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Breast Cancer Conversations on Twitter

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

It seems odd that in the 21st century we would need a reminder of such magnitude. But sadly we still do. In some communities breast cancer is still a ‘hush-hush’ subject that brings shame and isolation. But even here in America there are many women who skip life-saving screenings either because they’re too painful, or too expensive. It shouldn’t be this way.

That’s why it’s so cool to see Twitter awash with #pink conversations where affected women and healthcare experts are talking about their experiences and encouraging other women to think about their own health.

I especially love what GE Healthcare is doing with these conversations. They created a stunning visualization to capture streaming breast cancer conversations live from Twitter. Their goal is not only to raise global awareness by sharing personal stories but also to encourage early detection through mammographies.

One of my favorite stories captured by GE Healthcare is ‘Fighting for Two’. It’s about a woman who started her fight against breast cancer at the age of thirty just days after learning she was pregnant. Within months she had lost a breast, her hair and her job.

But her message is even more remarkable, “Breast cancer has given me more than it took away…On the date that should have been my final round of chemo, I instead gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Serenit. Unlike me, Serenity had a full head of hair.”

I encourage you to check out this and other compelling stories on GE Healthcare’s website or simply join the conversation on Twitter by following the hashtag #pink or #breastcancer.

Over to you: Do you think these Twitter conversations on breast cancer are helpful? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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16 Tools to Turbo Boost Your Blogging Process

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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 BlogPicMonkey 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.

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Obamacare Website Not that Bad

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Obamacare’s website is really bad says an article on Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

That’s because when 3 million people logged onto Healthcare.gov last Tuesday, what they found was a website riddled with glitches. It turns out that huge volume (traffic) overwhelmed the system causing it to crash within the first few hours.

The Fact of the Matter

Here’s what we know for sure based on a report from USA Today.

  • The site was expected to draw 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users but instead drew 250,000 users at a time.
  • The bugs in the system prevented people from creating user accounts which would enable them to shop for health insurance.
  • More than 8.1 million users visited the site from Tuesday through Friday last week.
  • The part of the site that explains how the new law will work, and gives broad information about the plans that are available has continued to work throughout the troubled launch.

As expected the administration is defensive..

“We’re building a complicated piece of technology,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said on the first day of Obamacare, “and hopefully you’ll give us the same slack you give Apple.”

Without getting into the politics of the new law (or the comparison of the site with Apple products), here’s what I think about the whole thing.

Speed Beats Perfection

We live in an age where every minute counts…at least in content marketing. Those who wait for the perfect campaign will eventually lose out on reaching and connecting with potential customers. In other words, speed beats perfection.

Remember when the lights went out during last season’s Superbowl, and Oreo sent out that famous tweet we’ve all come to love, “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”?  

Sure, it was a brilliant tweet. But what really made it remarkable was the speed with which it was executed. Within a very narrow window of time, they seized the opportunity and the outcome was amazing.

In the case of Healthcare.gov, millions of families need this information right away (remember, the part of the site with all the information about how Obamacare works was not affected) and while it’s not desirable to have a sluggish website, I think they just had to get started and confront the problems as they went along.

The fact is, no one actually wants to be sloppy. Most people (including the folks behind the Obamacare site) have worked very hard to get the best message in front of consumers. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Yet the decision has to be made –  get it out there and reach out to folks or tweak it to death while the clock ticks.

Your Turn:

What do you think? Are the technical glitches affecting healthcare.gov excusable or not? Please leave your comments in the box below.

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Why Frustration is an Important Part of Your Corporate Story

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Many times when talking about the benefits of our product or services, we focus on the successes, the stories or testimonials of satisfied customers, and on happy endings. Rarely do we talk about the frustrations that went hand-in-hand with creating the solution.

The problem with this approach is that it’s only partly true.

As someone wisely said, “before we find the answer, before we even know the question, we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach.”

Frustration and disappointment come in different ways: lack of support, tight budgets and limited resources, negative reviews, differences of opinion, disgruntled employees, mental blocks and so on. And these are precisely the things that we must wrestle with before a solution can be found. These too are an important part of the corporate story.

Take a look at how Domino’s frustration created an opportunity for their huge and widely successful ‘Pizza Turnaround’:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=AH5R56jILag%3Ffs%3D1%26feature%3Doembed

Organizations that struggle to ‘connect’ with buyers, and those looking for new ways to “be more human” should consider how talking about their frustrations and failures helps to create a message that is more believable and realistic. And that is appealing because whatever industry you’re in, it’s still a people-to-people business.

Key Takeaway

Happy endings don’t just happen. Many a frog must be kissed before the prince. And while frustrations and disappointments point to a painful and ‘best-forgotten’ part of the process, they’re equally important in creating a true and credible story that resonates with customers. Don’t leave it out.

Over to you: What do you think? Should brands talk about their frustrations as part of the whole corporate story?

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