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personal brand

How To Build A Strong Personal Brand

When people think of the word “brand”, they often think of big companies: Pepsi, Chevy, Apple.  But in today’s times, not only do big companies must think about their brand, but so do small companies as well as individuals.  It is important to think about your own personal brand and how they will market themselves as they shape their career.  A strong and authentic personal brand will help you with networking, developing relationships, finding new opportunities, as well as recognition at work or in your industry. Developing your brand can help you become a thought leader in your field.

To get started, here are a few steps to take to get started on shaping your personal brand:

DEFINE YOURSELF

What makes you unique?  What are you good at and what sets you apart from everyone else?

Your personal brand consists of your experience, skills, and passions. Click To TweetThese are the qualities that make up your unique selling points and will play a role when people are searching online for these skills and characteristics.

Are there others who have the same skills with the same goals that you have? Of course. But what makes you unique is you. There isn’t anyone else exactly like you, so it’s important to illustrate what is totally and uniquely you. You must find your niche. For example, I’m a marketer with writing skills, a knack for promoting events with experience with large organizations and a passion for non-profit organizations who make a difference in their communities, and I love music. Maybe someone else is a marketer with large organization experience and they’re passionate about art.

DEFINE HOW YOU ARE PERCEIVED

How do your friends, colleagues, other professionals, and people in your online communities perceive you? Try googling yourself. Take note what shows up first in the search results. Does it line up with how you define yourself?

Monitor your mentions online with google alerts. You’ll want to stay on top of what people are saying about you and where your name is appearing online.

DEFINE YOUR GOALS

Does your online brand reflect your career goals? Do you need to change course or reinforce what’s there?  The online world is a busy, noisy one. You must work to stand out. Be sure your brand reflects the niche you want to be known for.

CREATE CONTENT

Creating and sharing content is the best way to establish expertise and show that your brand is authentic.Click To Tweet

You will need to learn to create and curate content well. There are many options available to you when it comes to creating content. You can write a blog offering expert advise , personal stories or commentary. You can also create graphics or start a podcast. Video is exceptionally popular and engaging. Keep in mind your goals and determine what forms of content make sense for  your niche as well as what type of content you are best at creating.

Be sure to also share from industry influencers. Sharing curated content helps you establish and build relationships with people in your field.

NETWORK

Even if you’re an introvert, you can and should network. Much of your networking can be done online. However, you’ll eventually need to take some of your networking efforts offline as well. Nothing beats face to face interaction when it comes to networking and building relationships. Become active in communities that you are passionate about. Keeping a consistent presence online and off will help build awareness and recognition for your brand.

A strong personal brand requires a strong narrative. What’s your story? Think of influencers with a strong personal brand and their story.

Make sure you are constantly cultivating and guiding your personal brand. A strong personal brand should always be evolving.

social media

Social Media Spotlight: Mandy Edwards

In my first post of my new series the “Social Media Spotlight”, I am picking the brain of my dear friend and colleague, Mandy Edwards of ME Marketing Services. Mandy is currently a contributor to Steamfeed, blogging on social media advertising & etiquette.  She also contributes to Social Media Today, Business2Community, Internet Billboards, The Southern C and Millennial CEO. She is my go-to expert on social media marketing advertising and I simply enjoy chatting her up from time to time as colleagues. For our spotlight, I asked her a variety of social media marketing questions in order to get some valuable “nuggets” to share with you all.

Here’s our Q & A:

  1. How do you find relevant content for your audience?

I have a variety of sources I use to find content. I have my favorite authors I like to follow (Mark Schaefer, Jay Baer, Scott Monty – to name a few) but I also follow aggregate sites like Social Media Today and Business 2 Community to see what people are writing about. I also like to follow industry publications like Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes and such. I have Twitter lists set up to follow all of those so it’s easy to retweet the articles I think my followers may enjoy.

 

  1. What are the two most important social media tools that you use?

The two most important are Sprout Social and TailWind. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a hopeless Sprout addict and Sprout took notice and asked me to join their new Sprout All-Star Influencer Program. Their social management tool has made managing my clients’ accounts a breeze and the customer service their provide is amazing. TailWind is the app I use to manage my clients’ Pinterest accounts since, unfortunately, that is the one platform Sprout doesn’t provide management for (yet). I love being able to schedule pins out a month in advance and re-pin older pins that maybe didn’t do as well as you would have liked.

  1. How do you find inspiration for blogging consistency?

Blogging consistency is something I struggle with all the time. When I say the struggle is real, the struggle is real. Life and business gets in the way. My goal is two articles each week but as long as I get one, I’m good. I find setting a goal to be a good inspiration – and not wanting the (local) competition to have more out than you! Blogging consistency is more of a discipline than anything else. Some people are good at publishing 3-5 articles a week, while others are good at 1-2 per month.

Inspire yourself with a realistic blogging goal and see if you can beat it each time.Click To Tweet

  1. What is your best tip for engagement?

Just be there. It’s hard to engage if you aren’t online. Be online and look for conversations to take part in or just start one yourself by asking a question.

  1. What do you think is the most important social media trend in 2016?

This seems to be the million-dollar question. I don’t know if there is one important social media trend this year. I see several – more video, more social advertising, more real-time posting, more being in the moment, more creative content. Companies are going to have to get out of the box and get creative because of content shock – be on the lookout for that!

Be sure to follow Mandy on Twitter and Facebook and check out her blog. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below.

twitter advanced search

Content Curation Made Simple: Twitter Advanced Search

Social media marketing has become a way of life for savvy business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals trying to build a personal brand. Truth be told, social media marketing is a lot of work in building a community and sharing great content.  One of the best ways to engage with your audience outside of creating engaging, valuable and relevant content is to curate interesting content to share.

Using the right tools and resources to find the right content and easily share it with your audience will allow you to be able to save time and find content your audience will appreciate.

TWITTER ADVANCED SEARCH

Finding the right content is about using the right tools and knowing what and how to search.Click To TweetTwitter Advanced Search is a powerful resource. On Twitter’s search results page, you’ll have menu options allowing you to filter by media type, (photos, videos) profiles, and more. But what’s also great is the ability to curate content on any topic.

In the search fields, add your topic to the ‘All of these words’ field and then add ‘http’ to ‘This Exact phrase’. So, for example, if you want to find blog posts related to estate planning, your search will pull up results  as seen below where you can select to see the top tweets, the “live” or most recent ones, photos, videos and more.

twitter advanced search

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another time saving aspect of Twitter Advanced Search is the ability to save searches. Twitter allows you to save up to 25 searches per account. To save a search, click More options at the top of your results page and then click “Save this search.” Saved searches are also a great way to track keywords that are relevant to your business.

MAKING LISTS

When you’re using Twitter Advanced Search you’ll no doubt come across Twitter profiles who share awesome content or whose content is ideal for your audience. Those profiles you’ll want to be able to come back to for fresh new content on a regular basis so that you can in turn share that content with your audience. A great way to do that is with Twitter lists. You’ll want to create a list of profiles that will filter out just their tweets so that when they tweet our their latest blog posts you’ll be able to see it quickly and easily. I have a list of Social Media Marketing resources that include companies who share amazing content such as Buffer, SocialTimes and Copyblogger.

ALWAYS BE SOCIAL

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in social media is “firehosing.” Make sure that in addition to creating and sharing awesome content, that you’re having converations and sharing your thoughts. Tell your audience why the post you’re sharing is valuable or your favorite takeaway. Ask your audience what they think in return. Don’t just set it and forget it. Be sure to engage as you get replies and shares.  Always begin and look for the conversation.

website

Website Traffic: Give Your Audience The Green Light

Our prime online real estate is our website. Every effort that we make, every online activity for our business, we’re hoping results in a visit to our website and ultimately leads to action. You’ve worked hard to make your website look good, to show what you can offer, how you can solve your target audience’s problems, and how you can make their life better. Your website is designed to let them get to know you better. You’re hoping to win them over. But in order to do that, they have to land there.

How do you get visitors to your website? Well, there are some really obvious ways and perhaps some you didn’t even think about. So let’s go through some possibilities to make sure you’re covering your bases.

Social Media

You might be thinking “duh”! But let’s just think about it for a minute. It’s time to do a checkup on your social sites. Are your website links where they should be? Did you set up apps on your Facebook page and are they leading to your website? Does your Twitter bio include your website link? What about Instagram? LinkedIn gives you a few options for website links. Are you taking advantage of them? Take inventory of your social sites to be sure your links are there. Don’t forget your personal profiles.

Email Signature

Your email signature is a great place to drive traffic to your site.  Your signature can include more than your name and title or phone number. Your website should be there too. You can set up signatures with any email provider, but you can use an app to make your signature really stand out. I use Wisestamp. You can have a free version that will include an add, or upgrade to the paid version and choose from several design options ad free.

Content Curation Sites

Are you sharing your blog content on sites like Scoopit, Spundge, or Medium? These are excellent places for discovering content, so make sure your content can be discovered there. Medium for example, is growing in popularity. It’s a great place for publishing and a place for content distribution.

Drive traffic to your site by showcasing your content where people are looking for great content.Click To Tweet

Linkedin Publisher

We already mentioned social media sites, but you may not be taking advantage of LinkedIn’s all important Publisher tool. You can blog straight from the site and gain exposure to a possibly new audience with your posts. Read my post on how to repurpose your content for LinkedIn Publisher and link back to your website in the process.

Never miss an opportunity to direct people to your online hub. Take advantage of what’s out there to get your audience where you ultimately want them to land.

digital marketing search and social influence

Digital Marketing: The Search and Social Influence

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Eastern Michigan University, Center for Digital Engagement’s Search Marketing Workshop. The theme of this year’s event was, “The Fusion of Everything”. While Digital has shifted from web only to many things: web, mobile, car, home entertainment system, etc;. search and social media remain the constant in this fusion. As a result, digital marketing is becoming more and more personal.

With digital, you can be marketed to at any time and messaging is tailored to your preferences.Click To Tweet

I’d like to share some of my favorite highlights, tips, quotes and “snackable chunks” from the workshop.

The day started with a Morning Keynote from Jon Beebe, Director of Digital Advertising and Analytics at General Motors discussing “Advanced Audience Marketing: Using Big Data to Understand, Recognize and Engage Customers.”  Big Data for Marketing has big opportunities. Every engagement as the opportunity to create different sets and types of data. Here are some highlights:

  • Throughout all interactions, customers move from one state to another. All data can be anonymously matched back to a “Universal ID.”
  • Outside-In Approach to Data:Leverages external data partnerships, and may include or exclude customer data, depending on objectives and the target customer. “Universal ID” enables cross-interaction recognition, integrated messaging and media efficiencies.
  • Integration provides greater customer insights but a one size fits all approach is suboptimal because the path to purchase is complex.
  • 3 integration barriers: poor data quality, siloed departments and inability to link different marketing technologies.
  • Stream together behavioral data with your customer data. Engagement from your audience can help optimize your content.

At the Integrated Digital Marketing Track: Search and Social, Making It All Work Together included presentations from Susan Emerick, Principal of Brands Rising, Jeff Alderman, VP, Partner of Performance Digital-Search, Universal McCann and Sean Hickey, COO of PWB.

Highlights on General Search and Social Integration:

  • Create a vision of the integrated world within your company and have a shared plan to get there.
  • Play to their strengths: search is a demand/pull tactic, social is an engagement/push tactic.
  • Encourage bi-directional learnings.
  • Be a testing fanatic.
  • Use a centralized measurement system.
  • Avoid waiting until it’s perfect.

Brands are looking to engage people that are seeking information and express intent to purchase. The real time bidding ecosystem including SEM and social enables brands to identify, engage and acquire audiences throughout their decision journey.

In the Effective Social Campaigns breakout, we heard fronm Kelly LaVaute, Editor in Chief, Chevy Social, FleishmanHillard, David Murray, Manager of Social Media, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Taylor Hulyk, Social Media Director, re:group.

All three speakers shared real campaigns, what their goals were, what the results were and what they learned. My favorite takeaways from this breakout were:

“Branded hashtags don’t really insert you into a conversation. Broad ones help you to be a part of a broader conversation.” – Kelly LaVaute

“I believe that creating an emotional connection with social communication is the most important thing.” – Dave Murray

“When faced without assets, advertisers can use social to run photo contests that drive engagement and assets.” – Taylor Hulyk

Following the workshop, re:group posted a blog on how to execute social media contests for the purpose of crowdsourcing customer multimedia assets based on Taylor Hulyk’s talk at the workshop. Make sure you bookmark it!

We wrapped up the day with a lunch panel that included Bob Chunn, Co Founder and CEO, ContentOro, Shamir Ozery, Director of Marketing, Message Blocks, Matt Laurin, Web Marketing Analyst, General RV and moderator Grace Hsia, Co-Founder and CEO, Warmilu.

We discussed in general, how do you make digital work without blowing the bank?

Here are some tips:

  • Business owners should learn how to do as much as they can on their own. Use videos and blogs to teach yourself how to do a lot of your own work, and outsource what’s left.
  • Use marketing channels for what they’re intended for.
  • Creating content! Content creation is not paying for search but get the benefit of people searching.
  • Content marketing is a solution to the need to communicate with customers.
  • Creating content and curating will help you avoid spending a lot of money and getting nothing back.
  • Figure out what your goals are FIRST. Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish, THEN look at the data according to that.
  • Focus your efforts on the outreach and use free tools to analyze data.
  • In order to grow you need to look at unbranded traffic/keywords.

The workshop resulted in plenty of valuable information and takeaways that were very applicable to marketers and their everyday use of digital marketing. I am looking forward to 2016!

You can catch more highlights from myself and all the attendees who were tweeting out information and quotes with the #EMUDigital hashtag with my storify story:

 

 

 

 

 

content

Crafting Content To Engage Your Audience

Updated July 11,2017

No doubt it’s a noisy online world. We are overwhelmed with endless content. You can practically find out anything you want on any subject simply by googling it. So how do you stand out in such a crowded world on social media? You’ll want to focus on your followers and sharing content that will keep your audience’s attention and engages them to share and have conversations. Here are a few suggestions to accomplish that:

Share Visual Content

Visual content allows you to send a message in creative simple ways that grab your attention. They’re also pretty simple to make. Photos and videos can easily be created from your phone. There are many tools that can help folks like you and me who have zero design skills make pretty decent graphics. Some of my favorites are Canva, Pic Monkey, Pinstamatic and Piktochart for infographics.

Visual content can be curated as well. When you come across great photos, videos and graphics that are relevant to your audience, they will appreciate it.

Give Gifts

Does your audience love guides, how-to’s, ebooks or maybe webinars? Create content or host a webinar or hangout that answers some of the questions your audience is asking. Help solve a problem that your audience members have. It’s always a good idea to pose questions to your audience to see how you can bring value through your content and your business service or products.

Focus On Your Audience

When you ask your audience’s opinion, or ask for their feedback, they’re more likely to engage with you.Click To Tweet.

Make them part of your story by asking them questions or simply by making them a part of your strategy.

Another great way to do this is to have them create as well. Make a hashtag for your business and ask your fans to post pictures about your product or service or something relating to it.  This could work on more than one social network. When your fans participate, be sure to share their photos, comment and start conversations with them. This is a great opportunity to build relationships.

Don’t Hesitate To Curate

Your content should be useful, interesting, entertaining and valuable. It doesn’t all have to be original content. Share the best of what you find. Think about the type of content you crave. I appreciate content that helps me do things better. Content that teaches me something that can help me be a better business person, a more informed consumer, a better parent, and so on.

Think about what you enjoy, what engages you and what you share and use that as a guide when choosing and creating content for your audience.Click To Tweet

It’s not about you, it’s about them.

When you focus less on selling a product or service and more on your audience, their needs and how you can help them, the better content you will create. The better your content, the more engagement you will have. This builds relationships. Relationship building is what social media is all about. Keep the right focus to get the right results.

Photo credit: marfis75 via photopin cc