharing, tweeting, liking, blogging, snapping, etc., etc., etc. We’ve all been there. And it can be easy to get behind, especially if you are trying to do it all on your own. You are not alone! But you can be ahead of the others by changing your mindset and rising above it!

Social media marketing won’t be scary or stressful if you use healthy and manageable marketing tactics!

And if you ever want need advice, support or help managing things, get on my therapy couch! 🙂

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virtualwordspecialist
The Comfort Zone is No Place for Marketing

It’s unhealthy in marketing to get comfortable. As the web evolves (and it does often), we must evolve if we want to keep up and remain relevant. Get motivated! Here’s to healthy marketing decisions in 2015.

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virtualwordspecialist
Understanding Copyright Use of Web Images

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image: morgueFile free photo

Images used with text on the web are not only visual eye candy but can also (when used with search optimization best practices) great for SEO.

But know that there are rules when using images!  Basic understanding and education of copyright use for web images can help avoid common (and sometimes costly) mistakes while still enhancing web content with images.

An article by a site called SkilledUp.com called: “Web Photos 101: Copyright ‘Fair Use’ For Web Images” provides easy-to-understand language to better understand image copyright “fair use” that doesn’t require a law degree to interpret.

It’s important to start with the basics and define what copyright means. The SkilledUp article defines copyright as the following:

  • A federal law of the United States that protects original works of authorship.
  • work of authorship that includes literary, written, dramatic, artistic, musical and certain other types of works.
  • Established as soon as the original work begins (applies to work-in-progress and incomplete work)
  • Automatic meaning there is no special paperwork like trademarks and patents.
  • The copyright owner has exclusive rights to reproduce, showcase publicly, change, and distribute said work.

The general rule of thumb is that one cannot use a copyrighted photo without express authorization from the owner. Copyright law contains a “Fair Use” clause that balances out the interest of the general public. That’s where photo and image sharing comes into play.

Most photo-sharing sites make their license use conditional generally through the specific use of image attribution. This license allows re-distribution and re-use of a licensed work on the condition that the creator is appropriately credited.

But never fear – There are royalty-free images out there that are an option.

Here are three important tips to using royalty free images:

1) Make sure the royalty free images you use are from reputable sources. When you keep track of your images and use rights (recommended) you will have a legal backing should you receive a cease and desist letter for an image and need to present evidence to your legal counsel.

2) Make sure you understand the copyright restrictions and terms of use. Creative Commons provides an easy to understand guide (but not all photo sharing sites do so be aware).

3) Revise or remove blog, website or social media images if you are not sure of their origin. Consider the quote by Social Media Examiner, A picture is worth a thousand words, but when it’s protected by copyright it is only worth three words: cease and desist.” (See full article).

You can always pay for images if searching the web is too time consuming. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind, but if budgets don’t allow, here are some free and paid image resources to consider.

Royalty free image sources:

Paid:

Additional sources:

Creative Commons human written attribution guidelines: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

Creative Commons definition of image attribution: http://opendefinition.org/licenses/cc-by/

Disclaimer: the information provided in this post is for marketing purposes only and does substitute legal advice for copyright matters.

virtualwordspecialist
Five Steps to Checking Free Images for Social Posting

Images bring aesthetic value to social media posts: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + Pinterest, and more. Word of caution: make sure those free web images you used to enhance your posts are really “free to use.” Garry_Knight_Picture_of_pictures-imageAn article by Matt Morgan for Search Engine Watch titled “How to Find Free Images with Google Advanced Image Search” is a must read as he cautions against using “free” images without checking Google Advanced Image Search first.

His simple five step process (with screen shots) can help you avoid or the image deleted from your website or worse copy wright infringement correspondence from the owner!

Image credit: Garry Knight Flickr CC

Here are Matt’s five steps to checking free images: (click on the article above for visual aids).

Step 1 – Enter a search term in Google Images search

Step 2 – Click the Gear icon, then select Advanced search

Step 3 – Scroll down and use the usage rights drop down menu to select free to use or share, even commercially.

Step 4 – Click the Advanced Search button.

Step 5 – Double check the image using TinEye reverse image search. Important note: As Matt points out, this extra step is important as other webmasters and bloggers may have removed the copyright and metadata from the image and re-uploaded without the owner’s permission.

More image sharing resources: Google’s Advanced search images generally provide stock photos, but it can be limited. If you are looking for more variety of free or nearly free images, the following open source and sharing sites should give you a nice selection to choose from. (Check out each site for their terms of use).

The Web Marketing Therapy team loves sharing great tips and ideas. Let us know what your favorite image sharing sites are!

Additional Sources: Hub spot:  http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx

Copyblogger: http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-arresting-images/

Katherine L. Garcia
How To Get Your Work Published Online

Getting your work published on other websites (namely online editorial sites) may not always be easy, but it is possible. I’m here to tell you how to make it happen…in five simple steps.

Before you begin, know that mindset is critical.  The key to getting your work published online is to really want it. (And of course, your content needs to be good!)

1. Start by writing down all of the sites you want your work to be published on. It can vary from a small blog site to a big name online site.

2. Once you’re done choosing your sites, research the type of content those sites are sharing with their viewers. Do they have a conversational or formal tone? Get a feel for the way they operate their business.

3. From your list, narrow it down to 2-3 websites that have a similar tone in writing style, and write one piece as if you were writing it for them.  Content needs to be distinct and relevant to the site’s readership.

4. After your piece has been written, share it with someone you trust – someone who will give you an honest opinion and check for grammar issues. One of the biggest reasons people get declined is due to their lack of grammar, so please, proofread your work!

5. Next, choose one of the sites your work was written for and go to their contact page to attain their email info. Then comes the important part: send them an email asking them nicely that you’d like to be a writer for them. Attach a portrait photo, a short bio and your edited piece. Then you wait.

Then rinse, repeat 🙂

If you don’t hear from them after two weeks or get kindly declined, go to another website from your list and send them the exact same content. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you make sure your content goes well with the site’s values and theme. You don’t want to send a how-to-write piece to a fashion online magazine or something funny to a formal online editorial.

One of my personal passions is sharing philosophical content.  I wanted my work to be on relevant community sites that attract ideal readers. By successfully promoting myself, I have been able to have my content published online. When I wrote my first piece, I sent it out to my first choice and never got a response. So what did I do? I sent out the exact same piece to another popular website and to my surprise, they loved it! The moral of the story is to stay consistent and don’t give up. If they don’t like your piece, you can always write another one for them. By staying diligent to becoming a writer to these sites, you are creating opportunities that will benefit you. Thus, empowering yourself.

Here is one of my latest posts called We Are the Gardeners of Our Own Friendships.

Happy content marketing!

 

Katherine L. Garcia
The Difference Between a Blog and a Press Release

I often get asked, what’s the difference between a blog post and a press release? Well, I’m here to breakdown the differences (and similarities!) for you.

Let’s begin with blogs:

Blogs are almost always written in a conversational tone – just like if you’re talking to someone. Blogging welcomes feedback, allowing readers to post their own comments and questions, which helps create conversations. This allows readers to build a relationship with the organization, which can increase sales.

Blogging is also a superb way to demonstrate customer service. For example, let’s say someone left a question or a comment on your blog. By you responding to the comment in an educational, helpful manner, you are demonstrating your commitment to customer service (and showing how proactive you are in managing your web work!). Blogs are wonderful because they put a human face to an organization – building virtual bonds and friendships!

Plus, blogs don’t need to be long or just text. No siree! They can be super short and can include drawings and videos, providing more content options. Gee, I love options.

Most importantly in blogging, humor and fun is always welcomed. 🙂

Press releases are a little different.

A press release has a standard format (see The Marketing Therapist’s post on How to Write a Press Release for helpful specifics) and are formal.  They address the needs of journalists who are constantly looking for a story to write about and they also speak to current and prospective customers. The goal behind writing a press release is “just the facts mam”.  They educate and give interesting information.

Press Releases are created to attract buzz around a new product or service, general news, or an upcoming event. Press releases also call for a specific format to be written in, which includes a title, a subhead, a quote, the body, and a boilerplate (a summary of the organization).

Press releases can be posted on your website and (if applicable) be sent to local online news sites and event calendars. A few handful of distributing sites are free, while others can cost a lot of money (hundreds!), making it a big difference from blogs, which are totally free.

Blogging and writing press releases are both powerful search engine optimization tools that can increase visibility. They are a brilliant way to create fresh news and can enhance marketing success. So whatever you choose, blogging or writing press releases or both, write on!