If your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, you’re in good company. Every year, 45% of Americans make resolutions and 92% of those fail to keep them. If personal improvement seems like too lofty a goal for 2015, why not apply a few of the most common resolutions to your blog instead?
Resolution #1: Lose Weight/Get Fit
Getting rid of the extra weight on your blog will help your pages load faster and create a better user experience. High resolution images and WordPress plugins are two of the most common causes of slow page load. Trim the fat by reducing image size and resolution before you upload, rather than relying on HTML scaling to display images at the proper side. Take a look at your list of plugins and remove any that aren’t absolutely necessary, and look for plugins that can do double duty.
Resolution #2: Get Organized
If you’ve been adding categories and tags to your blog posts without any real strategy, chances are you’ve created quite a bit of content clutter in the process. Take some time to clean house. Decide on a manageable set of categories that encompass the types of content you typically write and consolidate posts into those categories. Clean up tags, too. If you have multiple versions of the same tag with capital letters, no capital letters, plural versions and singular versions, decide on a tag strategy and weed out all the stragglers.
Resolution #3: Reduce Stress
Developing a content calendar is the number one way to avoid spending 20 minutes staring at a blank screen because it’s 4 p.m., you need to write something and you’re fresh out of ideas. Plan ahead. Use that list of categories you cleaned up in resolution #2 and brainstorm post ideas for each one. Set up a tentative schedule for at least a month’s worth of content and try to build up a cache of finished posts, whether that means working a week or two ahead on your calendar or creating a handful of “evergreen” posts that you can rely on for blogging emergencies.
The year is still young. Take the rest of January to make a plan and implement a few changes, and you can join that smug 8% of resolution-makers who actually succeed!
I was asked to come back to Kent State University (my alma mater) and speak at PRSSA’s annual Communications Connection event. This was my second time speaking at this event, and it’s still crazy to me because I feel like it was just yesterday that I was the student attending this event to gain knowledge from area professionals.
The topic I was given was “finding your strengths” and I thought I would recap the key points I told the students.
- Identify what you love to do and recognize what you excel at. Build on those strengths and find opportunities that will allow you to do what you love.
- It’s OK to not know what all of your strengths are! This can take time, and that’s totally fine. (There is a great book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, that takes the guess work out of identifying your strengths and weaknesses.)
- Take advantages of committees (i.e. PRSSA Kent and AAF Kent), internships and jobs. This will allow you to gain valuable knowledge and get experience in multiple areas. You never know when these opportunities will turn into a passion you didn’t even know you had.
- When interviewing for an internship or job, I highly recommend having a section in the back of your portfolio that highlights things you are passionate about. Even though this may have nothing to do with the job you are applying for, it says a lot about you and your personality. For me, I highlighted several of my favorite photos that I had taken, along with several of my favorite posts from my Vera Bradley blog. Besides, it’s easy to talk about the things you love! Embrace it.
- If you know your strengths, but your current internship or job doesn’t necessarily list that in the job description, I would encourage anyone to volunteer. Volunteering is one of my favorite things to do- especially when I can use a skill that I’m already good at, and help an organization that may struggle in that area due to lack of resources and time. Either way, it’s a great networking opportunity and you’re gaining real-world experience, too!
- On the other hand, if you know what one of your strengths is, let’s say- media relations, yet your current internship or job doesn’t list that in your responsibilities, speak up and talk to your supervisor or boss. Letting them know (or better yet, showing them) that you are interesting in a particular area, is one way to get on their radar. Ask if you can sit in on their next media pitch or see if you can help craft the next media list, the worst they can say is “no.”
Do you have any tips that you would add? I’d love to hear them.
There was a lot of interest in the concept of open offices at the Worldcom Americas Meeting earlier this month. Open offices can offer a significant cost saving for employers, but they can also dramatically increase employee stress and decrease productivity. As open office dwellers ourselves, we’d like to share a few suggestions for those who may be considering knocking down the walls:
- Consider how much time team members spend on the phone. Lack of privacy makes client conversations more difficult, and constant exposure to other people’s phone conversations creates disruptions for those who aren’t part of the discussion.
- Separate meeting spaces from workspaces. Sound carries in an open office. Plan ahead to make sure a meeting in one part of the office won’t create so much noise that it takes over the entire space.
- Give employees a way to control how accessible they are. There’s a fine line between “spontaneous collaboration” and “constant interruption.” You might be able to ignore someone who stops at your office door in a traditional office, but that’s harder to do when they’re staring at you from the other side of a table. Let employees create visual cues that let others know when they’re not available, and respect their need for some uninterrupted time.
- Respect how employees need to work. Chances are you have account managers who spend a lot of time on the phone, senior staff who regularly meet with clients and team members, and writers, analysts or developers who need blocks of uninterrupted time to produce work. Creating a space that works for everyone may mean grouping employees together by work style rather than client team.
- Ask your employees for their input before you draw up plans. Their insight can help you determine the best use for your space and minimize frustration and stress in the long run.
Author: Pam Long[Google+]
I am pleased to announce that True Digital Communications joined the Worldcom Public Relations Group this week. I was a member of this esteemed network of independent PR and marketing firms in the past and am so happy that they welcomed True into the network. We are the only digital marketing focused firm in the network.
For our clients today, we now have the ability to provide you access to firsthand geographic insights and representation, best-in-class public relations services and experience, and unparalleled industry knowledge. For example, if you have an event in Los Angeles, we will work with The Pollack PR Marketing Group, which is based there, to provide strategic planning and support. There are more than 140 agencies in the Worldcom network with offices all around the globe. See the full list here.
I am a firm believer in working with partners who can provide knowledge and insights to help our clients achieve greater results and growth. I know many of our Worldcom partners personally and believe we can work together well with them in developing solutions to meet our clients’ challenges.
As True continues to grow, I will be tapping well-established and successful Worldcom friends to give us direction and insights as we add services, team members and continue to evolve. I know we will be better because of it.
In addition, many Worldcom member agencies are already reaching out to our True Team members to provide digital marketing services and recommendations. We are quickly finding our skills and services are helping create successful integrated campaigns for their clients.
Worldcom is an exciting partnership for True and for all of our clients, today and tomorrow. I invite you to check out Worldcom and please let us know what questions you have.
The audience data on Facebook is a marketer’s dream. And if you aren’t using Facebook’s free tools to mine it, you’re missing out on valuable insights about your customers.
Graph Search queries aren’t new to Facebook (they launched in 2013 with updated profiles), but so few people seem to use the feature. Its primary purpose is to make Facebook more like Google – answering useful questions for Facebook users to add value to the service. For example, typing “Restaurants my friends like near Cleveland”) in the blue header bar returns a Yelp-like map of restaurants and reviews. But the information you can query about pages, people who like pages and their interest are endless. What can you find out? Glad you asked. See the full list of Graph Search queries for marketers below.
There are a lot of things this info can do for you, including:
- Guide your content strategy
- Offer promotion and contest ideas
- Reveal ad targeting opportunities
- Show social media best practices for similar audiences
Don’t let the long list of queries scare you. You won’t need all of them. We just had trouble finding a comprehensive list for marketers, so we made one of our own! If you just want to learn a little more about your audience, try starting with the following process.
- “Interests of people who like [my page]” – Dip your toe in the water and learn a little bit about your audience’s interests.
- “Pages liked by people who like [my page]” – Similar to interests, this will tell you what your audience does on social media. Look for your competition on this list to determine if there’s a strong overlap.
- “Pages liked by people who are interested in [interests revealed by previous searches]” – See what pages with people with those interests like. What kind of content do those pages post? What kind of tone do they use?
- “Groups of people who like [pages identified in step 3]” – Looking at the groups those users belong to will give you an idea of the types of conversions and topics the audience finds interesting. It can help you determine the types of content you should produce or help you find influencers.
- Repeat all the above steps for your competition. Depending on the overlap in likes, you may get dramatically different results.
Discover What People Like
Find out what people like:
- Favorite interests of [person]
- Favorite interests of people who like [place]
- Favorite interests of people who live in [place]
- Favorite interests of people who like [page] and live nearby
- Favorite interests of people who like [page] and live in [place]
- Favorite interests of people who like [page] and work at [company]
- [organization, media, place, page, person] liked by people who like [page]
- [organization, media, place, page, person] liked by people who live in [place]
- [organization, media, place, page, person] liked by people who work at [company]
- [organization, media, place, page, person] liked by people who live in [place] and like [page]
Similar/Popular Page Identification
- Pages liked by people who like [page]
- Pages liked by people who live in [page]
- Pages liked by people who like [page] and work at [company]
- Pages liked by people who like [page] and live in [place]
- Pages liked by people who like [page] and visited [place or location page]
- Pages liked by people who like [page] and visited [place or location page]
- Pages liked by people who live in [place] and work at [company]
- Pages liked by people who live in [place] and visited [place or location page]
- Pages liked by people who live in [place] and visited [place]
- Pages liked by people who live in [place] and like [page]
Find people by where they work:
- People who work at [company] and like [page]
- People who work at [company] and live in [place]
- People who work at [company] and visited [place or location page]
Find people by pages they like:
- People who like [page] and [page]
- People who like [page] and [place]
- People who like [page] and visited [place or location page]
Find a new group:
- Groups of people who like [page]
- Groups of people who like [page] and [page]
- Groups of people who like [page] and visited [place or location page]
- Places that people who like [page] visited
- Places that people who live in [place] visited
- Places that people who work at [company] visited
- Places that people who work at [company] and like [page] visited
- Places that people who work at [company] and live in [place] visited
Author: Tyler Norris [Google+]
Over the past six months, I’ve noticed an overwhelming (and somewhat shocking) trend at almost every in-person meeting I attend. Before I tell you what it is, I bet you either have one right beside you, or you may be reading this blog post from one. That’s right – I’m talking about cell phones – those wonderful little devices that allow us to hold the whole world on our fingertips. Now, I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of having my iPhone by me at meetings from time to time, but now that I’m tuned into the fact that many of us feel we “need” to have our devices inches from our reach, I’ve been consciously putting my phone away. This rant isn’t to scold anyone who may keep their phone next to them, but I’m hoping this may serve as a gentle reminder that it’s OK to put your phone away. I promise you that the withdrawal from your device won’t kill you. Sure, you may get the shakes or feel anxious about missing the next great selfie your friends post to Facebook- but I can guarantee you (and most importantly) your co-workers and client will secretly be happy that you were fully engaged in the conversation.
Are we capable of multitasking?
Multitasking is a skill that many people think they are good at. But can the human brain truly process multiple things at the same time and process them well? Ira Hyman, a Western Washington University cognitive psychologist and professor believes multitasking comes at a significant cost. “Whenever people are in a situation when they’re both trying to track a social interaction they’re engaged in and track something with their cell phones, they’re engaged in a divided-attention task,” Hyman says. “What this means is that they’ll do both things more poorly than if they did one of them.”
I guess the point I’m trying to get to is that having your phone out at a meeting just seems rude. So please, the next time you’re in a face-to-face meeting, make it just that. Face-to-screen just isn’t the same.
Author: Allison Ewing[Google+]