Steal This Growth Idea: The Power Of Group Expert Interviews for Your Blog

By Jessy Troy

The Power Of Group Expert Interviews for Your Blog

Lately, there have been a lot of groups interviews showing up around the web, Transcripts, email group discussions, Google Hangouts on Air footage… everyone wants to put together influencer round-ups on their blog, and it is no wonder.

These mastermind roundups have become a primary way to produce high quality content, and offer something truly valuable to the user.

The problem many people have is that they don’t know how to go about getting an expert to take part in an interview, especially if their blog is not yet huge enough. Pitching to someone who already has a full schedule may seem nearly impossible. Perhaps you have even tried, but never managed to land the opportunity that you so badly wanted.

MyBlogU, the absolutely free community of bloggers I’ve been using for several months now to feature and get features in expert interviews, has you covered on that front.

 

Group Interview Feature

Group Interview Feature

Rather than having you contact experts, the Group Interview feature takes you to where they already are. You ask your question of people within your industry, and they answer. Since they are already there to connect, and are interested in both sharing and taking part in the creation of content, you are guaranteed results every time you post a question.

Not only that, but you are able to get multiple quotes from various sources, and bind them together into a group interview transcript. It is much faster, easier to organize, and doesn’t require all of the planning usually needed to find a good time or chance to bring people together for a discussion.

Building Your Reputation

Once you start publishing these interviews, you will notice a jump in your own reputation because you are producing and promoting quality content, with established names attached from your industry, you are going to get more attention. With this attention comes a chance to connect with other influential people in your niche.

This can lead to what? More interviews! It is a great way to climb up the ladder and produce more and more popular content while offering a really helpful resource for those who are reading it. Who doesn’t want tips from those who are already successful, and have had to work their way up to the top?

I don’t suggest publishing only interviews on your blog! Too much of anything could become harmful as you risk losing your voice! But making it a regular colums (once a month or once a season depending on your editorial calendar intencity) covering hot trends is a great idea!

Brainstorming With The Pros

Another great feature is the brainstorming tool. MyBlogU allows you to put ideas out onto the site, and get feedback from others who are a part of the community. If you feel uncertain of an idea, just want some opinions on what should be included, or even want to bounce off of someone else to generate more ideas for future content, this is the place for you.

You can also help to influence the others in the community. Offer your own feedback on their ideas, and let them know what you would personally like to red. Share insights from your followers and what you have learned through your target audience. Build yourself as an authority, and soon people will want to interview you!

Conclusion

MyBlogU is a great tool that allows users to join a community of like minded individuals. While there you can take advantage of their expertise, and create unique group interviews that will provide you with excellent content.

Try it for yourself!

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with the site except for I am a member.

Example interview from the screenshot can be found here. Here are more examples from MyBlogU and their members.

Featured image via Flickr CC: aboutmodafinil.com

Author’s Bio: Jessy Troy is a creative writer and editor at Social Media Sun. She Tweets as @JessyTroy.

How to Use Curated Content for Content Marketing

By Jessica Davis

Content is at the center of everything digital. It is what people look for when searching for something on the web and it is what makes them share, like, subscribe, comment, follow, buy or donate.

But creating valuable content can often be quite challenging, and when you are not quite ready for this challenge, curated content comes to your rescue.

What is curated content?

Content curation basically involves sifting through relevant information on the internet and sharing the best of what you can find on your social profiles. However, curating content manually takes a lot of time and effort. To make things easier, you can use tools like DrumUp, Scoop.it and List.ly and overcome this hurdle. Using high quality, curated content projects you as an expert and an authority in your field. It gives you the reputation of being a reliable source of information, which will act as your social capital.

Why use curated content?

  1. To save time and money
    Original content can be expensive and takes a lot of effort and time to create. Content curation is a way in which you can make sure that you have quality content when you’re strapped for money or time.
  2. To become the trusted source of information
    Prudent use of quality curated content will turn you into an authoritative source on the web. Sharing high quality content can make you the preferred source that others refer to for advice, tips and suggestions.
  3. To create round-ups for better engagement
    Your audience could easily miss some content you share because information moves quickly on the web. Doing a round up of the best stories of the week on a specific topic can help them stay up to date. They will be grateful to find all the noteworthy advice and news that interests them in one post.
  4. To reach out to a wider audience
    Using different content formats such as audio,video, presentations, and infographics on different social media platforms will add variety to the content you share and will help keep it interesting.

Top 3 ways in which curated material can be shared and how

  1. Social media
    In a survey of 400 marketing professionals, 76% of the respondents said that they share curated content on social media. When using curated content on Twitter, try expressing an opinion or asking a question. But you’ll have to keep it short since you only get 140 characters. Facebook and LinkedIn on the other hand give you a little more scope for long-form content. You could write a summary, add a commentary or ask a question to begin a conversation.
  2. Newsletters
    Use newsletters when you need multiple pieces of fresh curated content all put together in one place. Remember that newsletters should include the latest in industry trends and data from the previous week, fortnight or month. Along with curated content, a good newsletter will include a note from the editor, original articles, calls-to-action and information on how to contact you.
  3. E-mails
    Though email has often been prematurely declared dead and irrelevant, there are marketing tactics that live on. Curated content can be used in email marketing. You can charm your subscribers with interesting and quality curated content sent straight to their inboxes. Share links to your blogs and social network profiles in the mail. You will only earn more loyal subscribers.

There are three main challenges you face while creating original content – paucity of time, inability to create sufficient amount of content and inability to create engaging content. Curated content can help you overcome all these challenges effectively.

Are you curating yet?

Author’s Bio: Jessica Davis has a keen interest in social media and content marketing, and writes about it extensively. She represents Godot Media – a leading content development company.

Simple Ways to Make Your E-Newsletter More User Friendly

By Shaun Chatman

Your newsletter is an important way to get relevant information across to your customer base, clients, or readers. But all of these people will be viewing it on different devices. Use these tips to simplify your newsletter’s content and formatting, to enhance readability and keep your content user-friendly.

Format in a Single Column

You may be tempted to use fancy design work in your newsletter, but the best way to go is a simple format that puts all your information into a single column. Go for a column 500 to 600 pixels wide, and be sure to take into account special formatting for mobile devices. You won’t be able to keep formatting completely uniform over all devices, but you can take many steps to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart and become unreadable on certain devices. Simplicity is your best friend in these instances. Choose a few design elements (like text formatting and social media linking) that make the content easier to consume and then stick with those and ignore the impulse to go over the top.

Break Content into Headings

Your newsletter probably contains multiple points you want to communicate to your readers. Rather than writing it in the style of a letter with each paragraph flowing into the next, create a new heading every time you come to a new newsletter item. Make that heading obvious and separated from the rest of the content. By doing this, readers who are skimming through on a device with a smaller screen will know where to stop and start reading.

Use Images Sparingly

One or two interesting images will enhance the content of your newsletter, but overloading your newsletter with images is a surefire way to make it more difficult to read on multiple devices. Images, by default, require different formatting than text does, so no matter how careful you are, the more formatting you add to your newsletter, the more likely it is something will go wrong. Also, images take longer to load, especially on hand held devices like phones or tablets that may be connected to a 4G network rather than wi-fi.

Streamline Your Content

While skimming through paragraphs of content may be easy on a laptop screen, if someone is reading from his or her phone, it takes longer to scroll through a lot of text. Even with headings, keep your newsletter’s content relevant and brief. If you’re wondering about types of content apt for your newsletter, go for content that your readers can consume in bite-sized chunks. Tips and tricks for your customers, a short letter from the CEO of your company, or lists of significant blog posts or news articles are great places to start.

Remember, it’s not just about formatting. Good content also keeps your newsletter fresh and interesting for your readers. Each newsletter will look different, but by keeping it simple and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a newsletter that works on as many devices as possible.

Author’s Bio:Shaun Chatman is a seasoned writer featured on many authority blogs. Writing is his passion, and he spends most of his waking hours writing about everything from Tech to Education. He lives in Dunedin, Fl.

A spoonful of sugar for your next blog post

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

And ev’ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way ~Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins

I’m not saying that your blog content is medicine, but if it’s useful information for your audience, there’s no harm in adding a bit of sugar to make it go down easily.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


Video: Show Us What You’ve Got

By Lisa D. Jenkins

Coupled with the mass adoption of smartphones and mobile devices, platforms like Instagram and Vine allow social brands to take advantage of video’s popularity with online audiences.

The days of expensive, drawn out video production are gone. Video is easier than ever to create, publish and share.

If you think video is something that should be added to your marketing strategy but don’t quite know where to start, read on for some inspiration.

I just found Bart’s Fish Tales on Instagram. Fish Tales uses 20-second video to produce the world’s shortest cooking show featuring recipes, tips and tricks on how to make great sustainable fish dishes.

On Vine, Home Depot has a variety of 6-second videos that show followers “what it takes to go from to-do to done”. Here’s a great one that shows us how to plant an easy-to-care-for kitchen counter herb garden.

PowToon publishes video on YouTube that shows viewers how to use their animated presentation tool to produce demos, business presentations, social media clips, etc.

GoPro encourages people who use their camera to tag their own videos with #GoPro, creating a wealth of user generated video content the brand shares online.

Video isn’t out of reach for you.

While there’ll always be a space in the market for professionally produced video, the reality is that today’s easy-to-use tools and video-friendly platforms make it possible for SMB’s that couldn’t afford the medium a few short years ago to give it a try.

Go ahead! There are any number of ways video can be used to advantage in your marketing – share your mission, create a how-to, show off your customers. What do you have to show us?

Author’s Bio: Lisa D. Jenkins is a Public Relations professional specializing in Social and Digital Communications for businesses. She has over a decade of experience and work most often with destination organizations or businesses in the travel and tourism industry in the Pacific Northwest. Connect with her on Google+

3 tips on using Facebook to curate content fast



By Dorien Morin-van Dam

Entrepreneurs are always busy!

Sometimes time just gets away from you; the phone rings all morning and you can’t get anything done. A client calls with an important question and you can’t put off answering it. Your car breaks down and needs a tow, delaying you and your long list of tasks. A family member needs you, now and off you go.

As a busy entrepreneur, even the best laid plans and to-do lists get sidetracked by unexpected events. There’s no one else but you to address the problems and nothing you can do about it but go with the flow and regroup when you can.

speeding through a tunnel

On any given Monday morning, I get back to my desk after a weekend away from my computer and find social media emergencies and tasks that need my undivided attention. Lucky for me, I have a social media plan and a content calendar for myself as well as for all of my clients, so I don’t often have to post ‘fast’ and unexpectedly.

Do you have a social media plan? Do you have a content calendar? If you don’t have either, find a social media consultant to help you create a social media plan and a content calendar to put in place ASAP!

Of course, there are times I am on the go, busy, forget to get my content calendar updated and I need something to post…now. What to do? Don’t panic! This is what I do…

I go to Facebook to find content quickly!

Here are three ways I use Facebook to find content to curate, fast!

1. Interest Lists

I have many interest lists I curate content from. Are you familiar with interest lists? If not, start here: Everything you need to know about Facebook Interest Lists

I follow a lot of people and I have liked a lot of pages. To be able to find what I am looking for, I have created lists of pages, people and news outlets all of who are relevant to my business and my clients’ industries. To find content fast, all I have to do is go to those lists on my profile and look at what everyone is talking about! From there, it’s an easy share to my profile, or a few (extra) clicks to share it to one of my pages. I recommend you subscribe to pages as well as create your own.

2. Trending Topics

This is a great way to get content out, quickly! Simply go to your personal profile and look on the top right side of your newsfeed. You’ll see ‘trending topics’. Click on the topic that would best fit your industry (there is a blue, clickable link for each topic) which will generate a feed of articles related to that trending topic. Pick whichever one you like and share!

3. Hashtag Search

If you are looking for a specific topic, try searching Facebook for related articles by using a hashtag. I admin several pages for which I use this approach and using hashtags is a great way to find news content on Facebook. For example, for a plumbers page, try #plumbing or #plumbingtip, for a golf community, you could try searching #golf and find out the latest news. Make sure to try several hashtags, sometimes it takes a while to find the right one. Don’t forget to also use hashtags on your own posts when sharing your own content, so others who use this approach can find and share your content, too!

I know there are many other ways to find, share and curate content form Facebook. What is your favorite content curation tip?

Author’s Bio: Dorien Morin-van Dam is owner and social media marketer at More In Media, a social media consultancy in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dorien provides social media consulting, management, training and education; she is passionate about teaching social media to small business owners. She services clients all over the USA and has worked in many different industries as well as with several NPO’s. In her spare time, Dorien manages four kids, three dogs and a husband. She runs marathons and loves to bake, travel and read.



Photo Credit: Loïc Lagarde via Compfight cc

Your Business Story Can Change The World



By Chris Craft

My story began on February 12, 1979.

The light bulb in my head for story’s business case in content marketing went off only about a year ago.

Yes, I was late to the party but hey … it’s my story. At Nao Media, we focus on story because we know story drives our clients’ connecting with their community.

Stories inform, instruct, inspire, entertain, and motivate. Everyone from parents to CEOs can use story to not only get results and gain awareness, but to change the world. I want your business to focus on telling its story so our global community can be empowered by your example.

beacon of light from mountaintop

Businesses really have a story?

Yup! A business’s story is usually best told by its founder(s). Your business’s story shouldn’t focus on what it does. Your story, for it to be compelling, should be centered on why the business was started and why it exists today.

Other questions to answer:

  • When: when did you know that your business had real potential?
  • Which: which decision did you make that made your business viable?
  • Who: who started the businesses and who and/or what kind of talent makes up your team?
  • How: how does your business impact its community?
  • Where: where does your business have the most impact? (consider thinking outside of revenue)

Changing the world is hyperbole though, right?

Nope. If your business doesn’t aim to have a positive effect on the world, then you should really think about your business model.

Your business won’t change the world by news-jacking on Twitter for the pure sake of attracting eyeballs.

It won’t change the world through direct mail coupons.

It won’t change the world by shilling your product or service without an interesting backstory.

Your customers want to know about you. They want to be intrigued by your beginning, middle, and end (which is usually the “reveal” or “present state” of your business). Your customers and the community you aim to impact want to know how they fit into your story. Some might even want to learn how your business contributes to the betterment of the world.

Businesses have a huge opportunity with story because of the resources they can put into production and distribution. If you have the resources for scaling the distribution of your positive story to the masses, do it! Especially if you know your story can change lives.

Knowing your story is not enough.

It must be told and shared. You can’t afford to ‘die’ with your story in you. And that goes for individuals and businesses. Though I’m a writer and lover of books and blogs, I must admit the best medium for telling your story is video.

Video simply appeals to more senses (if we take a reader’s imagination out of the equation). A high quality “About Us” video can cost $5000+ USD. If you’re not quite ready to invest in a video, call on a writer to get your story on paper. Your written story (or a portion of it) can be used for website copy, books, periodicals, and more.

Need help telling your story? Download Nao Media’s latest e-book, “The Nao Blueprint: How to Develop a Content Creation Machine.”


Author’s Bio: Chris Craft is a believer in the greatest story ever told. He’s also the Founder and Chief Visionary at Nao Media, an Atlanta-based content creation agency. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisQueso.


Photo Credit: 8#X via Compfight cc

In a content slump? Try these Twitter features!

By Dorien Morin-van Dam

As bloggers, business owners, social media managers we know it’s just not OK to only share your own content.

I personally try to adhere to the 80%-20% rule for myself and my social media clientele, meaning 80% of the time I share other people’s content vs. 20% of the time, I share mine or the content of my clients. And on certain platforms, it quickly turns into 90%-10%.

Sometimes, however, it’s hard to find good content to share across your platforms, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Twitter has always been my back up plan and I’d like to share three ways I use Twitter to curate content to share.

figurine with bluebirds

3 Twitter Features To Curate New Content With Right Now!

1. Twitter Lists

Use your own lists or lists others have created. Here are the sequences I use to curate content Twitter lists.

a) From my own lists: I go to a list and click on ‘Tweets’. For example, I might go to a list called ‘Steamfeed Authors’. I know that every single author on that list talks about social media.

First, I might scan to see if I can find links to the same blog posts in my feed. If I do, I will go check it out. Usually, when multiple people Tweet the same content, it’s relevant to me as well.

Second, I look for patterns and trending topics. They are usually fairly easy to spot. It could be a new feature on a platform, or breaking news. I will RT if I spot a pattern.

Last, if I can not find anything right away in the feed of those authors, I can easily identify just one author by clicking on their name and then find their own latest blog post.

b) From others’ lists: To find new lists, I will find those who influence me (or my client) on Twitter and check out their Twitter lists. If it looks to be a great list, I will subscribe (that means that next time I will not have to go find it; it will now be shown underneath my own lists!). Then I might follow some of the people on this new list and take the steps outlined above.

2. Twitter Search

You can search anything and everything on Twitter. Just drop a topic in the Twitter search bar and go!

You can also use a hashtag in front of keywords. If that’s not enough, try advanced search on Twitter. Read more on how to search and what to search in these articles. Once I find something that I know my audience will love, I use the RT option, or I might go the article itself and share it on a different platform.

3. Trending Topics

Have you used it yet? In case you didn’t know, Twitter Trends are tailored just for you! Trends offer a unique way to get closer to what you care about. They are tailored for you based on your location and who you follow. I also noticed that what’s trending for me is different on my desktop vs. my iPhone, and that has to do with my location. So when in a content slump, check out trending on ‘Twitter’ and join the on-going conversations!

Now that you know more about Twitter and how to use it for content curation, I hope your content slump is over and you will start sharing awesome content once more!

Author’s Bio: Dorien Morin-van Dam is owner and social media marketer at More In Media, a social media consultancy in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dorien provides social media consulting, management, training and education; she is passionate about teaching social media to small business owners. She services clients all over the USA and has worked in many different industries as well as with several NPO’s. In her spare time, Dorien manages four kids, three dogs and a husband. She runs marathons and loves to bake, travel and read.



Photo Credit: Mira Pangkey via Compfight cc

Stop Calling it Content



It’s official. The push for “content” has pervaded society so completely that I had this actual conversation with my 10 year old the other day:

10 Yr Old: “Mom, no-one is visiting my website.”
Me: “I visited it just yesterday.”
10 Yr Old: “I think I need to make more content.”

Boom. Throw down the microphone and walk off stage.

assembly line



There has been a robust conversation surrounding the sheer amount of “content” debris (go read Mark Schaefer’s original Content Shock post), but I think the larger issue has to do with the attitude of the “content” creator.

I propose that we just stop calling it “content,” and whip out some Barron’s vocabulary words to describe what we’re doing instead.

  • Research paper
  • Investigative journalism
  • Marketing video
  • Customer photos
  • Online brochure or catalog
  • Case studies
  • Interviews
  • Company news item

See where I’m going with this?

One result will be that we ourselves recognize when we’re writing sales copy vs telling a story. If you call it “content,” it could be anything.

If you call it what it is, maybe it shifts your point of view as a creator. You are no longer a robot on the assembly line, you are an artist, a designer, a writer.

It’s the difference between mass-produced frozen fish sticks and fresh-caught grilled trout.

Your homework today, should you choose to accept it, is to go through your marketing plan, campaign strategy, and/or social media plan and highlight everywhere it says “content.” Replace that word with phrases and words that mean something to your customers.

Are you content with “content?”

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


Photo Credit: jamesjyu via Compfight cc

Proven Ways to Make People Read Your Content

By Katherine Crayon

You have created the blog of your dreams. You regularly update it with valuable content. Everything is perfect. Except…

Except the readers don’t come.

Cat typing on laptop

No comments, only a handful of shares and tweets — and that’s all. What went wrong? Think you need to perfect your writing skills? Actually, it’s not about the way you write. It’s all about the way you promote your content.

The web is flooded with thousands of recommendations on how to attract users to your website.

It’s important.
It matters.

The Internet was created to let you share your thoughts with millions of other people — it’s meaningless if they don’t read them. That’s why today we’ll concentrate on the ways to get people to actually read your content.

If you think that stuffing your posts with keywords and optimizing them for search engines will draw armies of followers to your resource, you are mistaken. Your blog will undoubtedly rank higher in search results, but will people come back?

The way people perceive your blog posts should be your highest concern. Combine catchy writing, impressive design and some basic ways of promoting content (described in this article).

Success will follow.

Written vs Visual Content

There is a general misconception that people ignore online content. They do read it. However, the way they perceive online data has changed a lot. Content marketing has generally revolved around written data, though more recently, visual content has greater appeal.

Modern users prefer skimming to reading. In order to make them actually read your post, you have to grab their attention (with a relevant image, video, infographic, etc.).

Statistics show that blog posts featuring at least one image are more popular among web users, which results in more shares.

Relevance

Will you read a post on a topic you’re not interested in? Most likely, you will scan the article and leave. As a rule, people surf the web searching for content that meets the basic criteria of relevance:

  • Publish content that coincides with the current time and season. For instance, will you read about Christmas on July 4th? Do you find it relevant posting about winter vacations in summer? Relevance has its own chronological order.
  • Consider your readers. You will hardly be able to attract artistic people to a chemistry blog. Each web resource has its own audience. Working on your blog, think about the target user who will most likely enjoy your content. Specializing on something particular will help you look like a pro and build trust with ease.

Skimming

Users will scan your posts first to decide whether the content before them is relevant. If they come up with some points that look relevant, people will likely stay and read the entire post word-by-word. How to organize content in such a way that users will easily find exactly what they need?

Here are several points to consider:

  • Headlines are the first thing people will pay attention to. The more relevant and to the point they sound, the more likely it is that readers will come — and stay.
  • Subheads help give users a quick overview of the things you discuss in the post. Once again, if they find these relevant, chances are they will read till the end.
  • Text formatting helps to highlight the content you want to draw skimmers’ eye to. Remember that highlighting too much content in bold or italics will equal highlighting nothing. Put emphasis on the key points so that users will quickly pick them out.
  • If skimmers find your headlines and subheads relevant, they will move to bullet points and numbered lists that will help them with decision-making.

Let People Choose

Readers’ tastes differ, so if you want them to keep returning to your blog, you should provide them with several forms of content to choose from.

We have already found out that people are more attracted by visual rather than written data. However, there are many web users who prefer reading detailed posts word-by-word, without missing a single thought.

Try to publish different forms of content through multiple channels and see what works best. Diversify your content marketing with images, videos, and infographics to let people choose what they want. And don’t forget to make all of your content look good no matter what device is used.

Post Regularly

Publishing content on a regular basis will make people come back. Though it requires significant and sustained effort, this is a proven way to build up a following. Whether you are posting 10 articles a day, three posts a week or simply update your blog with something new once a month, doing this consistently will increase traffic to your blog.

Leverage Social Media

With so many users learning about the latest news and valuable information in social media, including ‘Share on Facebook’ and ‘Tweet This’ buttons will make it much easier for your readers to spread posts online and draw new visitors to your blog. The easier you make sharing data, the more likely people are to do so.

It doesn’t require much time and effort to add social share buttons to your site. Make this one-time investment and you will reap great rewards.

Communication

Communication always matters. Make sure you respond to all of the comments left on your blog. Your readers put an effort into leaving their feedback under your post, so don’t miss an opportunity to show how much you value this. Communicating with people on your blog, leaving comments on other web resources, as well as participating in discussions on social media platforms – all this combined will show how much you care.

Final Words

When it comes to content marketing, always write with personality.

Engage your readers by sharing interesting posts on a regular basis and starting a debate online. Keep the writing short and sweet, and never forget to refresh it with some relevant photo or video content.

Are you an experienced blogger or just plan to start your web resource? Which of the aforementioned techniques do your find effective? Maybe you know some other proven ways of how to blog effectively. Share with us in the comments below.

Author’s Bio:Katherine Crayon is a copywriter with a fresh voice, reporting on tech news and all aspects of the web design industry. Meet her in person on Google+.

Photo Credit: atomicshark via Compfight cc