doubledawnwriting

Advice for better writing and marketing

What to Write or Blog About

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The most challenging part of keeping the content flowing and fresh on your website is discovering new things to write about.  It’s certainly frustrating to gear yourself up for a day of web writing, only to have your mind come up blank.

Read, Browse, Get Inspired

Ideas can come from everywhere.  Take a stroll through your twitter feed and see what others are talking about.  Click on the timelines of some facebook friends and see what catches your eyes.  Browse other blogs and websites and see what strikes your fancy.

I am not even remotely suggesting you copy someone else’s work.  But the more you read and engage, the more inspired you are.  It could be a single line you read elsewhere that you expand into a full article.  It could be a funny quote that your mind picks up on and fleshes out.  It might be a picture that suddenly brings a anecdote to mind.  Ideas are everywhere, you just need to allow them to come to you.

Related topics are another fabulous source to really enhance your webpage.  It adds value to your viewers and helps build your reputation.  A blog about water as a wonder drink can also branch into high water foods, such as tomatoes and watermelon, that provide nutrients as well as hydration on hot days.

Don’t Repeat Past Content

I’ve seen it done many times.  A post from a couple years ago reposted as new in an attempt to give it new life.  Not only is this a cheat for your readers, it could devalue your search engine ranking.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t post a brief update and include a link to the original post.

Linking to past posts helps keep the visitor engaged in your site, and often prompts them to browse through other content in your vaults.

Pinterest 

Pinterest also allows you to build a post around a pin.  You might have to explain to your reader how to view the pin, but it’s a great source to build some content and also allows you to cross market two platforms.  If your article has a photo, you can also pin it, giving you another marketing outlet.  This can increase your audiences on both ends, and helps solidify your sense of branding.  It’s win-win, so pin-pin!

Written by doubledawnwriting

June 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Finding a Really Great Marketing Company

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For every bad marketer, there is also a good one. The good ones don’t advertise as heavily, because quite frankly, they don’t need to. Word of mouth and referrals drive the business, so don’t be afraid to ask around.

Much like the mechanic that never fixes his own car, don’t dismiss a marketing company because it doesn’t have a flashy website. Instead, ask for references, links to client pages and a detailing of the work they will perform. Be specific. Ask if they use paid traffic services. Ask how they do keyword research. Read the content on the reference pages they have supplied.

Be Careful What You Wish For

As in any endeavour, view all promises with a healthy dose of skepticism. By the same token, keep expectations realistic. I’ve known too many people who’ve been duped by underhanded marketers, simply because legitimate marketing companies could not meet their demands.

Never demand that you must have the number one search engine ranking. Never act like you’re doing the company a favour by bringing them business. Never act like seo marketing is easy, painless and really no big deal. Never set unreasonable targets and deadlines. Never try to dangle the carrot on the stick.

Why?

You will offend the legitimate marketers, and they will turn down your business. Honest and trustworthy marketing companies put effort and time into the jobs they do, and should be treated with respect. When you hire a professional, treat them with professionalism.

Legitimate marketing companies will have a strategy, timeline and will work with you for the overall goals of your website. They will discuss different elements of your website, offer suggestions to improve the quality and possibly the design. They will help you market your business itself, not just the website.

Marketing your business is the key that separates the good from the bad. The fact is, being at the height of search rankings doesn’t guarantee sales increases. The value of a company is based on how much revenue it can generate, not how well it ranks in search engines.

A good marketing company will improve ranking, but it will also improve the customer experience and sales conversion. Social media presence, interactive contests, newsletters and other engaging activities are a large part of promoting your business and improving your profits. Marketing is not about Google, it’s about making money.

What it comes down to is this: if your marketing efforts haven’t improved your bottom line, then it’s time to look for a better marketing and seo company. Results matter.

3 Red Flag Practices of Marketing Scammers

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It often surprises me how focused people become on earning the number one page rank results on search engines. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for page rank, but the obsessive desire to be number one often opens the door for predators and unscrupulous practices.

When to Walk Away from a Marketer

It’s easy to get lulled into promises of high traffic and high ranking. The fact is, most of these companies may actually deliver on what they promise. The trouble comes from a consumer who doesn’t really understand what type of service is actually being provided.

Obscure Keywords:

Less than professional marketing or seo companies will offer to give you first page ranking with a particular keyword. Take a close look at this keyword. While it’s true, you can do a search of that keyword and discover your website popping up on the first page, you must ask yourself a simple question. “Will my potential customers be using this keyword?”

Using obscure keywords lowers competition on that phrase and makes it much simpler for a marketer to improve a page’s ranking. However, there is no value in being number one on a search term that nobody uses. It’s a deliberate attempt to mislead the client. In other words, it’s a swindle. Take a little time to look up the proposed keyword and decide if it’s really going to help your seo efforts.

Paid Traffic:

Traffic takes time and dedication to build. Be wary of a sudden surge in comments and traffic, especially if the sales volume isn’t there. Websites like myLot and micro job sites allow marketers to post simple penny jobs to force traffic or comments to a site. They may offer a couple cents per comment, they may offer a few pennies to sign up with an individual email address, or maybe just to like or tweet something.

The website owner usually has no idea the increased traffic or comments are actually bought and paid for. They are hoaxed into believing the miracle marketer is driving traffic to the site. Reports showing individual (and completely valid) email addresses or ip addresses are used to confirm the so-called results.

Plagiarized Content:

Never, ever publish content without proofreading it first. There are some very basic indicators that the content is not original. You don’t even need copyscape to check it. Try typing the first sentence into a search bar and see what pops up.

When you see unusual words that interrupt the flow of the reading, it could be a duplicate. Article spinners randomly adjust various word within a page. For example, child might be changed to youth, minor or juvenile. If enough of these word are changed, the content will likely pass copyscape. That does not make it original.

Plagiarism is not just the actual words, but the intention. Changing a few words around and replacing others is still infringing on copyright. While many articles may use the same research or ideas, the structure should have a sense of uniqueness. Duplicated content may take a while to be discovered by search engines, but once it’s flagged, not only could your website be banned from search engines, you could find yourself in legal troubles.

In the end, it’s your money and your reputation on the line. The old adage rings out loud and clear when it comes to marketing and seo companies and the promises they make. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Always on the Learning Curve

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I tried something new today.  It thrills and delights me to try new things, because I honestly believe that’s what drives the human core.  It keeps us fresh, thinking and stimulates the brain.

The other day, I came across a site called Blurb.  Have you heard of it?  It’s an absolutely fascinating site that allows the member to print and publish all manner of books.

I’ve done several photo books via Shutterfly over the years.  The quality is good, but it can be a little pricey, mostly due to cross border shipping costs.  So I plunged in and created a photo book on Blurb to give it a try.

I take my pictures very seriously.  My camera and I are often drafted for events and occasions.  My annual Year in Review photo books are now tradition.  So I’m always a little hesitant to try something new.

But Blurb appeals to me, because it’s also a place to publish and sell print books.  I love this idea.  I browsed through an assortment of novels, poetry collections and recipe books.  The price to print and publish is relatively low, so it’s a good resource to keep in mind if I ever get around to writing a novel.

I took a couple days and fashioned some of my more artistic and dramatic photos together with some poetry to create a starter book to test it out.  Now it’s just the agonizing wait for shipping to see if they live up to what I’m accustomed to.  However, once I did a little research and read some reviews, I felt much more confident that Blurb could deliver on quality.

Nevertheless, I did something new.  If you’d like to take a look at my book, here’s the preview link.   Let me know what you think.

So, what will you do that’s new today?

 

 

 

 

Written by doubledawnwriting

March 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Word Blunders: Effect or Affect?

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The battle for grammatically correct content seems to be never ending. Words we use in every day conversations stump us when we type them out for the screen.

The effect of these common blunders affect the character of our message.

Words that carry the same linguistic properties can stump even the most seasoned professional. In some instances, the meanings are quite close. Affect and effect are a perfect example, since their meanings are intertwined.

Affect: This word means to have an effect on something. Yes, really. No wonder we have trouble keeping these two straight. However, I can give you some help.

Affect can be used as a noun or a verb, but it usually involves emotion or some sort of change.

She was deeply affected by his eloquent poem.”

In the context of that sentence, affect clearly refers to an emotional stir. Affect can also refer to an influence or impact.

Roses affect her allergies.”

In this context, affect is implying the influence that the roses will have to someone with an allergy to them.

Effect: This word is most frequently describing a consequence. It’s the end result of some other action.

His reckless actions at the track had a big effect on his family.”

In the above example, it’s easy to see that effect is not referring to emotion, but the consequence of the deed.

The proposed changes are scheduled to take effect next month.”

In this case, effect is used to describe the anticipated result and its potential occurrence. Again, note the lack of emotional context. Effect usually has a sense of being solid or absolute, more factual than emotional.

Memory Aids

It’s all good and well to read and understand how each word is used. But when you’re on the spot, it can be tough to remember which one you need. Here’s a little help.

Affect = Affection. Affect is most commonly used in terms of emotion and influence. Since affection is an emotion, it’s a good word association to help clear your thoughts and bring you to the correct spelling.

Effect = End Result. An effect is usually something final. The end result or anticipated end result. When you are looking at your use of the word in writing, think about “special effects” used in movies to help you remember the spelling. A special effect is used to create a final onscreen result.

If all else fails…

If you still find yourself stuck for which word to use, by all means, use a synonym.

She was deeply moved by his eloquent poem.”

Roses aggravate her allergies.”

His reckless actions at the track had a big impact on his family.”

The proposed changes are scheduled to take place next month.”

Making Videos Go Viral

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I was watching the Celebrity Apprentice the other night, and the task was to create a viral video. The entire concept of creating something with the intention of turning it into an internet phenomenon suggests it’s a daily business practice.

Yes, social marketing includes YouTube. Yes, many a marketing plan tries to lull in potential clients with the use of video. But can you really create a viral video? Is there a secret mix of creativity and clever distribution that can drive millions of views to a single broadcast?

Neither the men or the women on Celebrity Apprentice really seemed to nail the concept. I will say, good efforts were brought forth by both teams. No blame can be appointed, because it’s a tricky task. We rarely see commercialized product endorsements on the top 10 list of global viral videos.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It means marketing companies often fall short, but not for lack of effort. It’s the nature of the beast. They are simply too focused on endorsing a product. After all, that’s what they’re paid for.

Two Key Elements of Viral Videos

  1. Emotional Connection:   Viral videos are passed around by internet users who happen upon them and are compelled to click that share button. It’s an absolute, 100%, genuine, emotional response. Videos that trigger this reaction have touched the viewer in some way.

   It might be laughter, it might invoke our sense of outrage, it might make us feel sentimental. It might remind us of our past, or inspire us about the future. There are a few well orchestrated exceptions, but most viral videos are not created by a marketing firm. They are amateur. They are imperfect and sometimes barely in focus.

  1. Utter Lack of a Large Target Audience:    Marketing companies focus on brand imaging and target markets. Converting viewers into buyers is the name of the game. While they have some success within the intended audience, the true nature of viral videos crosses all the demographical lines.The videos that take the internet by storm, also take the owners of the clip by surprise. They were never intended to be online sensations. It was just a little something to share with friends, relatives or school chums. It’s daily life. It’s misadventures. It’s social awareness.Whether the video breaks your heart, makes you laugh until you cry or leaves you numb with horror, the call to action comes when you are instantly moved to share it with others.

How to Make a Viral Video

If you really want to make a viral video, brand promotion needs to be an afterthought. The most important element is to reach people. Touch them on an emotional level.

Go ahead and make the commercially branded, polished video to uphold your professional image. But when you’re done, take a close look at the cutting room floor. The instructional video about how to properly paint a ceiling is a great accent to a website. Yet the clips showing the paint tray flying off the scaffolding and splattering the walls and crew are a lot more entertaining to the masses.

Clever videos have been created using a series of bloopers and spontaneous moments that have drawn huge numbers of views. Adding a soundtrack just adds to the entertainment value (and saves you from bleeping any curse words).

Get Real and Get Inspired

Creating a viral video is not about thinking outside the box. It’s about thinking inside human nature. We can all relate to the mishaps and fallacies of life. Which little anecdotes do you share with friends and family? What are the classic, “I-can’t-believe-that-happened” tales that have been passed around for years?

Need some inspiration? Take a look at Urlesque’s list of 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos. Take note of the relevance, the emotional impact, the use of music and the play on pop culture. If you want to be a millionaire, take advice from millionaires. If you want to be an internet icon, study those who are already there.

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I came across this blog post which is written with non-profits in mind, but I think it applies to everybody. Extremely well written and full of valuable information that just about everyone can put to good use.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

The following is an excerpt from the newly released Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofitsand was published in the September 2011 edition of Fundraising Success Magazine (@frsuccess). However, do to word count constraints the content below is not in its full entirety. In the book, this section (taken from Chapter 2) is twice the length seen below.  Just a FYI. 🙂

11 Qualities of an Effective Social Media Manager

Despite all the buzz about social media, the reality is that your social media campaigns are only as good as the human being(s) behind them. Going “viral” on social media sites is extremely rare, and instantaneous success is a myth. Being an effective social media manager is both an art and a skill. Some personalities are more inclined to be successful at managing and inspiring online communities, but the vast majority of practitioners will…

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Written by doubledawnwriting

March 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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