Do you blog regularly?
Are you looking for tools to make the process easier?
Blogging is hard work and it takes a lot of time to do it well. Wouldn’t it be great if you could streamline parts of that process?
In this article, you’ll find a list of tools, apps and advice you can use to find your groove and take care of blogging business.
#1: Brainstorm Blogging Ideas
When you need inspiration for your next blog post, where do you go? You can avoid blogger’s block by trying out these idea-generators to quickly get your creative juices flowing.
How to Use Quora to Cook Up Great Content: Adrienne Erin writes a pretty inspiring post about scanning Quora to find popular conversations and using those topics to create blog content.
Don’t Know What to Write About? Get Ideas From the Blog Topic Generator [Free Tool]: Ginny Soskey introduces HubSpot’s handy new topic generator. You simply put in three terms (nouns) you’d like to blog about and the tool spits out several topics. Of course, the topics aren’t always 100% perfect, but you can tweak them to make them work for you.
Let HubSpot help you find a topic to write about.
Need a Google Alerts Replacement? Meet TalkWalker: Since the future of Google Alerts is unknown, this alternative tool, suggested by Gary Price, might do the trick.
SearchEngineLand.com shares Google Alert alternatives.
#2: Get Organized to Be Productive
You have ideas, but now what? Keep track of them and organize your thoughts with cool online tools you can access from anywhere. Check out these resources that help you manage your ideas so you can make the most of your time.
How to Use Evernote as a Blogger: Michael Hyatt kills it in this timeless post where he shares his personal workflow using Evernote. His suggestion for setting up a blog template in Evernote is definitely worth the click.
MichaelHyatt.com walks you through using Evernote.
15 Tips & Tricks to Get More Out of Google Drive: If you’re not using Google Drive, you’ll be surprised how much you can get out of it! Brian Voo’s article introduces some cool ways to use Google Drive to do everything from mind-mapping to editing images.
How to Use Google Calendar to Create an Editorial Calendar: The best way to keep track of your ideas is an editorial calendar. Some people use spreadsheets, others use pen and paper. Rebecca Livermore explains why you should switch to Google Calendar and even gives you a step-by-step guide for getting started.
Learn to use Google Calendar as an editorial tool on AmyPorterfield.com.
#3: Optimize Your Content
Keywords not only help readers find you, they can also help you flesh out your post ideas. If you don’t know much about SEO (and really, even if you do), check out these posts that give you tips and advice about tools that can get you started.
Google Keyword Planner: The Ultimate Guide: Ask Ian Cleary any question about social media tools and he’ll write you an “Ultimate Guide.” So if you’re wondering about the ultimate tool for keyword research, look no further than his outstanding post about Google’s Keyword Planner.
Find out how to use Google’s Keyword Planner from RazorSocial.com.
Get SEO Tips When You Need Them: For novice bloggers who aren’t sure how SEO works, Matthew Tschoegl does a great job introducing InboundWriter’s WordPress plugin. It’s basically a “consultant on your dashboard.” It’s a paid plugin, but definitely check it out to see if it’s a fit for you.
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Moz is the SEO site. Their guide has been downloaded over a million times! That’s a good sign that it’s info you need. Even seasoned bloggers will learn a thing or two.
There’s a great SEO walkthrough on Moz.com.
#4: Find or Make Your Own Images (Fast!)
You know how important compelling images are for your blog, but it’s not always easy or cheap to find them. These articles show you how to find copyright-free images or make stunning graphics of your own!
How and Why I Use Photo Pin to Find Free Images for My Blog: John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing explains why he stopped using iStockphoto, Shutterstock and other image sites and started using Photo Pin. Be careful—you might be persuaded to change your mind too!
DuctTapeMarketing.com shares an image finding option.
Tool for Screenshots: Awesome Screenshot: If you’re still trying to capture screenshots using Command-Shift-3 or -4, stop! There’s a better way. Check out this simple demonstration by Amy Lynn Andrews.
How to Make a Banner for Your Blog Using Gimp (for free!): If you’ve ever wondered how to make cool banners and incorporate them into your blog post, this article by Karen Lewis of Simply Amusing Designs illustrates (complete with screenshots) how it’s done. Give it a try—it’s not difficult at all. [NOTE: This site is in construction until 2/28/14. Check the link next week.]
Creating a Header Image for Your Blog: PicMonkey is an awesome free site (with a premium subscription option) to create and edit photos for your blog. Julie DeNeen, from Fabulous Blogging, also offers more advanced tips in her post, 10 Design Tips Using PicMonkey That You Might Not Know About!
Learn how to use PicMonkey over on FabulousBlogging.com.
#5: Tell the World
After all of the hard work of writing and optimizing your blog post, you’d better make sure everyone in your network sees it and shares it with their friends too. Here are some nifty tools and guides to help your blog post go that extra mile.
5 Social Sharing Plugins Reviewed: Dan Norris lays it all out with “what we like” and “what we don’t like” about five popular sharing plugins. Now you’ll know what to expect before jumping in.
Explore some great plugins on WPCurve.com.
Need a New Tool? 3 Social Sharing Tools That Do Something Specific: I like how Amanda DiSilvestro emphasizes the “do something specific” aspect of these tools. Indeed, these three tools are so specific you’ve probably never heard of them, but you should definitely give them a whirl.
Moz.com shares sharing tools.
The Essential Guide to Content Sharing: Yes, another Ian Cleary article (because he’s the tool guru, remember?). This time Ian’s “Ultimate Guide” includes 13 tools you can use to get the word out about new posts. Some of the tools you’ve seen, some you haven’t and some you should probably use more. Definitely check this one out.
What do you think? Which of these tools have you tried? Please share your experience in the comment box below.
Borrowed Relevance: How to Engage Your Audience When You Have a Boring Brand
“There are two kinds of brands – brands that people talk about and brands that people don’t talk about.” ~ Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research Analyst and co-author of Groundswell.
Sexy brands (Apple, Facebook, and Harley Davidson) are ‘talked about’ brands – they sell themselves. Boring brands are tough because people don’t care about them. Marketers of such brands have to figure out how to get people talking about something they really don’t care about.
Is there a way around this?
The answer is “Yes!’ Borrowed relevance is a fairly new concept proposed by Josh Bernoff, in which he suggests that boring brands must encourage people to talk about something – even though the conversation is not about the brand itself.
There are several ways to do this:
- One way is to identify your organization’s core values and then start a conversation about them. Those values might be community, work-life balance, diversity or empowerment. Liberty Mutual (from the boring category of insurance) launched the Responsibility Project as “the place to discuss doing the right thing.” By creating a platform where moral decision-making was the trending topic , Liberty Mutual shrouded themselves in relevance and (more importantly) social conversation.
- Another way is to invite your community to talk about their own set of circumstances. Johnson & Johnson for example created a Facebook page for mothers with ADHD kids. They figured that they couldn’t spark an engaging conversation about their ADHD drug. But they correctly concluded that sufferers of the ailment (and their families) have their own set of interesting problems and why not talk about that? Their Facebook audience is a whopping 19,000 fans strong!
- The other way that ‘borrowed relevance’ could be applied is to start a conversation about an entirely different brand with the intention of ‘borrowing’ some of their appeal for yourself. In 2007 Doritos invited customers to create their own Superbowl ads – Turns out, that Superbowl (or any ad contest for that matter) are more exciting concepts than corn chips.
So if you’re a business that’s selling a product that doesn’t generate much interest, then the key is to borrow something that is relevant to people (topic, issue or concept), create a platform to discuss it while treading lightly on your own branding. This way, you will be able to identify your own (few) brand enthusiasts who will become very influential in spreading the word about your organization.
9 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Content Marketing Consultant
Hiring the right content marketing consultant is a significant business decision. Ideally you want someone with whom you will enjoy a great working relationship, but you also want to make sure that the person has experience, vision and business knowledge.
Here are 9 questions to ask yourself when vetting your potential hire.
#1. How much content marketing experience do they have?
To be a consultant of anything, you need a set amount of experience. But with content marketing, the concept, the talent, and the technology are all new (even though the practice of telling stories to promote a business is not).
If you consider that veteran content marketers have been at it for about 10 to 12 years now, that means the majority of consultants have much, much less than that. It’s important to keep this in mind as you decide whether you will hire based on experience.
#2. Do they understand the basics of content marketing?
Even more important than experience (I think) is the understanding of what content marketing is. Most organizations are still confused by the term, so it is even more important that the consultant is able to educate authoritatively on this subject. For instance they should know the difference between content marketing and social media, or similar subjects such as inbound marketing, and digital marketing.
#3. Do they understand the business value of content marketing?
Your potential consultant should also understand that content marketing is business marketing. She should be able to connect the dots between the creation and distribution of relevant content with the achievement of tangible business goals such as customer acquisition and retention, increased sales, reduced marketing costs and even operational efficiencies.
#4. What type of content marketing campaigns have they initiated in the past?
You want to see what kind of content marketing projects your potential consultant has done in the past so that you can evaluate her effectiveness as a professional. Her portfolio is a good indicator of where her core strengths lie and whether her past experience is a good match for your organization’s needs.
#5. How much do they value measurement of content marketing strategy?
The old adage ‘what can’t be measured, can’t be managed’ rings true for content marketing as well. A consultant who neglects measurement tactics cannot be trusted to steer you in the right direction. Find out what methods she has employed in the past for measuring content marketing and watch out for ambiguous answers as these spell major weaknesses in her strategy.
#6. Does their personality match your needs?
People do business with those they know, like and trust. Spend some time getting to know your potential consultant and dig deeper by asking questions that reveal her personality. Ask her how she would handle specific situations. Remember that a consultant is responsible for guiding your business. Be sure that you choose someone you can trust, respect and generally feel comfortable with.
#7. Do you have a common connection or referral?
How did you connect with your potential hire? It’s a wise idea to choose someone who has been recommended by a friend or peer. This way you can find out more information from the one who referred her, and cross-check the information that she has given you about herself.
#8. Do they use content marketing themselves?
The seller has to believe in the product they are selling. So when choosing a content marketing consultant, be sure to check that she is practicing content marketing herself. Does she have a consistent blog, does she send out a regular newsletter, does she use social media, what kind of online communities does she belong to? Remember, consultants are business owners too and they should practice what they preach.
#9. What’s your gut feeling?
After all is said and done, what is your gut feeling about this person? Does she make you feel uncomfortable? Do you trust her? If something doesn’t feel right, your best bet is to ditch her and start over. Trust your intuition to guide your decision and try not to second-guess yourself.
Over to you: I feel like I’ve missed something. What other questions would you add to this list?
Using Data to Create Healthcare Narratives
I mentioned in a previous post that “important stories live in our data”.
Particularly in healthcare where tons of data abound.
The problem is that healthcare is not producing enough good stories to support decision-making in the industry.
Instead what we have is an explosion of reports, spreadsheets, charts and tables such as this:
For most people this kind of data is useless and invites lots of questions: What is this? What is happening? Why? What do we do with it?
But if you can translate it into a narrative or make it visual so that people are able to understand it then it becomes useful. Even physicians and decision-makers in the industry could use easier ways to understand this kind of data.
Something like this infographic below makes more sense (not related to above data-set):
Use visualizations not data to communicate important messages
This infographic provides a clear narrative about childhood injuries. The information is easily understandable, usable and actionable. There is no danger of jumping to the wrong conclusion.
But healthcare organizations continue to produce a ton of data hoping to glean meaningful insights that will help their decision making. Even when their own employees don’t have the skills to translate the data. Hence mountains of data heap up without a clear direction as to how it can be used.
I don’t think you have to be a data scientist to handle data. Technologies such as Google Fusion, Adobe Illustrator, Tableau and others are empowering all kinds of people to interpret data and present it to others.
In fact I recently enrolled in the Knight Center of Journalism’s second massive open online course (MOOP), ‘Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization.’ The course is taught by Prof. Alberto Cairo, author of ‘The Functional Art.’ We’re learning how to create data visualizations and to discover hidden stories from data.
This week for example I learned a simple approach to storytelling through data from Andy Kirk’s book, Data Visualization: A Success Design Process (A great resource for data enthusiasts!). Here’s the outline:
#1. Scan the data
Let’s say you’re presented with the following table of data (click to enlarge) and are asked to create a story for your audience. The table is titled, ‘Frequencies of Circulatory Diseases Among the U.S. Adult Population’:
The first thing you would do is to scan it with your eyes and see if anything interesting stands out. For example I see that hypertension is the most common type of circulatory disease in the United States.
#2. Examine the data
Next try to become more familiar with the data by examining some descriptive and statistical elements. For example there are two main variables in the table above. One for Selected Demographic and the second for Frequency of Selected disease. Also there are four demographic categories – age, gender, ethnic group and level of education. This exercise helps you to see important attributes in the data.
#3. Contextualize the subject matter
Prepare the data in a way that gives more insight. For example you could find some co-relations and do some calculations to produce percentages of frequency. In this case you discover that 25% of U.S. adults suffer from hypertension. At this point you may (or may not) start to sense the beginnings of a story.
#4. Develop editorial focus
To start shaping the story ask yourself some basic questions about the data. ‘What initially crossed my mind when I first saw the data? What kind of trends or patterns do I see? What kind of analysis might be relevant to my audience? Let your imagination roam and seek ideas that will make your content more interesting.
#5. Find a visual representation
Next you will need to focus on a data visualization that will answer these questions. It could be a bar chart, a bubble map or an infographic like the one above. The key thing is to create a visual from which the audience can perceive a story easily, efficiently and accurately.
No body wants to waste time pouring over meaningless data.
Time is money and (healthcare) decision makers have little of it. For them insights gained from data are more beneficial than the data itself. I believe they should explore available technologies (such as those mentioned above) to empower their employees to work with data. I know that stories resonate and visuals stick. This is one way to turn all that complex data into something people can use to make important decisions.
Your Turn: How is your organization using data to help fuel decision making? Are you first translating it into narrative form? Please share your views in the comment box below.
How Social Media Is Changing The Way We Do Business
How To Purchase A Car With A Credit Card
How Snapchat Can Help You Reach A Younger Audience
How LinkedIn Can Help You Grow Your Business
What Are The Benefits Of Marketing Your Business On Facebook?
How To Use Social Media To Sell Your Product Online
The Top Inspection Classes In The Country
The Importance Of Choosing The Right CSST Certification Class
Pick Up Post
The Advantages Of A Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency Over A Traditional Marketing Agency
As the world of marketing changes, so do the agencies that offer their services. In the past, most marketing agencies...
The Benefits Of Working With A Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency
As a business owner, you know that marketing is essential to the success of your company. You also know that...
Stack Your Savings With Printable Coupons And Promo Codes
When it comes to saving money, there’s no shortage of methods and strategies. But one of the most effective –...
The 5 Essential Elements Of A Successful Sales Letter
No matter what you’re selling, a successful sales letter needs to contain certain key elements in order to persuade your...
What Are The Challenges Of Market Segmentation?
Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups of consumers with different needs, characteristics, or behaviors...
How Can You Use Market Segmentation To Improve Your Marketing Campaigns?
If you’re not using market segmentation in your marketing campaigns, you’re missing out on a major opportunities to improve your...
What Are The Benefits Of Market Segmentation?
Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups of consumers with different needs, characteristics, or behaviors...
How Can You Segment Your Market?
The first step is to understand who your target market is. Segmenting your market allows you to focus your marketing...
10 Best Places to Find Cheap Furniture
Furniture is one of the most important things in our homes. It not only provides comfort and style but also...
How To Find Coupon Codes For Online Shopping
Finding coupon codes for online shopping can be a bit tricky at times, but with the help of these few...
Achieve advertising Allows articles Attract Audiences benefits blog Bloggers blogging Blogs Brands business Businesses Cant Comments communication Compelling Consistent Consumer Consumers content Content marketing Conversations Creating creation Develop Didnt Digital digital marketing Doesnt Editorial Efforts email Encourage Engage Engaging Engines Ensure Facebook followers Generate goals Google healthcare marketing healthcare social media Heres Hospitals Images Improve Insights Interact Invest keywords LinkedIn Links marketers Mobile networking Offers opportunities Organizations Peoples platform Platforms Posting Posts Products Promote prospects Providers Provides Providing Publish publishing Purchase Reader readers Relevant Sites social media strategies technorati Text Thats Theyre tweets Twitter updates User Users Variety Videos website websites Whats Wont writers YouTube Youve
- book/product review
- co-creative business
- content marketing case study
- content marketing strategy
- Credit Card
- Data driven
- Fun Stuff
- Health Insurance
- healthcare marketing
- Inbound marketing
- intelligent content
- Internet Marketing
- marketing communication
- mobile health
- Off-Topic Stuff
- Promo code
- social media
- Social Media Marketing
content11 years ago
How to Start a Health Blog in 10 Easy Steps
Fun Stuff12 years ago
10 Reasons Business Blogging is Better than Facebook [Infographic]
content marketing strategy10 years ago
Social Login: Why You Should Allow Users to Log Into Your Website with Facebook
content marketing case study10 years ago
Obamacare Website Not that Bad
content12 years ago
The 7 Elements of Smart Content [Infographic]
Fun Stuff2 years ago
How Marketers Are Using Social Media for Business in 2012 [Infographic]
Marketing1 year ago
How to create a social media marketing strategy for your business
Marketing1 year ago
Why Is Marketing Segmentation Important?