Your Content is Top Flight; How to Get it Seen

June 17, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

first prize winning blogAs we know, content is the primary driver of activity and engagement in the social media realm.  We are aware that in order to inform, entertain and excite our target audiences, our original content must be

–created and shared consistently;
–well researched;
–high value in its ability to solve a problem or address a need;
–delivered in a personable, entertaining manner.

We even comprehend the importance of spelling, grammar, sentence structure and thought flow.  With all these bases covered, why are we STILL not seeing the traffic and response our posts should be receiving?

While what’s inside is what counts, without attractive “packaging” and unique presentation there is a good chance our content may be swallowed up in the sea of millions of other blog posts released every minute of every day, by every writer on the internet.  It is critical that we think outside the box in all possible ways to draw attention to OUR content.  Here are two strategies to help achieve that goal:

Looking Good!

font styles in book

I have a confession to make: I am a recovering Comic Sans junkie.  I wanted a different look when I started JayVee Media Link’s blog site.  The most common font I saw on others’ sites was Times New Roman; the second was Arial.  Both are attractive; but I didn’t want my site to look like all the rest.  Comic Sans appealed to me, and I didn’t see it anywhere else (my daughter told me there was a good reason no one used it, but hey, why listen to reason?).  I decided to go with Comic Sans, laughing off my daughter’s humiliation.  Just over a year later I came across a terrific post: Best Fonts for the Web, by Kathy Marks. Nowhere on that list was Comic Sans!  That, coupled with other scathing comments I saw convinced me to FINALLY ditch that font in favor of Verdana (to the thrill and delight of my daughter!).  But seriously, it is a great idea to research a different look for our blog pages.  Pick a font that works well, and that preferably isn’t too widely used.  It’s a great way to stand out while nicely complementing the eye catching optimized pictures we add to our posts.

The WOW Factor

With outstanding blog posts ready to be shared, how do we convince our target audiences to click our links?

1. We can use the power of our pictures.  Rather than uploading our blog posts’ links directly to our social media sites, upload their best pictures. When we do, they open in an eye catchingly big way.  Before posting add short teasers and the links to their corresponding blog posts in the accompanying text.  We can also pin those attention-grabbing pictures on our Pinterest boards or share them via Instagram, again with links back to their corresponding blog posts.

2. Google “social media sites.” Entry after entry comes up, offering information about countless platforms that exist.  Some may cater to specific interests or fields; others may be broad like the big guys, but more modest in membership numbers.  Chances are BECAUSE they are smaller platforms there may be less competition among blog posts.  That means ours have a better chance of being seen and shared.  It is worth doing some research into whether any of these social media platforms that are considered “second string” to the most popular sites might return better results than those biggest ones, and hence should be included in our sharing activities.

Vine and Dubbler logos3. With the introduction and rapid rise of innovative social sharing sites such as Vine, which allows us to create 6 second looping videos, and Dubb, in which we can create audio recordings of up to one minute, we have an opportunity to put a truly novel twist on our blog sharing activities!  Why not create enticing audio or visual teasers, and link our resulting presentations to our blog posts when sharing?

For a more expansive look at these options plus more, Kimberly Reynolds’ post “5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts” is an invaluable resource!

These days there is a tremendous amount of competition across the worldwide web.  We need to rise above it all if we are to get our content noticed, appreciated and shared.  How do YOU accomplish this daunting feat?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Google Plus vs Pinterest

May 28, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                   return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Let’s move our focus away from social media heavy hitter platforms like Twitter and Facebook for today, and instead draw our attention to the two most promising rising stars in the field:  Google Plus and Pinterest.  Both appear to be in fierce competition for the spotlight; which will be the victor?  The answer:  BOTH!  While on paper Pinterest seems to have the edge, which one wins depends on a number of variables.  Let’s take a closer look:

Google Plus in this corner…

fighter with Google Plus tattoo

With 20 million users within the first three weeks of its launch and the expectation that that number will reach 400 million by the end of this year, Google Plus is shaping up to be a major social media influencer.  It is continuously adding and improving business friendly features, such as live streaming Google Hangouts, which can be used as free webinars, and new photo editing and mobile photo sharing services. And remember that Google indexes its social media platform for higher search rankings.  Sites that incorporate it get up to 3.5 times more traffic than those that don’t.  40% of marketers consider Google Plus a prominent component in their social media strategy tool boxes.

…and Pinterest in THIS corner

On the other side of the equation, Pinterest boasted 10.5 million users as of February, 2012.  Since January, the number of users has increased by 145%.  80% of pins are repinned, demonstrating the potential for business to go viral with thefighter with Pinterest tattoo platform’s help.  Its lead conversion rate is 15%.  Pinterest is now the third most popular social media platform (behind Twitter and Facebook), as it refers more traffic for some websites than Google Plus, Linked In and Twitter.  Recent studies have also demonstrated Pinterest’s value in generating much sought after quality back links, and hence creating “buzz” and higher visibility.

The Main Event

The preference of Google Plus over Pinterest or vice versa ultimately comes down to issues like the field of business and the type of people in that business’ targeted marketing campaign.  Let’s look at some specifics.  Approximately 63% of Google Plus users are male; the dominant occupations on the platform are college students and software developers. So think technical. With its system of displaying pictures, as well as the aforementioned addition of mobile photo sharing and picture editing services, Google Plus is also capturing the niche for professional photographers and photography enthusiasts. 

Conversely, up to now almost 80% of Pinterest users have been female.  But that is a demographic that is shifting toward more gender equality, as an increase in male membership is being noted.  The platform appears to be excellent for businesses that are trending – especially when those businesses can promote themselves with strong visual images.  Some examples of companies that are doing very well with Pinterest in their marketing tool boxes are Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart, Whole Foods and the Travel Channel.

Decision Time

Both platforms obviously have excellent value and wonderful potential.  In the end, the “victor” between Google Plus and Pinterest for me in business will be determined by the specific needs and niche of each of my clients.  Who knows?  Both may even be in order!  For me personally, it’s really hard to say!   But I think I would lean more toward Google Plus.  How about YOU?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

two fighters facing off with G+ and P tattoos

5 Ways Google is Changing Its Search, and How the Changes Will Affect Blogging

March 26, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                             return to JayVee Media Link

google searchThe blog: the lifeblood of our social media existence.  Micro, macro, informational, promotional; ultimately, everything online comes back to our blogs.  Small wonder, then, why it is critically important to optimize our compositions to ensure maximum visibility.

With the ever evolving algorithms that Google is experimenting with/implementing, attaining and maintaining maximum visibility is like riding a constantly shifting paradigm.  What used to work doesn’t anymore; in fact, it could conceivably work AGAINST us.  Hence, it is crucial to stay abreast of the changes that Google is making to their search and ranking parameters.

Lately there has been a flurry of reports covering the various ways Google is looking to change its criteria.  Some were started a couple of years ago and are still works in progress; others are being rolled out imminently.  The most important aspects of these changes are:

  1. Google’s bots are being “trained” to downgrade sites that appear overly optimized.  Remember how keyword density used to be a great way to get noticed?  Now a Google search spider will label a site that uses keywords excessively as spammy, and will downgrade the “offending” site’s ranking.
  2. The same holds true if Google’s bots find too many links on a website page.  Like keywords, they are still important.  But overusing them will result in a lowering of your site’s ranking.
  3. This is really more of a reminder than a change, but I thought I’d add it anyway because it is significant.  It is still advised to add pictures to your blogs; in fact, pictures offer yet another dimension for gaining visibility thanks to sites like Pinterest.  But it’s important to remember to add alternate text to the pictures.  The Google bots don’t actually “see” photos, but they will read and score contextually optimized descriptions of them.
  4. While continuing to experiment with this dimension, Google is phasing in “semantic” capabilities in its search.  Its objective in doing so is to go beyond simple word recognition in queries, to a point where the bots can actually begin understanding what is being asked.  For this end, Google has acquired an open source knowledge graph called Freebase.  By building infrastructure layers in a knowledge graph like this one, its idea is to use Freebase as a tool to aid the creation of more knowledge. The aim is for Google’s bots to ultimately understand the actual context of a search query or a web page that they are crawling.  This is why good quality user generated content has gained so much significance in the rankings contest.  The search bots are learning to recognize and award rank value to contextually relevant written passages.
  5. Google panda fighting off poor content

  6. Incorporating content from Google Plus profiles, the Picasa photo sharing service, and content approved for sharing on these two platforms is yet another method Google has recently implemented in its quest to deliver smarter, more personalized search results as well as higher site rankings.  This is something else we must bear in mind going forward as we continue to create our content while aiming to win the best possible visibility.

So…are you ready to retool the way you create your content?  What will you change to maximize visibility, given these new Google search and ranking parameters?  Please share your thoughts in the “comments” section below!

See also:
Google Search Set To Change

Google Plans to Penalize “Overly Optimized” Sites

Google Plans Major Revamp for Search Engine

How Important is Unique Content in the Eyes of Google Panda?

Social Media Platforms – So Many; So Little Time

March 19, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                            return to JayVee Media Link                    

overwhelmed by social mediaFacebook; Twitter; You Tube; Linked In; Google Plus; Pinterest; Foursquare; Chill; WordPress; Posterous…  The list grows longer and longer every day.  How on Earth to keep up with all of the platforms?  How on Earth to manage your own PLUS your clients’ when there are only 24 hours in a day?

I shake my head in disbelief when I see advertisements from some of my peers stating that they will set up and manage 20, 30, 40 plus profiles for their clients.  Unless they have access to very large teams of workers, the only thing they will accomplish by trying to maintain a presence on that many sites is major burnout.  And poor quality output will result, as their efforts will become more diluted with each additional platform they take on.  These profiles aren’t called time suckers for nothing!  It’s easy enough to lose hours on any one of them alone!  Do you dare to imagine what it would be like to build a successfully engaged presence on even 20 profiles a day, PER CLIENT?  The truth is it’s just not possible.  The essential answer is to emphasize quality over quantity.

There is never a need to try and impress by throwing around unrealistic numbers and claims.  If anything, that is a recipe for losing your credibility.  When first formulating a strategy with your social media client, the cardinallisten carefully rule is to LISTEN ATTENTIVELY.  Take notes based on what you hear.  Ask questions to seek clarification.  What EXACTLY does your new client wish to achieve?  Think about how you can help him/her to reach that goal.  Only after taking those steps should you start putting together a marketing strategy with him/her.  Based on those expectations and the strategy you develop, you should pick just a few of the multitude of available social media platforms that are best suited to your combined needs.  By targeting a lesser number of more suitable platforms, a stronger, more engaged presence may be cultivated.  A good social media manager knows the best uses of each of those platforms, and in what capacity they will deliver the best results.  Your strategy must build from there.

From my experience, the two platforms that most reliably deliver across virtually every social media strategy are Twitter and Facebook.  More times than not, I start with them.  Depending upon the needs and expectations of my client, and his/her field, we build from there.  Sometimes we add only one more profile; sometimes more.  Other times we work only with those two.  The key is to get the best results within our strategy, and there is no rule that says you can’t have a great one with only two profiles.  Put another way, what counts is not necessarily how many platforms you accumulate; rather, it is knowing how to optimally apply the ones you use.

To figuratively put a punctuation mark on my views, I’d like to share a link to my friend Robert Caruso’s blog post on this very issue.  It is both entertaining AND informative!

How do YOU cope with the constantly expanding world of social media platforms?  What are your thoughts on strategy building in the midst of these ever emerging channels?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Chill

March 5, 2012                                                                      return to JayVee Media Link by Jeanine Vecchiarelli

There’s a new platform on the horizon.  With all the buzz about Pinterest, one could easily miss it.  It’s about a month old, but it has already racked up impressive numbers: 500,000 visitors, with 4,000 daily shares.   Meet….Chill.

ChillChill is basically the video answer to Pinterest.  The layout is virtually identical, and it operates pretty much the same way.  Pinterest does allow pinning of videos, but it is essentially for pictures.  In contrast, Chill is a dedicated video site.

Now, with big platforms like You Tube and Vimeo, who needs another video site?  According to its Los Angeles based developers, Chill is much more functional for faster, more direct user to user shares than those bigger platforms are.  It’s also much simpler to use:  log in via your Facebook profile; find a video you like and post it to your account.  You can easily post a comment, or one of a series of emoticons to show how you feel about it.  You can also see who else has viewed it.  And of course, you can share the video with Facebook and Twitter accounts.

You can find just about anything on Chill. Presently, the main thrust appears to be personal, fun-for-posting videos.  Considering that video marketing is exceptionally big this year, though, I believe Chill is going to prove indispensible for wide exposure – especially if it continues growing at the rate it is currently showing.

Will you give Chill a try? Or do you think it’s a redundant platform?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Importance of a Well Written Blog – and 6 Tips to Make it Stand Out

February 20, 2012                         return to JayVee Media Link
by Jeanine Vecchiarelli

typing a blog

blogging away!

In social media marketing, everyone knows that the blog is the life blood of an online presence.  Without an intelligently written, interactive blog site, would-be internet marketers are merely floating along in a chasm of vast, unresponsive cyberspace.  How else do you get your message out there in a way that connects with potential clients?  How do you build the trust factor and earn credibility?

Of equal importance to the blog itself is the manner in which it is composed.  With few exceptions, we fool ourselves if we believe we can sit down and bang out a quality piece in the blink of an eye.  We need to acknowledge that proper construction takes lots of time and repeated self-editing.  Here are six tips to help get us pointed in the right direction:

  1. Get a feel for the right length as you organize your thoughts into a usable sequence.  You are not going to attract hordes of readers if your posts are long-winded and rambling.
  2.  Show your human side.  No one likes to read a detached, uninspiring passage.  Potential clients have no idea who is behind the keyboard at the other end of their internet connection.  Being able to inject some personality and humanity into your writing will put your blog readers into a comfort zone.  And the more comfortable they feel, the more their trust in you and your brand is likely to build.
  3. Make sure you deliver quality content.  The best method for building trust and respect is sharing value from within your field.  Educate your readers; impart helpful tips and share instructional information that they can take away from your posts.  The more value you deliver, the more trust and confidence you instill.  The more trust and confidence you instill, the more repeat and referring readers you will create!
  4. Include pictures, and be sure to use alternate text and to caption those pictures with optimized text.  Not only are photos attractive to a reader’s eye, they help break up the monotony of reading an ongoing stream of words.  As an added bonus, in this age of Pinterest, you can spread your blog more widely by pinning its related pictures to your boards on that platform!
  5. Post short videos.  The best way for blog site visitors to get to know you is to have them see and hear a message directly from you.  While video blogging, or vlogging, has been popular in the past, this year it is ESPECIALLY so!  Videos don’t have to be masterpieces of production.  In fact, the more informal ones tend to do best among viewers these days.  There’s nothing wrong, and perhaps everything right, with recording yourself sitting across the table from your camera,  having a brief, intimate chat with your audience.
  6. Watch spelling and grammar!  This is BIG.  There is probably no faster way to rob yourself of respectful consideration than by having potential clients read a professional blog that is full of misspellings and grammatical inconsistencies.  Take the time to get it right!  Have a dictionary and thesaurus (or the URL links to them) handy while you write.  Keep your wording interesting by making use of synonyms instead of repeating the same terms ad nauseum.  Make sure subjects and verbs agree in tense as well as in singularity/plurality.  Lastly, read and then reread your post before publishing it.  Take the extra few minutes to make sure your presentation is completely professional.  You won’t regret it if you do; you just may if you don’t!

Like it or not, the blog is THE way we communicate across the worldwide web.  Whether we are announcing business promotions, sharing helpful pointers, making new connections or teaching lessons, the blog is the vehicle by which we get it done.  Learning to appreciate the form and giving it the creative respect it requires will go a long way toward achieving success in our online connections and transactions.

Have you any additional tips to offer?  I’d love to hear them!  Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

I think, therefore I blog

Pinterest: The Next Social Media Craze

“Pinterest?  What the heck is a Pinterest?”

That was my reaction when I heard its name for the first time.  I thought maybe it was a financial reward for remembering my bank account’s password code!  Suddenly, it seems I can’t go longer than a couple of hours without hearing that name.  So I decided to solve the mystery of Pinterest for myself!

Simply put, Pinterest is one of the newest social media platforms.  It is rapidly gaining in popularity as more and more people request an invitation to join – the only way you can gain entry right now.  My curiosity was especially piqued when I started hearing about its potential uses as a social media outlet for online marketing.

The concept behind Pinterest is pretty simple.  A person’s “profile” consists of a board (or multiple boards) upon which that person posts, or “pins,” pictures or videos that he/she wishes to share with the world.  The person categorizes the pinned media (as well as the board), comments about it, and can tag others with whom he/she has connected on the platform.  Comments from others can also be enabled, as can sharing across other people’s platforms. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

Personal Sharing vs. Online Business Promotion

The creators of Pinterest specifically state that they wish for their new platform to remain a channel for personal connecting and sharing, as opposed to an outlet for promoting commerce.  Even so, there do exist some strategies for doing a little “soft” promoting.  For example, you can pin a picture that is included in your blog.  Those people who interact by liking or commenting on the picture will then be exposed to your blog post – and your website.  You can also configure a button which invites your website visitors to pin any pictures they may find appealing to their boards, thereby sharing your relevant business media with the Pinterest world and beyond.  In addition, there is a mechanism for posting prices on the pictures that you pin. The value of that is certainly self explanatory.  Furthermore, you can configure one or more of your boards to accept pins from the Pinterest community.  This is a great way to encourage interaction and reviews of your products/services, as well as to get a feel for the likes and preferences of those people who interact with your board(s).

For any merchant who wants to push the envelope a little, even though doing so risks the ire of the Pinterest community, there are more direct ways to use the platform to promote products and services.  Tracy Sestili recently listed a few more direct pointers in her blog, “How to Use Pinterest for Your Business.” Among them are:

  • You can create boards for types of products you sell.
  • Add boards for “things we love this week” or “Sale items”
  • Service providers can create boards for “Tips and Tricks”
  • Create a public board where you can get input from your customers, such as “Top picks”
  • Once Pinterest opens its doors to everyone (and no longer invitation only), consider offering a discount to just Pinterest subscribers – all they have to do is follow a specific board or like a specific pin.
  • You can also tweet your pins.

Brand new as it is, Pinterest is a social media platform that will continue to grow both in utility and popularity.  As it continues to evolve, and as more social media enthusiasts see its value on both personal and professional levels, I believe the platform will carve a bigger and bigger niche for itself in the world of social media interaction.

from a "random comedy" Pinterest board!

Are you using Pinterest yet?  How are YOU employing its features?  Please let us know in the comments section!