Entries in Social Media (4)
“Have a website! Use social media! Write a blog!” That’s the message business owners are hearing these days. Blogging about your business and being active on different social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter are excellent ways to share valuable information and engage in a conversation with your clients and prospects. Here’s the catch: doing these things effectively takes some investment of thought and time on your part.
“Well,” you say, “I’m a busy business owner juggling a hundred things at once. How on earth am I supposed to come up with compelling content for my website, my blog or my social media outlets?”
Rest assured, there is a way to create dynamic, valuable content that keeps visitors coming back to your website and helps turn them into clients. I’ll tell you how in a three-hour workshop I’m offering on Monday, March 5, at 6 PM at North Shore Community College (Danvers Campus). The workshop, “Content Is King: Stand Out Using Social Media,” will focus on how to generate ideas for terrific content that helps your business stand out from the competition.
Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover in the workshop:
- Quick overview of why you want to use social media in the first place.
- What’s your current process for generating content? What’s working and what is not?
- Tips for generating a steady stream of topics for your social media channels, so you always have something to post.
- How to set up an efficient, time-saving content-generation process that works for you and your business.
- How to promote your social media channels in a way that also helps promote your business.
To register for this workshop, which is offered for just $49 through NSCC’s Community Education division, visit http://community.northshore.edu/registration/index.html and sign up for course CSA103.
Interested in learning how to write a media release that gets noticed? Need to write a book proposal to pitch your non-fiction book to publishers? Or do you want to improve the content of your business blog? Then come take a non-credit course with me during the Winter/Spring session at North Shore Community College, at the Danvers, MA campus. Register online at www.northshore.edu (search non-credit courses by keyword or instructor name).
Here’s a quick look at what each course covers:
Press Release Clinic: How to Write an Attention-Getting Media Release (CSA795)
This hands-on, 2-session workshop shows you how to craft a press release that gives editors and other media gatekeepers the information they want, so your business or organization can get the attention you want. We’ll cover the anatomy of a press release; what to include and what to leave out; and how to distribute the release to your target audience. Bring your draft press releases and learn how to improve them on the spot.
Meets two Wednesdays, February 2 and February 9, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
The Nitty Gritty of the Successful Book Proposal (CSA792)
If you’re trying to interest a traditional book publisher in your non-fiction manuscript, you (or your literary agent) will pitch it using a book proposal. In this three-session course, you’ll learn how to develop an attention-getting book proposal. We’ll cover the process of putting together a book proposal, including how to refine your book concept, assess the competition and the market for your book, and how to quickly develop chapter summaries and a sample chapter. If you want to self-publish, writing a book proposal is a valuable exercise because it forces you to crystallize your book idea.
Meets three Saturdays, March 5 through March 19, 9:30 to 11:30 AM
Be a Better Business Blogger (CSA793)
Customers, clients and the media are looking for you online – and they expect to find not just your website but also a blog. This workshop is for you if you already have a business blog and want to learn how to use it more effectively, how to generate an endless supply of topics for blog posts.
Meets Tuesday, April 5 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Those 140-character messages so many of us send out on Twitter aren’t as ephemeral as we might have thought – in fact, they’ll be saved for posterity and will become a tool for research and the kind of time travel historians do. This week, the Library of Congress announced (via its blog and Twitter) that it will be digitally archiving every public tweet sent out on Twitter since the service’s inception in March 2006. (See the announcement here: http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2010/04/how-tweet-it-is-library-acquires-entire-twitter-archive/ .)
According to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, "The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life. This information provides detailed evidence about how technology based social networks form and evolve over time. The collection also documents a remarkable range of social trends." (Read more at http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-081.html .)
The folks at Twitter blogged about their reasons for sharing the archive (http://blog.twitter.com/2010/04/tweet-preservation.html). Interestingly, there will be a six-month delay before public tweets are available for “internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation.”
That’s not the only new way that tweets are becoming research tools. Twitter also announced that Google has created a new way to revisit tweets related to historic events. Google Replay “lets you relive a real time search from specific moments in time.” According to Twitter, “Google Replay currently only goes back a few months but eventually it will reach back to the very first Tweets ever created. If you want to understand the popular contemporaneous reaction to the health care bill, you can virtually time travel and replay the Tweets.”
The mind reels at the possibilities for researchers and writers of all stripes, nevermind the equally tempting opportunities for pranksters. I’m curious to know where your reaction is on the spectrum from “Wow, what an amazing social research tool!” to “Just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean we should.” What do you think?
I recently attended a workshop on using social media, and noticed a theme that ran through attendees’ comments: Provided we can find or make the time to blog, tweet, post status updates, and comment on other people’s blogs, how on earth do we generate enough content to fill these spaces? A few practical observations:
First off, the key to business writing for social media is to keep it short, sweet and focused. After all, you’re not writing War and Peace; you’re offering a quick tip or a brief comment that provides readers with some useful information, keeps you in front of your target market, and helps reinforce your expert status in your field.
Second, feel free to repurpose your content. In other words, take something you’ve already written for one purpose and create a shorter or longer version of it for another purpose. How does this work? Today, let’s look at how this strategy applies to blogging. Here are two examples:
- A client has just begun blogging, and realized that many of the stories he’s shared in his e-letters over the years offer evergreen lessons of real value to his consulting clients and prospects. He’s now choosing the best ones to adapt to a shorter blog-friendly retelling, and is creating a reserve of these “lessons learned”-type blog posts to alternate with more “newsy” updates. Tapping into your “best of” files is also a great way to overcome the common blogging fear that you won’t have enough to write about.
- What if you don’t have a stash of e-letters or articles to pull content from? Are you a frequent commenter on other people’s blogs or an active participant in discussion groups on sites like LinkedIn? Here’s a great idea from Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound (www.publicityhound.com), who recommends that you create a Google Alert for keywords that matter to you. Then when you see a blog post that makes you want to add a comment, use that comment as the basis for an expanded exploration of the topic on your own blog. Joan says this same trick applies when you’re answering discussion questions on LinkedIn.
Done this way, repurposing is a form of value-added recycling – and it makes you a better and more efficient blogger. Have a tip that’s made blogging easier for you? Please share it here!