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Image Basics for Bloggers

Attract their attentioncamera and scanner for use in blogging

When it comes to blogging, we all know that it takes great content to attract attention. Part of this is the written content, but just as important part are the visuals you find to support your words. Yes, the secret is in the pictures. Adding just 2 images can increase the time someone stays on your blog by up to 300%. This happens because a person’s eyes are drawn to the photo and they study it. If the photo is good enough to attract their attention, then they are more likely to read the content.

Keep it simple for the web

The two nicest things about using photos on the web is 1) aesthetically, they do not need to be ‘photo shoot’ quality and 2) by file-size standards, they can be small, low-resolution images.

What do these two things mean to you? Not needing to hire models, hire a dedicated professional photographer and buy props will save you thousands. Thousands you probably wouldn’t want to spend anyway. And by being able to save your images at a small file size, lower resolution of 72dpi (dots per inch), allows you lots of flexibility. But again, what does that all mean? It means that you can practice, practice, practice on your low-cost digital camera, smart phone and scanner then quick and easily post them to your website and blog.

How to pick an image?

To choose an image, you really just need to tie the writing and the topic together. I do that by closing my eyes, thinking ‘big idea’ and seeing what comes to mind. A 30 second brainstorm. It usually works and my first impressions are usually the best ones.
Simple doodles, scanned on a low-cost scanner, and household items, taken with a digital camera, make great fodder for blogging images. Here are some examples based on topic:

  • Confusion, use a quickly drawn question mark and scan it
  • Buy Local, take a quick shot of your dad or uncle farming
  • Strategy, take a quick shot of Monopoly, or your favorite boardgame pieces
  • Sustainability, take a picture of your recycling by the curb
  • Planning, scribble out a ‘flow chart’ on a scrap of paper and scan it

See! That wasn’t so hard, was it? Keep it simple. That’s what works for blogs. Just tie it in to your topic and you’re all set.

Then what?

After you have your images, you can save them at 72dpi, which is usually a default setting on your camera (lowest quality). I suggest for the first few months of blogging you take lots of pictures and label them with keyword(s). Put them in a folder labeled for images that you created (and own).Blog Library

Pay attention to events you may attend for that perfect photo opportunity. For added impact, give your camera to friend and have them take some pictures of you, the author. Little by little, you’ll perfect your skills and build that perfect blogger’s library.

Next week. Finding free and legal images –online.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Computer Tips and Tricks for Cool Social Media Moves

During a recent ‘work session’ with a client, an important discovery was made. Many people do not use their computers as efficiently as they could. Really.

Today’s blog may be a bit passé for some of you and you’re welcome to join us back on another day. Thanks for stopping by (you’re still allowed to peak –just in case there may be a tip that you don’t already know). BUT for the group that feels like they’re ‘quickly getting nowhere’ when they work on the computer, welcome! Let’s get into some tips that may help you out of that rut. After all, it’s hard to stay in the social media game when you’re working twice as hard as everyone else just to keep up. These are important ergonomic techniques, the science that helps reduce RSI (repetitive stress injuries) like carpal tunnel syndrome. Use them to more easily build a better blog or engage with your community.

It’s all about the shortcut keys

Simply hold down your Control key (Command key for the Mac) and the corresponding letter to perform these often repeated functions.

keyboard

CTRL+z –undo

CTRL+x –cut

CTRL+c –copy

CTRL+v –paste

CTRL+b –bold

CTRL+y –redo

CTRL+a –select all

CTRL+s –save

CTRL+p –print

CTRL+t –new tab in browser

Notice that the MOST repeated shortcuts are all placed at the easiest to reach place on your keyboard and line up all in a row: z,x,c,v,b.

Simple mouse tricksMouse

  • Shift key and mouse click. Many text editors and programs allow you to highlight all or portions of text using the Shift key and the mouse. For example, place the cursor at the beginning of a paragraph, hold down the Shift key and click at the end of the paragraph to highlight the full paragraph.
  • In Internet Explorer or Firefox you can hold the CTRL key down on your keyboard and move your scroll wheel to adjust the text size you want to view.
  • Hold the CTRL key down when clicking your mouse on a link and it will open in a new tab in Internet Explorer 7.

Embrace the power of the right-click mouse

There are many actions that can be made easier with a right-click mouse. When you’re stumped try, just try, clicking with your right mouse button. Viola, all is revealed! You will usually have an option presented to you that will show you what you were looking for but didn’t know how to find quite often. You can do this on the desktop, in a program, in a browser –anywhere. Below are a few more things you can try:

  • While in a browser pressing and holding Ctrl while clicking on any link will open that link in a new tab.
  • You can right click on an image on the internet and choose to save the picture.
  • You can right click on any file to copy it. Then right click in another folder in the blank space and choose paste.
  • Customize the toolbars. You can adjust your toolbars to your liking. Right click on any toolbar, and select ‘Customize’. While this dialogue is up, you can move buttons around on your toolbars by click-and-drag to the new location. The window that pops up when you do this is a holding area for unused icons. You can drag any item from it onto your toolbars to have it made available, and you can drag any icon from your toolbars onto this box to hide that icon completely. Some toolbar items, such as the Location bar, will expand to take up all available space. You can fit the Menu Bar, Personal Toolbar, Location bar, Back and Forward buttons, etc, all to one single row if you really want to maximize web pages’ viewable area.

What is a scroll wheel on a mouse?

A scroll wheel is a small wheel located between the left and right mouse buttons. This allows you to smoothly scroll up and down a page instead of clicking at least 100 times.

Hope these little tips helped. If not for you, then maybe for that boss or co-worker that seems to ask these questions all the time. Let me know what worked best for you or add a few of your own. I firmly believe “Knowledge is not power, shared knowledge is power” -unknown.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Top Five SXSW 2011 Videos

NASA at SXSWSXSW 2011 has wound down for this year, but they’ll be back next year and I plan to be there. SXSW has something for everyone, especially in social media or inbound marketing. So many of the heavy hitters are there that it makes ones head spin.

It has taken a bit of searching around, but I found several short videos that really share the SXSW experience. These are all worth watching –sometimes more than once. Let me know what you think. It’s almost like being there.

3, 2, 1, Twitter: The NASA Tweet up Shuttle Discovery Launch

Phylise Banner, from APUS, speaking on how people are using tweet-ups to gather for Shuttle Take-offs. Sounds like fun.

“Mario” – SXSW 2011 Film Bumper

This film bumper makes me feel like I can’t wait to see the movie, a grown-up tongue-in-cheek version of my favorite video game. Just a bit naughty.

Gary Vaynerchuck -Author, Wine Connoisseur, Explorer of all things Social Media

You can’t help but love Gary. Such passion! He epitomizes the energy born from social media. Three for the price of one here:

Keynote part1- http://bit.ly/i3lcej

Keynote part 2- http://bit.ly/fuGxSz

Keynote part3 – http://bit.ly/hOx9ac

More Gary Vaynerchuck –he was a busy boy

1-1 Interview part1- http://bit.ly/ffpS1K

1-1 Interview part 2- http://bit.ly/hlvWeg

Matt Mallenweg, WordPress/Automatic

Speaking on the growth of WordPress and next step P2. Matt says that, yes, WordPress has moved beyond a blog platform and is, in fact, a complete web platform. Yes, indeed.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Bluehost ad

Right-Sizing Innovation for the Small Business Owner

Increasingly our world favors BIG. BIG Companies. BIG Stars. The next BIG thing. Big business seems to favor other BIG businesses, like during Christmas when ABC’s GMA seemingly supported only the online BIG Box stores, leaving small online entrepreneurs in the dust as reported in our December 8th blog, “Scrooge Strikes e-Commerce Small Business.”Big and small

What is the key to small businesses getting ahead? Many believe it is innovation. But it’s not that simple. Innovation tailored to the unique position and qualities of a small business propel it forward. Small business owners have certain advantages over their BIG business counterparts. They spend up to 80-90% of their days working directly with their customers, discovering their needs, solving their problems, finding the things that make them truly happy, and things, that no matter what, leave suppliers or service providers coming up short.

These insights from first-hand knowledge are the competitive edge of a small business.  BIG business might have the resources to implement innovation, but often they are so far removed from this fundamental information that they are not able to “see the forest for the trees”

In the article, “Think Small Innovations to Get Big” the author, Darrell Zahorsky describes the advantages of smaller incremental innovations found in the food industry. Small businesses that actively applied small innovations had better performance and competitive advantages over its two competing larger corporations.

How should your small business innovate? Perhaps they are things you already do. In a connected blog, Mr Zahorsky went on to list the “7 Principles of Small Innovations.” They are good tips all small business owners can benefit from.

In summary they are:

Free Time: Work smarter, not harder. Use new technology and outsource to work efficiently.

Collect Ideas: Carry around a small notebook to capture ideas throughout the day.

Look Outside: Look to other resources to succeed.

Be Customer Centric: If the innovation makes you feel uncomfortable but delights the customer, you are probably on the right track. Oh, and always consider your customer’s customer.

Use All Types of Innovation: Be alert for ALL innovation. Sometimes innovation occurs unexpectedly.

Ask The Right Questions: When talking with customers, ask about the experience, instead of the product or service.

Make a Daily Habit: Innovation can occur at any time and any place. Embracing daily innovation tactics into your lifestyle instead of as a main event will allow you to implement your best ideas.

Many of today’s leaders say the Small Business sector is likely to lead America to its next step in economic recovery. Learning the art of innovation within small businesses provides owners another competitive advantage needed to compete against all things ‘BIG’.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Top Three Trends Likely to Upset Your Social Media World

Start OverWhat’s going on?! Lately, it seems like the whole world is in a state of flux. First, countries like Eqypt and Libya are deciding to start over -or die trying. Then Wisconsin decides to do much the same thing… start over -or die trying. With this much upheaval in the world, it leads one to reflect on what’s happening and attempt to look into the future.

I can’t do much about these events, but they made me consider what will most likely impact the world ‘you and I’ live in, a world that increasingly depends on, and is driven by, the Internet, social media, and new media. What trends will arise, perhaps even merge, and continue to change and then further impact our lives?

Trend One

The first trend isn’t much of a departure from my lede. It’s the speed that news is bombarding us. Our ability to grasp and understand it before it has again evolved into a new story is creating an information-overloaded society. NPR recently published an insightful article on this topic called “Media Black Hole: So Much News That We’ll Implode?

Trend Two

Just as we’ve started to understand our communities, I find that they’ve moved and changed! Chris Brogan presents a nice update on how social media communities are evolving, and why, in “The Future of Community“.

Trend Three

Over half of all Americans will have smart phones by the end of 2011. Do you think this might impact marketing in America, just a little bit? Seriously, if there is so much news that we might implode, don’t you suppose that the same could be said of technology trends? Our marketing systems that just recently aligned to embrace Internet technologies must now evolve and align with mobile technology. Lucky for us, the B2C Marketing Insider has some tips in their article “Data-Driven Marketing: Mobile by the Numbers“.

Undoubtedly, right this minute, there is another new technology or trend on its way. What do you think will be the next mainstream trend? And how will we dodge, embrace or benefit from it?

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

SEO Basics: Get the Most from Keywords

Keyword DirectionWhy do you need Keywords? They lay the foundation for Search Engine Optimization  (SEO). And SEO is how you get visitors to your site. It lets people know you exist. Keywords are used by search engines to find a product or service like yours and match it to the customer looking for that.

Close your eyes. Step into your customer’s shoes. Think. If someone were looking for the product or service that you offer, what words would they type? Write down your top ten words that you think they would use. Then write down the top ten phrases that they might use. That’s it. You have the foundation of your brand’s keywords.

As you develop your SEO, stick to these keywords at least until the page becomes ‘found’ or indexed.  Use the keywords within your blog articles and web content.

Here are a few quick tips on how to make the most of your keywords for SEO.

 

  1. Keyword use
    Be sure to use keywords in the page title, headings, anchor text, alt text and body copy as often as possible.
  2. Place keywords strategically
    The optimal number of keywords is 1-5 keywords per page. Place keywords in your body and bold some of them, preferably in the first sentence or two.
  3. Title
    The title of each page should be unique, use keywords and be 70 characters or less. Avoid using symbols because search engine crawlers may not like them.
  4. Meta tags and descriptions
    You have the ability to add Meta information; this is behind the scenes and may not be noticeable to readers but it is what search engines search for. Make sure you add Meta titles, keywords and descriptions that focus on the keywords used for each page (i.e. sometimes it can be the bigger idea).
  5. Internal Linking
    Link back to blogs or places within your site that reinforce your topic and its keywords. Using yourself and your content as a resource builds your internal links and provides better SEO.

There are many more ways to make your Keywords work for your SEO. This should get you started. If you’d like to learn more, let me know.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’s current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

My Favorite Post for Today’s Entrepreneurs

I found this article to hit the nail on the head. Take a look at where you are and what lies ahead. Introspection is always good. The right mindset is better. And I’ll add Action is vital.Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion’s Guide to Conquering Your Entrepreneurial Fears

The ‘close’ to this article is worth repeating, here’s an excerpt.

But all of those tactics will fail if you don’t have the right mindset

Mindset is what lets you turn tactics into an actual thriving business. It’s what lets you pay the price, to act when you’re scared out of your pants.

And you have to proactively create it. If you hang around successful people, you’ll notice they go to a lot of seminars, listen to a lot of motivational material, and surround themselves with other successful business people trying to do the same things.

It’s not a coincidence. They understand the value of mindset, and they set aside time every day to work on that mindset, to put themselves into the proper frame of mind to stand up and fight.

Because at heart, we’re all cowardly lions. Everyday, we have to wake up and remind ourselves how to roar.”

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

How to Use Facebook as a Meeting Platform and Intranet

Have you ever been asked to create a large-scale sales campaign, but NOT given the budget for delivering it into everyone’s hands?

Or maybe, you own a small business and you wish there was a way to pool knowledge among other small business owners who share issues similar to yours.

Check out Facebook Groups

It is an often-overlooked tool, which businesses can readily use to bridge the gap in communicating between various audiences in many ways. It can provide an efficient, affordable and interactive means of content distribution. No more USB drives or CDs to deliver to your business’ many locations to kick off a training or launch your net sales campaign.Facebook Group Help page

Simply open a group from your personal profile. Set your visibility to “secret or closed.” Invite your members and get down to business. That’s all there is to it, and it’s FREE.

What types of things could you discuss? Well, certainly not salaries. Everyone knows that’s taboo, right? But here are a few useful ideas that almost anyone could benefit from:

  • Trends in your industry
  • Tips and tricks of the trade
  • Tutorials
  • Events that relate to specific positions and interests
  • Templates for thank you letters, apology letters, etc.
  • Common industry information
  • Who’s who in the industry
  • Lead-sharing
  • Electronic tools, like calculators that show break-even, etc.
  • Relevant fun facts and other tidbits that can warm up the coldest lead

Why not give it a try? It’s free, scalable and allows you to control whomever is invited. Content can quickly and easily be removed. And Facebook Groups allows participants to interact without the epense of meeting at a specific destination.

What do you think? Could this be the location of your annual meeting this year? Or maybe it just organizes the details for that meeting. How could using Facebook groups help your business?

Let me know if this was helpful, I’d love to hear from you.

CALL US FOR YOUR INBOUND MARKETING & MARKETING TECHNOLOGY OPTIMIZATION NEEDS!

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mi.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

 

Chris Brogans- What is the Focus and Purpose of Your Blog

I was digging through some of my archives and came across this article from Chris Brogan, one of my favorite thought leaders in the social media arena. It is about the focus and purpose of your blog.

Chris starts by suggesting that you, “Ask yourself that question: what is the focus and the purpose of my blog? Is the purpose of your blog easy to define? What are you aiming towards accomplishing with it? How are you testing whether or not you’re reaching your desired effect?”

Next, he tells the story of his blog history and brings you up to date.Chris Brogan

“When I started my blog many years ago (it skittered across several domains before I landed in “real” blog software), it was for fiction. I wrote stories. Then, I wrote about fitness and nutrition. Then, I wrote about self-improvement. Then, I wrote about new media. I went from that into writing about social networks and social media, and then eventually, I moved into how businesses could use social media to improve.

What am I writing about these days? Human business. It’s essentially the idea that relationships and human-shaped experiences serve business much better than cold marketing and afterthought customer service.”

Human business, now that’s an idea that can catch on. At Social Energizer, our philosophy is based on this same principle. Finally, Chris helps you define what it is that you need to do.

“Your blog is a media property. It’s also a tool that allows you to build relationships (should that be of interest), to notify and inform (if you like telling the news), to reflect and react (if you like being a commentator), to report (if that’s something you enjoy doing), or a tool to educate, instruct, or establish thought leadership. It can be a call to action, a lead generator, a showcase for your talents, and many other things.

But your community (or your audience, if you’re not as close to them) is there with an expectation. They are seeking whatever it is you’ve been offering along the way. They want your best, and they want your material to enlighten, entertain, inform, inspire, or any of several other functions.”

One thing Chris doesn’t mention in his article is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Sometimes gaining better SEO can be the main purpose for writing a blog. Consistently changing content on your website will affect your search rankings with the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! And Bing. Initially, I think small business owners care more that customers find their websites, then that they are ‘engaging’ with them. It’s sort of the chicken and the egg thing.

What is the focus and purpose of your blog? If you need help defining it and applying it? Give Social Energizer a call. Our focus is on small businesses. Our purpose is to help integrate inbound marketing techniques into our clients’ current marketing plans.