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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Early Friday morning I took a five-hour class in WordPress in order to make this blog look a little more professional. I was impressed with all of the options and choices available. So, this post is my very first attempt publishing  in WordPress. I also imported all the rest of my blog from Blogger into this new platform.

What do you think of this first try? It was a lot of fun previewing how the blog would look in various themes. There will be a lot more work to customize it for ease of use and how it appears.  So, please let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

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Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

First of all, can someone tell me if this rule applies to posting it in a blog?  I would much rather cut and paste the entire article instead of just copying the URL. However, that’s what I’ll do for now since I don’t want to make the powers-that-be somewhere mad. 

The winners have been announced for the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, named after British author Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel “Paul Clifford” begins with the oft-quoted opening line “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Here’s Sue Fondrie’s Grand Prize winner: 

“Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.”

Next is John Doble’s winner in the historical fiction category:

“Napoleon’s ship tossed and turned as the emperor, listening while his generals squabbled as they always did, splashed the tepid waters in his bathtub.”

Finally, this is my favorite, Mike Pedersen’s Purple Prose winner:

“As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.”

I think I’d feel blue, too. 

Just in case the copyright police find this blog, I’d better include the actual URL so you can read the entire article:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2011-07-26-worst-writing-contest_n.htm

Hmm. Somehow I don’t think I should use these as examples to help improve my own writing. But, in case you’d like some laughs, here is more than anyone would probably like about the contest and its winners over the years:  http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/

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Social Media Bootcamp for CEOs
John Larson
Westin – San Diego
Jan. 19, 2011
500 million people on Facebook alone. 62% of people using social media are between 25 and 54 years old. 71% are employed, median age is 33, 47% married.
Point of using social media for business is to build relationships with large groups of people. A two-way conversation with your target audience. Leverage technology. Customers listening to each other and tuning out marketing messages. There is always a conversation going on about your industry. At least use social media to protect your brand.
“Turn strangers to friends. Friends to customers. Customers to evangelists.”
Old School
New School
Telegram
Twitter
Yearbook
Facebook
Rolodex
LinkedIn
Television
YouTube
Newspaper
Blogs
Encyclopedia
Google
Yellow Pages
Google
In using social media, don’t:
  • Tell friends about bad food
  • Beg people to buy from you
  • Carry on a monologue. Instead, build relationships
  • It is not just setting up environments and not doing anything with them
Large, Fortune 500 companies: 65% use Twitter, 54% use Facebook. On average, they post 27 Tweets and 4 FB posts per week. They post 10 videos and 7 blogs per month.
How to use social media to the best advantage
Develop your strategy first.
Define:
Goals, objectives, target audience, conversion activities (what you want people to do), budget, and resources.
Measure:
Performance goals
Branding goals
Cost per lead
Cost per acquisition
Refine:
Make changes for improvement
Create new objectives
Manage by exception i.e. Why?
If You Regularly
Your Profile
Blog, podcast, tweet, video
Creator
Write reviews, post replies
Critic
Update your profile
Joiner
Watch videos, read blogs
Spectator
None of the above
Inactive
You need to be a creator and a critic. Figure out and engage with people already having a conversation about your industry.
How to make informed decisions and “Lead with value.”:
  • Use archived knowledge such as spec sheets, technical data. Write blog articles using that knowledge.
  • Use real-time knowledge to influence buyers’ decisions
  • Use humor (check out Old Spice videos on YouTube)
  • Use products
Don’t be a narcissist.
There is a time commitment – resources and manpower needed
Ask questions and for opinions. Stay relevant
 Focus on your niche.
Educate – train customers to buy. Use key words and phrases on your website.
Tactics in a nutshell – short overview
  • Listening:  to identify who you want to build relationships with
  • Build community – grow social media environment i.e. friends and followers
  • Broadcast – post stuff. Drive people to your content
  • Content – if people want to share
  • Convert
Tactics – long version
Listening:
  • Key phrase research, include misspellings.
  • Google Alerts. Set up on Google so they will alert you when people use your key phrases, etc.
  • Twitter – search bar, hash tags (# in front of key word or phrase)
  • SocialMention.com – it will search through media environments, real time.
  • Industry sites and blogs. For example, websites listed in industry mags.
Build Community:
  • Use “Follow” buttons on website
  • Email-blast customers and prospects, under guise of customer service.
  • Tweet, blog, post. People will follow you.
  • Leverage search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)
Broadcasting:
  • Begin engaging with target audience
  • Link social sites together to push content across multiple channels. Can use: One tfor Twitter – I can’t read my own writing but available on Twitter home page. Also Ping.fm and Hootsuite. Only need to type a message once. One click of a button will post to many sites.
“For every nine non-commercial broadcasts, you earn the right to one promotional one.”
Content:
  • Define tone/voice. Do you want to be humorous, serious, just facts, personal, etc.? Have the company voice.
  • Leverage content across media types using videos, blogs, etc.
  • Make your content more than valuable: Make it remarkable (people will remark about it).
  • Content ideas:
  • Success stories/case studies
  • Product comparisons
  • Top 10 lists
  • Write something controversial i.e. maybe write an opposite opinion in a blog.
Convert – to get leads, etc.:
  • Enable people to request a catalog.
  • Offer free consulting – do a service for someone, help solve a problem
  • Promotional products – to get contact information
  • Offer an online webinar/workshop
To maximize conversions:
  • Enable people to know what’s in it for them.
  • How to take the next step. Be very clear and specific about this. If you’re not mailing anything, don’t ask for a mailing address. People don’t like this.
  • Send follow-up thank you by email
  • Invite people to follow you on other sites.
Monitoring:
  • Use Dashboard software
    • Aggregate view
    • Real time
  • Analytical data
    • Use Google Analysis (free)
Social Media Cornerstones
Twitter:
  • Be human. Let your personality shine through. (Check zappos.com CEO Tony)
  • Tweet 3-7 times per week at a minimum. For example, Dell Computers tweets coupons.
  • Always personally reply to new followers
  • Build a professional-looking profile
Facebook – 500 million people:
  • Set up a company page
  • Post 3 or more times a week – each business day
  • Add “Like” feature to page
  • Add video from YouTube
LinkedIn:
  • More business oriented than Facebook or Twitter. Google loves LinkedIn
  • Update personal status 3 – 5 times per week
  • Create company profile with key words in mind
  • Connect your blog to your personal profile and company profile
  • Start a group tailored to your target audience with lots of links
Blog:
  • This should be the central command post for all your content.
  • Blogs never go away – they last forever and can be found.
  • You can aggregate other things like Twitter, FB, etc. Optimize with key phrases and words.
  • Should have a professional appearance
  • Post a blog at least 4  times per month and/or once a week.
  • Post the blog headline on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn to let people know it’s there
  • Post a related video on YouTube
    • Link to sign-up for email newsletter
    • Link to embedded video
    • Social environment links (buttons) should be at the top in plain sight for easy use
YouTube (This is the main thing right now):
  • Post one new video a month.
  • Not the place for amateur hour. Should be professional, TV-quality video
  • Keep it short and optimize. People have short attention spans. Approximately 1-3 minutes
  • Post videos on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Videos are 53 more times likely to get on the first page of search engines
  • YouTube is the second most favorite with search engines. 2.6 billion visitors per day.
Read “Business Week”, July 15, 2010 article about social media.
Social Media Professionals:
Position
Annual Average Salary
Social Media Strategist
$120,000
Community Manager
    70,000
Copywriter/blogger
    40,000
Video production
    50,000

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