Cynicism, Irony and Sarcasm In Service Of Social Justice

Durable, strong and adaptable. This is how a 9 year old child is described who is available for purchase on a home shopping network. For $65 you can own a child that can work up to 18 hours a day for you. Luckily, this is just a spoof conceptualised by ad agency KBS+P for World Vision Canada. The parody of a home shopping network shows the perfectly coiffed hosts talk about the ever versatile, hard working and adaptable 9 year old child named Keweshi who can work all day for you.

World Vision are fighting child slavery by updating what a slavery auction must have looked like, fitting it into our TV home-shopping of modern times. Slavery might not be legal these days, but the daunting statistic that every year 1.2 million children are sold into slavery is the unfortunate reality behind the campaign.

– See more at: http://www.simplyzesty.com/Blog/Article/June-2013/9-Year-Old-Child-Available-For-Purchase-In-World-Vision-s-Latest-Campaign?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Simplyviral+%28Simply+Viral+%29#sthash.GohZ2kQ5.dpuf

 

Durable, strong and adaptable. This is how a 9 year old child is described who is available for purchase on a home shopping network. For $65 you can own a child that can work up to 18 hours a day for you. Luckily, this is just a spoof conceptualised by ad agency KBS+P for World Vision Canada. The parody of a home shopping network shows the perfectly coiffed hosts talk about the ever versatile, hard working and adaptable 9 year old child named Keweshi who can work all day for you.

World Vision are fighting child slavery by updating what a slavery auction must have looked like, fitting it into our TV home-shopping of modern times. Slavery might not be legal these days, but the daunting statistic that every year 1.2 million children are sold into slavery is the unfortunate reality behind the campaign.

– See more at: http://www.simplyzesty.com/Blog/Article/June-2013/9-Year-Old-Child-Available-For-Purchase-In-World-Vision-s-Latest-Campaign?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Simplyviral+%28Simply+Viral+%29#sthash.GohZ2kQ5.dpuf

Artist Outshines An Army Of Government Planners

These magnificent creatures make up part of one of the most innovative emergency management programs in the country — seriously, the CDC and FEMA even said so — by providing memorable locations where New Orleans residents know they can show up and find free rides in the event of an evacuation.
Thanks to

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Carolyn Silveira More from Carolyn »

M Click image to Zoom In

Or maybe it’s this guy.


There’s a lot of them!

And Evacuteers, who are trained each season, will meet you there. 

And take you out of your neighborhood to where the official folks are waiting …

… and can help you get the heck outta Dodge. 

Sure beats the old system! Would you remember your evacuation spot if it were marked like the picture on the left?

ORIGINAL: EvacuSpots sculptures by artist Douglas Kornfeld. Photos by James Shaw and Evacuteer.org. Found thanks to Anya Kamenetz‘s article on Fast Company.

The Consumer Email Habit Loop

The Consumer Email Habit Loop
by Kara Trivunovic, Monday, June 24, 2013

I recently started reading “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” by Charles Duhigg. Going in, I wanted to tap the information about the habits of successful organizations, but as it turns out, I’ve found myself absolutely intrigued by the science behind the development (and re-development) of habits in individuals.

A major theme of the book focuses on the idea of a three-step habit loop that turns our everyday behaviors into auto-pilot habits. I’ll argue that email marketers have created a similar three-step email habit loop with consumers and subscribers. But are we using the habit loop effectively, to bring marketers the results we want?

The three stages of the habit loop are

  1. cue,
  2. routine and
  3. reward.

The cue is what triggers the behavior; the routine is the physical, emotional or mental action that is taken as a result of the cue/trigger; and the reward is… well, the reward for completing the routine. In addition, there is one critical element that writes this loop to the brain, emblazoning it as a habit: the craving.

You can find this psychology embedded somewhere in just about every good and lasting marketing campaign. As marketers, we create the cue, incent the routine and provide the reward – with the goal of instilling that craving that compels the consumer to complete the habit loop again.

Armed with this knowledge, how can you use it deliberately to strengthen your email marketing programs? Let’s start with where most marketers are today. The cue occurs when subscribers get their email (could be the blinking of a light on the phone, a vibration or a noise, even a time of day). The routine is for them to check that email, and the reward (hopefully) is to receive a relevant and timely discount or sale from the brand(s) they love. The question remains, though: Have you successfully created anticipation and craving for more?

CUES

In addition to the simple receipt of the email, marketers can further enhance cues with “from” names and compelling subject lines. There’s probably some optimal combination of “from” name, subject line, brand perception and timing that creates the optimal cues for the customer and drives the routine.

But what you think is the right cue may not be. Duhigg uses Febreze® air freshener and odor eliminator as an example. Initially, researchers felt the right cue would be the bad smells that occur for certain consumers, like pet owners, park rangers, and parents with teenagers. But they found this cue to be unsuccessful. Ironically, the people who most needed to eradicate strong odors had grown so accustomed to them that they didn’t recognize that they had a problem! Instead, the successful cue was the simple act of vacuuming. Look at the cues you are using for your programs carefully, and validate that they are, in fact, the cues that will drive your success.

ROUTINE

As an email marketer, you likely want to accomplish one of these routines in your habit loop: repeatable site traffic, open and/or click on your email content, and/or conversion or completion of the desired task. To drive the routine, you may need to encourage or nudge the customer in the proper direction the first few times. Febreze gave households free samples and suggested spraying a room when the vacuuming was complete. It doesn’t hurt to actually tell the customer what it is you are asking of them.

REWARD

What rewards are you offering your customers? Discounts, sales, coupons, insight, information? The reward must be worthwhile and of value to the customer — but that doesn’t mean it always has to be monetary. Febreze completed its habit loop with a reward of the fresh smell of a clean room as the test participants walked out of the rooms. A fresh scent (and a sense of accomplishment) was all it took to drive Febreze’s success — which continues today.

If you apply the habit loop framework to common activities in your life, you’ll find it easy to begin dissecting the concept and identifying how applicable it really is? For example, is Facebook the first page you look at when you pop open your browser? These are the types of habits we should be striving to drive with the email programs we send — so much so that the consumer anticipates the message from your brand and craves the reward that you provide. If you don’t believe your programs are driving to an effective habit loop, now is as good a time as any to start working toward it.

But the reality is that marketers have their own email habit loop. I’ll explore this with you in my next post. Meanwhile, I encourage you to start exploring your cues and rewards. And as you do, ask yourself the critical question: “Is my email habit-forming?”
Post your response to the public Email Insider blog.

See what others are saying on the Email Insider blog.

Kara Trivunovic is Vice President of Strategic Services for BlueHornet, an enterprise email service provider.
Email Insider for Monday, June 24, 2013:
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/203208/the-consumer-email-habit-loop.html

Mapping The Protests In Turkey

by Allison McCartney3 weeks ago Filed Under: Data

In Istanbul, a small citizen sit-in quickly escalated into a nation-wide movement of anti-government demonstrations that has so far claimed the lives of two people and mobilized an estimated 250,000.

While video can offer a live glimpse of the action and social media can reveal the thoughts of the crowd, only a map can illustrate the massive geographical scope of the movement.

To date, about 90 protests have been reported in 67 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, many in territories hundreds of miles from Istanbul and Gezi Park.

Using a compilation of the latest news reports, we plotted the location of the largest protests, how many people participated and on what day the protests started.

#OccupyGezi: Turkish Protests in 2013

Time To Revaluate Your Website

Denny Hatch had a great article on actionable steps I can immediately and easily implement. This is a huge gift for anyone who don’t know what they need to  know about creating a rewarding user web experience of your online presence.

I am finally putting to bed a new book, “WRITE EVERYTHING RIGHT!” It has taught me one key lesson:

If text is not easy to read, people won’t read it.

This is especially true on the Internet, where we are all one mouse-click away from oblivion.

P.R.: An Industry Creating Truly Poor Web Communications
This column was triggered when I started putting together a plan for the public relations, promotion and publicity of “WRITE EVERYTHING RIGHT!”

Which of the four major press release distribution servicesOpens in a new window would give me the biggest bang for my buck?

BusinessWire
Annual revenue: $5MM+
No. of employees: 100+
Distribution points: 1,200+
No. of clients: 20,000+

MarketWire
Annual revenue: $5MM+
No. of employees: 100+
Distribution points: ±4,700
No. of clients: 8,000

PRNewswire
Annual revenue: $5MM+
No. of employees: 26-50
Distribution points: ±1,0000
No. of clients: 1,000+

PRWeb
Annual revenue: $5MM+
No. of employees: 100+
Distribution points: ±1,0000
No. of clients: 30,000+

My conclusion: No matter how compelling and relevant your press release, it will be unreadable when handled by any of these services.

Online Readability: The Optimal Line Length
I had an exchange with Christian Holst of the Baymard InstituteOpens in a new window in Copenhagen. Here are the nuts-‘n’-bolts of making it easiest for the online reader:

“Having the right amount of characters on each line is key to the
readability of your text. It shouldn’t merely be your design that dictates
the width of your text, it should also be a matter of legibility.

“The optimal line length for your body text is considered to be 50-60
characters per line, including spaces (“Typographie”, E. Ruder). Other
sources
Opens in a new window suggest that up to 75 characters is acceptable. So what’s the
downside of violating this range?

“Too long — if a line of text is too long the visitor’s eye will have a hard
time focusing on the text. This is because the length makes it difficult to
get an idea of where the line starts and ends. Furthermore it can be
difficult to continue from the correct line in large blocks of text.

“Too short — if a line is too short the eye will have to travel back too
often, breaking the reader’s rhythm. Too short lines also tend to stress
people, making them begin on the next line before finishing the current
one (hence skipping potentially important words).

“It turns out that the subconscious mind is energized when jumping to the
next line (as long as it doesn’t happen too frequently). At the beginning
of every new line the reader is focused, but this focus gradually wears off
over the duration of the line (“Typographie”, E. Ruder).

“In order to avoid the drawbacks of too long and too short lines,
but still energize your readers and keep them engaged, we
suggest keeping it within the range of 50-75 characters per line.
—Christian Holst, Baymard InstituteOpens in a new window 

N.B. The six paragraphs above by Christian Holst follow his rules about line widths. All are a comfortable 75 characters including spaces.

The text you are reading now has a width in the range of 105 characters.

Compare how easy it is to read Christian Holst above vs. the difficulty in reading Denny Hatch here.
Vertical vs. Horizontal
The problem: A sheet of stationary, a book or a magazine is a vertical format. As readers, we are used to vertical documents. Our eyes are comfortable with text up to 75 characters wide.

The computer screen you are looking at is horizontal. When lines of type sprawl all the way across this horizontal screen they can be double—and more—the maximum comfort-level width of 75 characters.

Thus the text is beyond easy comprehension. It is unreadable.

Sadly, the industry totally dependent on easy reading—public relations and publicity—is a total failure.

Examples are shown in the media player at upper right, or click on the hyperlinks below to see the actual documents:

BusinessWire press releaseOpens in a new window: 184 characters wide.

MarketWire press release:Opens in a new window 140 characters wide.

PRWeb press release:Opens in a new window 128 characters wide.

PRNewswire press release:Opens in a new window 128 characters wide.

PRNewswire press release above as redistributed by The Wall Street JournalOpens in a new window:Opens in a new window 133 characters wide.

The Purpose of a Press Release
Bill Stoller, proprietor of publiscityinsider.com defines a press release as:Opens in a new window

… a pseudo-news story, written in third person that seeks to demonstrate to an editor or reporter the newsworthiness of a particular person, event, service or product.

To put it bluntly, a press release is a paid pitch just like an advertisement. Only it is designed to look like a news item rather than an ad.

To guarantee readership, the output of P.R. practitioners (flaks) must slavishly follow the dictum of the great 20th century newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane:

“Good writing has to be easier to read than to skip.”

If good writing is junked up with know-nothing design, it is easier to skip than to read.

The Background of Unreadable Websites
The dot-com boom of the mid-1990s was huge. Many thousands of young, inexperienced designers with no training and no experience were hired by a legion of young, inexperienced entrepreneurs.

In terms of reading, I suggest few of these hotshots ever got beyond “Peter Rabbit” and “Johnny Crow’s Garden.”

They are not readers. In their skewed minds they were hired to make things look pretty.

Website design is about them, not about the reader.

“The Internet is a new medium, a new paradigm,” we geezers were told. “Your old rules no longer apply. This is a world of new rules, and we make ’em.”

Those who did the hiring were too young to have been mentored by knowledgeable professionals. So the kids they hired were allowed to run wild.

After the crash of 2000—where trillions of dollars evaporated—many of these smug, full-of-themselves amateur designers lost their jobs and returned home to live with their parents.

Unfortunately, their deeply flawed ideas became the norm. Ask a Web designer why a site looks the way it does, the answer will be: “This is how it’s done.”

Ask a Web designer why type is in unreadable pastel hues or faint gray and the response is the same: “That’s the fashion today.”

A Simple Way to Make Press Releases Readable
Take a moment to look at the five examples cited above. Two of them—BusinessWire and Marketwire—are designed with lines of type splayed out across the full screen.

PRWeb and PRNewswire start off with the top parts being readable widths because of sidebars and illustrations in the right hand columns.

In the newspaper world, the top area is described as “above the fold.”  Traditionally, this is where newspaper make-up people work hard to catch the reader’s eye.

Once the Web designer runs out of this extraneous stuff at the top of a press release, all that remains below is a lot of white space. Designers abhor white space.

So they fill it with type.

Ergo, a nasty reading experience has been created.

The solution: use wide margins. Set the copy at the preferred maximum width of 75 characters for ease of reading.

Don’t worry about a lot of white space.

After all, we’re not talking about the cost of paper. This is the digital world. White space is free.

The reader needs care and feeding—not the white space.

Size Matters
I back up my desktop computer once a week onto an external drive. I then transfer all the week’s updates to my laptop.

If I have to travel somewhere, my laptop instantly becomes the main computer.

“Type smaller than 9-point is difficult for most people to read,” David Ogivly wrote.

On my laptop, these sprawling press releases are turned into mouse-type—the equivalent of 7-point type.

I don’t have time for this idiocy.

Takeaways to Consider

  • If text is not easy to read, people won’t read it.
  • “In order to avoid the drawbacks of too long and too short lines, but still energize your readers and keep them engaged, we suggest keeping it within the range of 50-75 characters per line.” —Christian Holst, Baymard Institute
  •  “Good writing has to be easier to read than to skip.” —Arthur Brisbane
  • If good writing is junked up with know-nothing design, it is easier to skip than to read.
  • In the digital world, we are all a mouse-click from oblivion.
  • Take a moment to look at your website. Is the text readable? Did your designer follow the rules?
  • If not, maybe you should fix it.
  • And hire a designer who understands word is king, while design and art are supportive elements.
  •  “God protect us from amateurs!” —Henry Castor

The Hummingbird Marketing Model

Share1

Most birds go to massive lengths to protect their nests. They may build them in a deep cavity of a tree. Or high up in a tall tree.

They may cover their nest with mud to disguise it. Some build their nest in the form of a deep sock to prevent entry by unwanted visitors. And birds use many more tricks to attempt to outsmart predators.

The result?

Many of these birds end up having their nests invaded, the eggs stolen, the babies eaten and often the entire nest may be destroyed.

Not so with many species of hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds are smart little suckers.

Black-chinned hummingbirds build their nests in close proximity to Coopers Hawks nests. Why? Because Coopers Hawks feed primarily on other birds, so other birds do everything possible to avoid them. And since other birds are the main predators for Black-chinned hummingbird eggs, their problem is instantly solved.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds in Florida are known to build their nests above alligator infested waters. Since their main predators are raccoons, the
alligators provide a reliable “predator removal” service.

Yep, I actually took this picture :-) .

Cheez, Serling, what does any of this have to do with marketing?

I’m glad you asked.

You see, most people aren’t much different than birds when it comes to marketing.

They overload themselves with dozens of marketing strategies, tactics, and tasks almost desperately hoping that something will stick. Or fearful that they’ll miss that next big thing.

Truth is, you’d be much better off focusing on just one or two marketing strategies for any given area of your business and mastering these rather than
doing dozens of things incompletely.

For example, find one paid method of generating traffic and one free method. Devote the bulk of your traffic generation efforts to just those two methods and you’ll soon see a lot more progress than trying to chase down every new traffic
method that pops up each week.

Same goes for landing pages. You can actually increase your sales by double digits just by improving your landing page.

So focus on finding just that single landing page format that gets the most prospects to take action for your business (which could be very different than what works for another business). Once you do, if you can increase opt-ins by 30% and your conversion process is effective, that should mean an increase in sales of 30% as well.

Just like hummingbirds, when you focus on just one or two tactics in each marketing area that are the most effective for your business, you simplify your life and increase your sales. And you also keep your predatory competitors
at bay without them ever knowing what hit them!

Investing the Downward Dog Way? Adviser Suggests Deep Breaths

We’ve come a long way since the first wave of yogi’s in the 60’s. If you’re still feeling lost and can’t see the forest from the trees when it comes to investing, maybe the yogic approach is just what’s needed.

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new record this past March, Brent Kessel awoke at 3:30 a.m.

But the financial adviser, who co-founded a firm that manages more than $800 million, wasn’t up early because he was giddy about the market. He was hopping on a motor scooter in Mysore, India, to stand on one leg with the other leg behind his head and chant in Sanskrit at the school where a branch of modern yoga has its origins.

Mr. Kessel, who devoted himself to responding to emails from his clients and colleagues later that day, shrugs off the bull market.

“Everything is impermanent, especially the market’s level,” says Mr. Kessel, whose firm is Abacus Wealth Partners in Santa Monica, Calif.

[image]

Abacus Wealth Partners

Brent Kessel on a trip to India.

Spencer Sherman, Abacus’s other founder, teaches his clients a breathing technique called “the Money Breath,” to get through tough financial situations: clients typically inhale for three counts, hold the breath for one count, and exhale for six counts.

Non-clients can buy “the Money and Spirit Workshop” home study course from the duo, available for $66.97 on a website that sells New Age products.

Some clients come to the firm through its advertisements in Yoga Journal, which in its April 2001 issue featured a bare-chested Mr. Kessel on the cover balancing on his hands with his legs tucked behind his arms in a perfectly executed “crow” pose.

“I think the very common reaction, even 15 years ago, would have been, ‘These guys are California quack jobs,'” says Mr. Kessel. “But if you actually came in and were a client, you’d find that we’re much more disciplined than a lot of the firms out there.”

He is one of a breed of financial advisers who are taking yoga and meditation out of the ashram and putting them into Excel spreadsheets. The values and teachings of these Eastern-inspired traditions, proponents say, impart a special kind of financial wisdom that, among other benefits, allows them to stay calm in crises and make holistic financial plans for clients.

Enlarge Image

Brent Kessel

George Kinder, a certified financial planner and Buddhist teacher who spends his time in Maui, Hawaii, London and Littleton, Mass., is widely considered the guru of this financial “mindfulness” movement, which has guided financial advisers seeking to add a spiritual element to their practices.

Mr. Kinder’s 1999 book, “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity,” applies ancient Buddhist principles known as the Six Perfections, which include patience and generosity, to contemporary money management, among other things. Mr. Kinder later developed “financial life planner” training, which teaches advisers to focus on the client’s life goals and use empathic listening skills when working with them.

The tradition is older than it might appear. The integration of yoga and money is seen in Eastern history, says Mark Singleton, who wrote his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Cambridge on the history of modern yoga.

While many ancient yogis renounced material possessions, others used yoga to gain money and influence. “They were the power brokers of medieval India because of these powers you can accumulate by doing yoga,” says Mr. Singleton.

The number of planners who have gone through at least one of Mr. Kinder’s programs, which always include a group meditation, has more than doubled in the past five years to more than 2,000, he says. So far, 307 have obtained the top “Registered Life Planner” designation, up from about 100 five years ago.

“People leave our training exhilarated,” says Mr. Kinder. “That’s very similar to a very deep yoga or meditative retreat. You go so deep inside yourself you’re sparkling.”

Messrs. Kessel and Sherman use a Kinder-influenced financial-planning approach at Abacus, and say they buy stocks and bonds based on research instead of “emotions and hot tips.” They typically prefer passive index funds to actively managed ones, and unlike panicked investors who fled equities during the financial crisis, they say they bought stocks the day the market hit its bottom in 2009, a move the firm attributes to disciplined rebalancing.

Jeff Bogart, like Messrs. Kessel and Sherman a Kinder disciple, launched Yogic Investing, a yoga-inspired branch of his Cleveland-area financial-advisory firm last year. “George Kinder’s stuff is groundbreaking and fascinating. Sometimes it makes me aware if people are stuck in the root chakra with their money issues,” says Mr. Bogart. The root chakra, an energy point located at the base of the spine, is associated with primitive survival needs, he says.

Those interested fill out a brief questionnaire online to “find out if you are a yogic investor!” He presented a workshop on yoga and money at the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival in New York state last summer.

Some financial advisers revel in yoga’s revelations.

While standing on one leg and attempting to lift his other leg perpendicular to the ground, Rick Salmeron, a certified financial planner who is president of Salmeron Financial in Dallas and who practices Bikram yoga, a type of yoga traditionally practiced in 105-degree heat, says, “I’m thinking of my clients who can’t help but be attracted to Apple at $600 a share or oil at $140 a barrel.”

Mr. Salmeron recently considered holding a Bikram class for his clients, though only a fraction of them are regular yoga practitioners. “Investing is very emotional. Yoga keeps it all balanced,” he says.

He recommends Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana, a pose in which he stands with legs spread wide and grabs his feet in an effort to pull his head to the floor. “It gives my brain a tourniquet effect. It clears out a lot of the dead brain cells,” Mr. Salmeron says.

Other advisers try to be discreet about the New Age influence on their work. Nicholas Lee of Worcester, England, who trained with Mr. Kinder, meditates and faithfully uses a notepad with “Breathe in” printed on top of the pages and “Breathe out” at the bottom.

Still, he says, “you can’t put a sign outside your office that says, ‘Hello, I’m a financial life planner. I do yoga and meditation.’ I’m always a little bit cautious talking about it. You can very quickly appear flaky.”

A version of this article appeared June 10, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Investing the Downward Dog Way? Adviser Suggests Deep Breaths.

5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts

social media how toDo you want more traffic to your blog?

Are you struggling to catch the attention of more readers?

Does this sound familiar? You write an amazing piece of content. You made sure to craft an attention-grabbing headline. You share the link on Twitter, Facebook, even Google+.

Then you wait in breathless anticipation for your share count to skyrocket. Except it doesn’t.

Never fear, in this article you’ll find fresh ideas to generate buzz and get your posts noticed.

two prong

Use a two-pronged approach with a variety of platforms and different types of media to get your post shared. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Promote Your Article Across a “Wider” Variety of Platforms

Everyone is using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to promote their content. It’s tempting to focus only on these four networks because they have popularity and community numbers on their side.

However, you get a competitive advantage when you share your content on smaller or less well-known networks. These sites often have active, focused audiences and offer less competition for attention, so your content will stand out.

Here are some examples of smaller networks:

  • Quora.com—A question/answer-based website founded by two former Facebook employees. What makes Quora unique is that all content is created, edited and organized by its user community. The user base tends to be more business- and academic-oriented.
  • Tumblr—A microblogging site that recently made headlines when Yahoo! acquired it. Its user base tends to be younger and more “hip,” making it the perfect platform to share edgier, niche-based content.
  • Empire Avenue—Part social network, part social media marketing tool, Empire Avenue uses gamification to enable users to broadcast content across all of the other social networks. The primary members of EAv are small businesses, social media professionals and bloggers.
    intel on empire ave

    Intel on Empire Avenue.

Grab Viewer Interest With Different Types of Media

Sharing a link to your post isn’t enough to guarantee that it gets read. You need to give users a compelling reason to click your link.

Use one or more of these outside-the-box, creative methods to promote your posts with images, audio and video.

#1: Use Dubbler to Give a Short Audio Introduction

Available for iPhone and Android devices, Dubbler offers a simple way to record up to 60 seconds of audio on your phone, and then share it with other Dubbler community members.

dubbler

Dubbler brings the simplicity and fun of audio to the social world. Record your voice, add a filter or photo and share with your friends.

The app includes voice filters and lets you add a cover image.

Spark interest in your blog post and record an audio message that communicates your excitement and passion about the content in a way that text or static images can’t.

Add an image, enter your blog post URL in the description and you’ve got a ready-made sound bite that can be shared with the Dubbler community, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

link on post

Add a link to your blog post. Record your teaser audio and share.

#2: Create a 6-Second Preview of Your Post with Vine

Vine is an iPhone app that lets you create 6-second looping video shorts. A Vine video is a great way to give viewers a 6-second teaser about the blog post contents.

For example, this bicycle blog created a short Vine of one of their bikes and tweeted it with a link to their blog post about its features and availability.

Here is an example with the blog post URL in the video description:

Vine has an active and growing community to share with. Additionally, you can also share to Twitter and Facebook.

Since Vine is owned by Twitter, your video will display automatically when you tweet it, as well as provide a link to the blog post and specific hashtags.

There’s another benefit of using Vine. Tweets with Vine videos are four times more likely to be shared than standard video, according to research by Unruly.

#3: Create a SlideShare Overview of Your Post

SlideShare is more than a just a content-sharing platform.

With 51.6 million monthly visitors, SlideShare is a thriving community with five times as much traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

A presentation by Pam Moore, the Marketing Nut, demonstrates the cross-promotional opportunities between SlideShare and her blog. In this example, Pam created an overview of her blog post with the slides and then included a link back to her post in one of the presentation slides.

At the end of her post, she embedded the presentation, which links back to SlideShare and more of her content.

pam moore link

Pam put her links at the end of her presentation on her closing slide.

Your finished presentation will be visible and searchable from within SlideShare and you can extend its reach and share it to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

#4: Pin Your Post to a Pinterest Group Board

Pinterest allows you to pin on individual boards and collaborate by pinning to contributor boards. The benefit of pinning to a contributor board is increased exposure. When you pin to a contributor board, your fellow contributors see the pin and so do their followers. The more members and followers a group board has, the more people will see your pin.

Here are some tips for pinning your post to Pinterest:

  • Choose an interesting image from your blog post to pin
  • Make sure the title of your blog post is visible on the image you choose
  • Add keywords to the description
  • Use hashtags, if they’re relevant
  • If you mention someone in your blog post, you can @ mention them on Pinterest, too
  • Pinterest will add the URL to your blog post
    blog post on pinterest

    A great way to increase exposure for your blog post.

#5: Instagram an Image From Your Post

Instagram has a constantly updating feed of images that is viewed by over 100 million monthly users. Sharing your main blog image, overlaid with the post title, is a great way to drive organic traffic to your blog. You can leverage the sheer volume of Instagram traffic by using the same blog post image that you shared to Pinterest. Instagram is also very hashtag-friendly! Here’s an easy way to post your picture to the Instagram community and beyond:

  • Save your blog image to Dropbox
  • Access Dropbox from your mobile device
  • Upload the image to Instagram
  • Add any relevant hashtags and the URL of your blog post to the caption, using Bitly to shorten and track click-throughs
  • Be sure to @ mention anyone you referred to in your post
  • Remember to share your Instagram image to Tumblr, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare

Pro Tip: Twitter no longer displays the actual Instagram. Instead, it links to the image. You can use IFTTT to circumvent this issue. Here’s the recipe and here’s what the tweet will look like using IFTTT.

Get Creative When Promoting Your Blog Posts

There are many other creative ways to promote your blog post. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Just because no one else is doing it doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. Some tactics will resonate with your readers. Some will not. And that’s ok. The important thing is to keep innovating.

What do you think? Have you used any of these creative alternatives? Do you have another, outside-the-box idea for promoting your blog posts? Please let me know your suggestions in the comments below.

Image from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Kimberly Reynolds

Kim Reynolds has been a website developer and internet strategist since 1995. She now has her own social media agency called SocialNotz. Follow Kim on Twitter as @qrkim Other posts by »

5 Essentials for Every B-to-B Website

“If you don’t have a website, you don’t have a business.” By now, this maxim is well understood. But what kind of functionality does your website really need? What website strategies should you pursue for business marketing? Here are five must-haves for every B-to-B website.The five elements every website needs are:

1. Thought Leadership
Establishing your company as a knowledgeable authority in your field is job one for a B-to-B website. You want to be seen as not only up to date, but trustworthy and helpful—sort of like the Boy Scout law. So make sure your site is filled with useful, non-salesy information about your category and the problems your customers are looking to solve. This is a classic content marketing play, whereby you provide libraries of case studies, research reports, presentations, archived webinars, blog posts, how-to videos and all manner of information intended to help visitors learn, and to present yourself as their trusted partner in that task.

2. Help Your Customers Buy
As discount retailer Sy Sims  used to say, “An educated consumer is my best customer.” You want your customers and prospects to be as knowledgeable about solving their problems as they can. And you also want to influence them as they move through their buying journey. When they are ready to make a purchase decision, they will better understand how you can help them—and why they perhaps should select you over your competitors. In some ways a subset of thought leadership, helping your customers buy means teaching them how to be a good customer for you. Oracle, for example publishes a Software Investment GuideOpens in a new window to help prospects’ decision-making.

3. Lead Generation
The perennial number one goalOpens in a new window of just about every business marketer is generating sales leads. If you make the effort, your website can be a productive source of high quality, low cost leads for your sales force. So don’t squander the opportunity to turn your website into a lead generation tool. There are basically two ways to approach this objective:

  1. Add an offer, a call to action and a landing page with a data-capture form. If the offer is of sufficient interest, a small but steady percentage of visitors to your site will fill out the form and leave behind their contact information. Treat that data as an inquiry, and run it through your normal qualification and nurturing process. Add similar offers throughout your site, varying the deal to suit the surrounding content.
  2. Install IP address identification software that allows you to observe the domain name of business visitors to your site. You won’t know their actual names, but you will know the firms they represent. You can do a look-up by hand, or use automated processes from such providers as NetFactor and Demandbase Real-Time Identification. Once you have a sense of which companies are researching information on your site, you can then reach out and offer to help.

4. E-commerce
As I discussed last monthOpens in a new window, e-commerce is fast evolving into an effective tool for automating all kinds of B-to-B sales and marketing processes. Even if a classic shopping cart is not suited to your offerings, you are sure to find pieces of your go-to-market that can benefit from e-commerce, from quotes, to purchase orders, to selling low-margin replacement parts.

5. Community
Business marketers benefit from connecting their constituents in myriad ways: sharing expertise, promoting word of mouth, enabling channel partners, informing shareholders-the list goes on and on. Some terrific case examples come from the KinaxisOpens in a new window community for supply chain enthusiasts, and the Cognizant CommunityOpens in a new window invitation-only forum for senior executives at its top clients. Communities can be as simple as setting up a LinkedIn group or Facebook page, or as complex as Ingram Micro’s 15-year old peer-to-peer VentureTech NetworkOpens in a new window for its U.S. and Canadian resellers. However you go about it, the pay-off in community connections is huge.

So, that’s the line-up. And here’s the bonus: Not only will you advance your business goals with these strategies, you’ll also improve your SEO findability. A win win.

Do you have any website essentials to add to my list?

A version of this post appeared in BiznologyOpens in a new window.