Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
An old, dated website with bad navigation and horrible images
Making a commitment to photograph projects
A simple, well-conceived site is an investment that will endure
A website says a lot about you
Does your website need to be updated to a mobile-friendly format?
Sunday, August 6, 2017
One of my pals used to groan about social media. He’s a millennial, but his response was “why do we need another application that does the same thing?” He’s right, of course. They all do the same thing, which is to keep us connected and share stuff that should never be shared. We’re all witnesses to the painful public spectacle of Donald Trump’s Twitter abuse. This is a classic example of how he and the world would be better served if he kept some of his thoughts to himself.
Instagram has captured the imagination of more than 700M users
While these social media companies are all helping us share information, they’re finding interesting new ways to do it. Instagram has become the favorite app among the young and trendy. It’s immediate, it’s visual and it’s on the ubiquitous cellphone, which has become an appendage on many of today’s youth and millennials.
One of the latest features is Instagram Stories
To add Stories to your Instagram account, you may have to update your account, so check your settings and go to the App Store if necessary. With Instagram Stories, you record live video or take photos with your smartphone and add them to a story that lasts for just 24 hours. It’s totally ephemeral.
Instagram Stories: you have two options
You can modify your privacy settings for each individual story you publish or for all of your stories from your main Instagram settings. To do the latter, go to your Instagram profile and click on the settings wheel icon at the top right.
When you’re ready to create your first story, tap on the circled + button at the top left of your Instagram screen. From here, you can use the icons at the bottom of your screen from left to right to configure flash settings, take a photo or video, or switch the camera from front- to rear-facing. If you tap and hold the center button, you can record a 10-second video. Something I learned: You can turn your camera orientation to landscape, but Instagram will still post your photo or video in portrait mode.
Once you’ve created your story, you’ll see your own profile photo at the top of the news feed. Your photo will always appear first so you can easily access your current story at all times. If you want to add to your story, tap on the circled + icon at the top left to record video or take a photo. Each new video or photo you take will be added to the end of your story and lasts for 24 hours.
Note that each of these options applies to each 10-second increment (photo or video) of your story. This means that you can do the following:
- Delete the part of the story you’re viewing.
- Save the photo or video portion of the story you’re viewing.
- Share the photo or video portion of the story you’re viewing as a poston your Instagram profile.
- Change the story settings for the portion of the story you’re viewing.
As you add more photos and videos to your story, the same applies. You can delete individual photo or video portions of the story, save individual portions of the story, etc.
Once you finish taking your photo or recording your video, you have the option to add text or draw on your photo or video using the options at the top right of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, you have the options to cancel and start over, or download the photo or video to your camera roll.
Once you’re satisfied, tap on the checkmark at the bottom to add the photo or video to your story.
Too much work for something with a limited shelf life?
If this sounds like a lot of fooling around—editing, adding more photos and videos to something that has a very limited shelf-life--it may be. But when it comes to people and their phones and cameras, I’m not sure there are limits. I’m not one of these. I spend a lot of my time in my office on my laptop with a big monitor. I’m not really interested in editing and enhancing images on my smartphone, but I see people doing this all the time.
I am beginning to like Instagram and its application as a business tool. I like its immediacy, its whimsy, but it’s just one more social media app that's emerged in a growing market that's trying to find new ways to connect.
Are you struggling to include social media in your marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We're internet marketing specialists.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Search engines able to identify contextual meaning
Optimize everything . . .
Do you need help with your content marketing program?
Sunday, July 16, 2017
These days, we’re all marketers. We’re all competing for eyeballs, frantically posting to our websites, blogs and social media hoping to build trust, brands and audience loyalty. But let’s be honest--what we’re really hoping to get out of this is new clients.
It’s hard to underestimate the importance of rock-star headlines
Each new social media application and blog platform that hits the marketplace represents new competition. So how do you set yourself apart? It’s difficult to overstate the importance of rockstar headlines. A good headline can entice and engage your audience to click, read, and share your content. Unfortunately, in many cases, headlines are the thing that is shared rather than the article. This is pure clickbait. It’s a scam when there’s no relationship between the headline and the article, and it’s doing a big disservice to your audience and the industry. But do you know what makes an engaging headline?
Listen to this: BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million article headlines. They examined stuff like:
- Headline phrases that drive most engagement on Facebook
- Worst performing headline phrases on Facebook
- Most effective phrases that start or end headlines
- Optimum number of words and characters to use in a headline
- Numbers to use in headlines that have the most impact
- Most engaging Twitter headline phrases
- Differences between B2C and B2B headlines
While there is no magic formula for creating a viral headline, by taking a look at what’s successful, we can model our own headlines on these formulas and capitalize on some of these trends.
Note: This research looks at the most shared headlines on Facebook and Twitter which tend to be dominated by major publishers and consumer content. Thus the insights will be particularly interesting for publishers. Business-to-business comes later this year.
Popular phrases in no particular order:
- Tears of joy
- Is what happens
- Are freaking out
- The only reason is
- Give you goosebumps
- Is talking about
- This is why
- Will make you
- Is too cute
As a serious business owner, a few of these phrases would never work for me. It’s clearly important to consider the industry. I’m very aware of the power of headlines and I work hard to make mine and those of my clients compelling and attention-grabbing. But there’s a caveat here. If you’re sending out a newsletter or posting a blog for someone in the legal or financial services industries, for instance, numbers 3, 5 and 9 are probably never going work for you. In fact, they’re wholly inappropriate for a lot of industries.
Data makes you rethink headlines
In the BuzzSumo sample, the most powerful three-word phrase used in a headline was: “Will make you … “ This phrase gained more than twice the number of Facebook engagements as the second most popular headline trigram. So why does this particular trigram or three-word phrase work so well? It’s a linking phrase. There’s a promise of a direct impact on the reader; it’s trying to elicit an emotional response; it’s the start of a relationship, which is what it is all about.
Curiosity and voyeurism also gain Facebook engagement
Headline phrases that provoke curiosity, tension and a sense of voyeurism also gained a high level of engagement on Facebook. For example:
- What happened next
- Talking about it
- Twitter reacts to
- Are freaking out
- Top x songs
These days, with the White House in a daily state of meltdown, a lot of the headlines that gained traction are politics-specific. But this is a good example--readers are often curious about what is being talked about by people, what the top items are in a league table, or what is being said by people on Twitter about a topic or event. This type of content appeals to our curiosity and voyeurism. With the Trump administration in Washington, we’re seeing a lot of headlines with “are freaking out” in them, and they’re killing the ratings.
BuzzSumo cautions writers to avoid ‘what happened next’ style headlines. While they have performed well, Facebook now categorizes headlines that withhold information as clickbait and demotes them. I believe this is a good thing. We’re seeing way too much clickbait—headlines that just don’t deliver that shows a clear lack of integrity.
Other engaging headline phrases are explanations
- This is why
- The reason is
We all want to feel that bit smarter after reading a piece of content. Explainer articles promise you an extra nugget of insight. In some ways they are similar to the “will make you” phrase headline as they make a promise about what you’ll gain as a result of reading the article.
We’re all looking for community these days, a sense of belonging to something. A word that has become part of our vernacular is “tribe”. These popular headlines appeal to a sense of tribal belonging. But don’t take these at face value. Model these headlines and make them work for you. Appeal to your own tribe.
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Is a subject line important? It's everything.
I just updated the list I keep by my computer—I try to incorporate these phrases into my blog and newsletter headlines and social media posts when they’re appropriate because I know that they’re powerful. I was working with a client one time and we were getting ready to send out her newsletter. I wanted to get her feedback on several subject lines. She was indifferent. “Is it important?” My answer: “It’s everything.”