Social Media

What’s the Best Strategy When Making a Viral Video?


While some people might get lucky when it comes to getting a video to go viral, most of the time when it comes to videos made by brands, there is a highly tactical strategy in place before the video ever gets made. Did you know for example that the average viral video is anywhere between 15 seconds and five minutes. 15 seconds you might ask? Well think about Vine and its highly popular six second loops.

The golden rule of course for making any video with the aim of getting it to go viral is to focus on extracting an emotional response from the video’s target audience. Whether your aim is to make them laugh through slapstick comedy antics, make them cry with a heartfelt sob story or make them angry by purposely portraying a controversial topic in all its grandeur, the bottom line is connecting your audience with a story they will want to watch.

Have a look at the below infographic for a snapshot of top tips to assist you when planning a viral video, or for a more in-depth read around the strategies behind them, see this guide produced by One Productions.

one-productions-top-tips-to-make-viral-videos-igWant to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Browse over 400 classes in the digital library at OMI. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.


9 Ways to Save Time on Your Social Media Efforts



Social Media Network

Social media has become a crucial part of any online business. Social media provides a number of benefits, including  additional exposure  for your content. This can lead to increased brand awareness, and potentially position you as a thought leader if you are putting out great and useful content.

But social media isn’t only about brand engagement, it can also be an additional avenue for customer service. Customers these days assume a social channel is an opportunity to reach out, interact, and get help. Having an active social media presence can help you get closer to your customers, and potentially serve them better.

All the benefits aside, it does take a lot of time to manage social media networks.  Here are nine ways to make sure managing your social media doesn’t turn into a full time task.

# 1 – Understand how each social network  works

Before you start creating profiles everywhere, spend some time learning about each social media network. Find out which kind of content they are more likely to host, how the conversations happen there, and which formats are the most popular.

Want to dig deeper into understanding how each social network works? OMI suggests 5 Fundamentals of Integrating Social Media Into All Digital Efforts, check it out here

# 2 – Understand your target audience

You need to know where your target audience hangs out, which social networks they prefer, and what they chat about. It's important to try to find a trend in the kind of content they share most often. Use these findings to guide your post creation.

# 3 – Learn your competitors

Find out which social media networks your competitors have joined, and what kind of content  they provide.

To ensure that you won’t be following the wrong role model, read the comments shared on your competitor's content to learn how your audience reacts to them, and how often their posts get shared. Use these findings to guide your post creation.

# 4 – Read and watch what experts are saying

Read and watch what other digital marketing experts are saying about social media and it’s use and evolution. They are highly specialized professionals. Follow their social channels so you can stay up to date and adapt quickly.

# 5 – Ask for help

If you can’t do it all, ask for help. Help may come in the form of another  person to support you or you can enlist some of the best tools or apps, such as:

  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite will let you create, schedule, and publish your social media posts much faster and more efficiently. Hootsuite will also provide you with analytics reports and courses to improve your social media skills.
  • Buffer: Another content automation tool. Try both, and see which you prefer.  
  • Smart Paper Help: An online writing service specialized in writing any kind of text. Their team of professional writers can also help you to edit and proofread your content.  
  • Sprout Social: If you have a social media team in place, get them organized with several collaboration and sharing features that will allow them to work as a group in a much more efficient fashion. 

Want to learn more time saving tips for executing high performance social media marketing programs? OMI suggest Social Media Marketing Best Practices for SMB's, check it out here.

# 6 – Create a content vault

You probably spend a lot of time looking for images, resources, videos, and other materials to round out your content.  

To avoid burnout, create a content vault, a kind of library where you will keep all materials that you will need to create your posts so you can easily access them and don’t waste time browsing around.

# 7 – Brush up your skills

Pay attention to each part of the creation process, and check if anything needs improvement. It might be your writing, it might be the way you do research online, it might be how you choose and prepare the visual resources.

As soon as you identify what is slowing you down, either find a way to outsource that part, or find the time to practice.

# 8 - Plan your posts in advance

Create a month by month spreadsheet, and list every post you will create, the topic to be covered, where it will be published, the visual resources that will go with it, when you will publish, and which goal you are trying to achieve.

This upfront work will make the process much faster down the road.

# 9 – Use monitoring tools

Last but not least, you should consider adopting tools and services so you have a better view of how your content is performing. Some good options are Google Alerts to get daily or weekly updates of your chosen keywords. Or you can use Topsy or Social Mention to provide you with real-time information about your social media accounts.

The bottom line

There  are a number of  ways to save time on your social media efforts. Some of them will cost you some money, but most of them won’t be noticed by your budget.

Good luck!

Interested in getting certified in Social Media? Check out OMI's certification in Social Media Marketing, here.


Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

About the author:
Rick Riddle is a marketing consultant and an up-and-coming blogger whose articles aim to help people with digital marketing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and career. Feel free to follow Rick on twitter and LinkedIn.


How to Use the New Twitter Dashboard For A/B Testing


Business Brainstorming Colleagues Corporate Concept

A/B Testing Social Media

Among today’s top social media platforms, Twitter is unique. It has the defining characteristic of being limited in post length, along with a breakneck pace at which content is generated. This combination of short messages and fast consumption make it a perfect place to perform A/B testing that quickly produces actionable results.

While basic A/B testing has always been possible on Twitter, the new dashboard offers a huge boost in analytics and data capture. Given this new development, I’m going to show you how you can test a variety of factors with A/B testing on the Twitter platform.

What Can I Test on Twitter?

Let’s start by looking at your options for testing on Twitter. It’s easy to assume there’s not much to gain from posting short messages that disappear as quickly as they appeared, but this accelerated lifespan of posts gives us the opportunity to test a wide variety of factors:

  • Specific wording, keywords, and message lengths
  • Your overall tone (witty, sarcastic, positive, casual, etc.)
  • The number of hashtags and their relevance to the content
  • Comparing different images or videos when paired with tweets
  • The days and times you send out tweets

All of these are excellent things to test with some clever strategies and use of the Twitter dashboard. This will result in new ways for your to generate leads on Twitter.

Getting Started With A/B Testing on Twitter (Using The New Dashboard)

Typically, A/B testing is done when you’re making a website and testing design elements, but the same principle can be applied to Twitter as a means of better understanding your audience and their preferences on this social media platform.  

Here’s a step-by-step guide to testing on the Twitter platform that also incorporates the analytics features from the new dashboard.

Step One: Setup Your Twitter Dashboard 

Start by heading to to get started with these new tools. Once you arrive on the page, click the “Try Twitter Dashboard” button.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be taken to a page where you’re asked to describe your business. 

The next step in the process involves selecting the terms and keywords you want to monitor on Twitter as a whole. Here you could input anything related to your company or simply your company name in order to track any relevant mentions.

Once this is set up, you’ll be able to see all your mentions in one place without having to use a third-party app. This is great for tracking purposes and catching opportunities to engage with your audience.


Another great feature is the ability to schedule tweets within the dashboard, which further eliminates the need for third-party tools. We’ll cover the analytics portion later in this post, but for now, you should familiarize yourself with the dashboard as you prepare to start A/B testing.

Step Two: Construct Your Tweets

As with any good A/B test, you should focus on a specific factor, or a few specific factors, you’re looking to test. Keep everything else the same as a control so you can accurately observe the differences between the two tweets.

As an example, let’s say I’m promoting a new post on my blog about succeeding on today’s social media platforms. I want to test two different tweet lengths to see which one gets more engagement.

I’ll start by creating two tweets: one short, and one long:



Next, I’ll schedule each one at different days and times. I’ll choose different times to tweet so I can measure which one performs better and how the day/time affected that performance. This is a great first step, and it will provide a framework for what days and times work best for my audience.

It’s also worth noting that you can use a tool like Bitly to shorten the length of your URL. This is an excellent way to gain back more character counts in your tweets. Once we’ve finished sending out these tweets, it’s time to track their performance!

Step Three: Track Performance

When you enter the analytics portion of the Twitter dashboard, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the new data. You can track a variety of factors ranging from 7 to 60-day intervals.

Here’s what you can see at a glance:

  • Tweet performance
  • Media tweets
  • Replies
  • Follower growth
  • Overall performance
  • Profile visits

Within the “tweets” tab you can see how specific tweets performed. This is where you’ll find the information you need to judge your A/B testing. While the main dashboard shows how many likes, retweets, and replies it received, you can look at the engagement totals with a single tweet by going into the analytics of the dashboard.

You can export the data to a CSV to see the breakdown by engagement type. You'll also be able to see what interests your audience members, broken down my industry. This will give you valuable insight into the types of topics that will resonate most with them.

The detail doesn’t stop there. You can go deeper by looking at the demographic tab, which breaks down the location, income, and gender of your followers. All of this can be used to inform your A/B testing and provide valuable feedback on each of your efforts.

Step Four: Expand Your Efforts, Never Stop Testing

With A/B testing, your job isn’t finished after one test, or even ten. Intermittent testing only serves to give you incomplete data. You need to create a consistent testing schedule that’s ongoing to continuously tweak and alter your approach.

Here are some steps to take as you move forward with your testing:

  • Repeat tests on different days/different times
  • Incorporate additional variables like promotions and CTA tweets
  • Move past Twitter and start testing on other networks

While Twitter is at the forefront of analytics with their new dashboard, that doesn't mean you can’t apply these same concepts to A/B testing on other platforms. Using this strategy will allow you to ensure that everything you post on social media resonates with your audience and increases engagement.

Remember, when you get your results, you should employ a method of observing and applying the data you’ve gathered. Here is a process inspired by the scientific method of testing:

  • Start with a question
  • Pose a hypothesis (changing the length of a tweet will alter its performance)
  • Test your hypothesis with an experiment, in this case an A/B test
  • Analyze the data you receive on each tweet and draw a conclusion
  • Showcase your results to others on your team and move forward with new testing

This simple approach will allow you to create a routine for testing that moves smoothly from test-to-test.

Final Thoughts

A/B testing is a common practice for marketers and a major step in the optimization process. With Twitter’s new dashboard, you can bring this type of testing to social media to improve your engagement and performance with each new tweet.

How do you utilize A/B testing on social media? What experiences have you had with the new Twitter dashboard? Let us know in the comments!

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.


How to Create a Successful Online Ad Campaign to Accomplish Brand Awareness


Man creating brand awareness campaign Concept

Man creating brand awareness campaign

While technology has significantly changed how companies market their products and services over the years, the guiding principles behind successful advertising campaigns have remained constant.

Before you launch an advertising campaign, whatever the media and channels, you first must know be able to answer these questions:

  • What is the marketing budget?
  • How long will the ad campaign run?
  • What are your marketing goals?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How will you measure your marketing goals?

It also helps to know what your competitors are doing. More on that later.

First things first

Let's not put the shopping cart before the horse, so to speak. That is, one of your first tasks is to determine the campaign's overall goal. If your goal is to sell products or services, you will be creating a much more aggressive campaign than if your goal is to increase brand awareness.

You can find a great deal of information on digital advertising campaigns designed to drive conversions. Somewhat less prevalent are articles focusing on the creation of online advertising campaigns simply designed to create brand awareness. We're talking apples and oranges or, in this case, conversions and clicks.

The ultimate goal of an online brand awareness campaign typically is to drive traffic to your site. Once the visitor clicks through to your site, you have the opportunity to educate and engage via relevant, valuable content. But we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.

Your ad campaign will be impacted by the factors listed above, which means you may have to tweak your original goals along the way. For example, if your original goal was simply to create top-of-mind awareness for your brand, you might want to inundate the web with banner ads. You would place ads based more on reach and frequency than on targeting a specific audience. However, if your online marketing budget is limited, you probably would have to rethink such a broad-based approach.

Consistency is key

You may not be able to blanket the web with your banner and search ads, but you can (and should) be consistent in your creative efforts. In doing so, you will build visual recognition with your online audience. Over time, elements such as your color scheme, logo and fonts will instantly resonate with viewers.

The banner ads below are good examples of consistency in advertising. It just so happens the ads are promoting BP, which has had to dig its brand out of the PR hole created by the oil spill back in 2010. And with the release of the "Deepwater Horizon" movie, the BP brand may take a bashing again.


A brand awareness campaign such as BP's hovers between the worlds of advertising and public relations. Because BP is already a known brand, the overarching goal may be brand awareness, with a campaign devoted specifically to altering the public's perception of the brand.

Note, too, the call to action (CTA) for each of the banner ads. It is not an "in-your-face" CTA like BUY NOW. Instead, the CTAs encourage the viewer to "Learn more" or "Read the Report." In the most simplified sense, brand awareness campaigns are soft sell vs. hard sell.

In fact, your brand awareness campaign could be the precursor to a straight sales campaign. This ties in perfectly with the consumer buying process:


Just keep in mind that it most likely will take longer to see results from a brand awareness campaign. Patience and persistence will pay off in the long run.

If you want to learn more about brand strategy and awareness, OMI recommends How To Be The Most Talked About Brand. 

How to get the most bang for your buck

The Google Ad Network is a popular choice for setting up a digital advertising campaign. According to Google AdSense, the most successful banner ad sizes are:

  • 336x280 large rectangle
  • 300x250 medium rectangle
  • 728x90 leaderboard
  • 300x600 half page
  • 320x100 large mobile banner

Whether you're resizing an image within each ad or the ads themselves, this can eat up a lot of valuable time. That's when a tool like the Image Resizer comes in handy. Simply upload your image, plug in the desired width and height in pixels, and you've got yourself a resized image.

The tool also comes in handy when prepping ads and images for social media. That's right, don't overlook advertising on social media sites. These can be particularly effective for brand awareness campaigns. Admittedly, it all can be a quite overwhelming. Here's a helpful guide to ad sizes on social media.

With search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, be careful in your keyword bidding. If you're running more than one campaign at a time, you don't want to bid against yourself. With Google AdWords, you can use the AdWords Editor to avoid duplicate keywords.

As mentioned above, it's important to know what your competition is up to online. This is especially true when it comes to keyword bidding. Your competitor may be bidding on your brand name, and you can return the favor.

If you want to learn more about Social Media and Branding, OMI recommends Brand Advocacy Strategies for Social Media.

Getting them to 'click' with your content

So someone clicked on your ad and ended up on your website; now what? Your first inclination might be to take the visitor to your home page. For best results, however, create a dedicated landing page. Even better, create (and test) several landing pages to see which ones perform best. If you don't have the bandwidth or budget to design multiple landing pages, use an online service such as Unbounce, which provides landing page templates (no HTML coding needed).

The content on the landing page should follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. It also should be tailored to complement the banner ad. That way, when the visitor arrives at your page, there is no disconnect. It's a seamless experience. We often think of site design and functionality when we're discussing user experience (UX), but content also can dramatically affect the online experience.

Are we there yet?

How do you know if your brand campaign is a success? Many marketers are leery of brand awareness campaigns because they can be more difficult to measure. But that's the beauty of digital advertising; it's easy to track your campaigns online.

In addition to monitoring your Google and other paid search campaigns, you can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to track the volume of searches for your brand name.

Be sure to conduct social listening, as social networking sites offer keen insights into how consumers react to your brand (or not). Several social listening platforms, such as Hootsuite, offer both free and paid plans.

Assuming you've integrated an email component into your online campaign (as you should), you also could conduct a survey to gauge brand awareness.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.


Darcy Grabenstein is a freelance copywriter with more than 20 years experience in print and digital advertising. In the digital world, she has worked extensively with e-commerce and email campaigns. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


8 Things to Do Immediately to Increase Your Blog Traffic by 3000 Visits a Month


Increase Blog Traffic

8 Things To Do To Increase Traffic On Your Blog

Creating stellar content should be the prerequisite for any blog. But is that really enough to boost your blog presence?

Given the millions of blogs floating over the net, it’s even challenging for your great content to attract a pretty number of readers. It happens to all of us, a piece we expect to be a blockbuster falls short.

Still, if you implement these ideas below, you’ll be well on your way to a more popular, traffic driving blog.

Increase the Number of Articles You Post 

Quality content is a given, but not enough alone. According to Hubspot, websites that post over 16 blogs in a month get 3 times more traffic than those having 0-5 blogs posts monthly. Further, having more than 400 blog posts is said to double traffic over those having between 300 to 400 posts.

Similarly, online marketing Guru Neil Patel has found that increasing the number of blogs you post per week can significantly grow your monthly visitors.

Simply put,  more blog posts on your website means more visitors. Many recommend publishing 2 or more articles a week. Make sure to keep some blog posts long form, meaning about 2,000 words, so they can be easily cached by Google or other search engines.

Tweak Your Social Media Sharing

Social media can play a crucial role in the visibility of your blogs. This means building an effective social media strategy by targeting similar interest groups, networks, and pages to share your blogs. Stick to the basic principal of constant post updating and uploading.

Put an Emphasis on Guest Posting

Guest posting is the good way to increase your following. Find other websites or blogs that seem to have a good ranking and see if the editor is open to you placing a link to your website either in middle of the content or in the author bio. These links will drive traffic to your website, improving your site visibility. Besides dropping the website links, you can give the links to your social media profiles. Needless to say, if a reader likes your blog, they may think to follow you on your website and social media networks.

Choosing the right blogging site for guest posts can make the difference. Here are some tips from Kissmetrics for what to look for in a blog or website you want to guest post to:

  • Must Have Good Ranking and Traffic
  • Must Be of Your Genre
  • Must Have Engaged Readership
  • Must Have Active Blog Owner

Use Videos for Your Tutorial Blog

Apart from the textual content, a video is an impactful tool for engaging the reader. If your post is tutorial in nature, consider including a video summarizing the post. This increases engagement and SEO.

Make Your Newsletters Powerful

Email newsletters are not only beneficial for your web traffic but are great lead generators. If you’re a product based company an email newsletter is a must. All you need to pump it up is an active blog, and RSS feed and good pop up technique.

Switch to Responsive Design

Searching the net with mobile phones or tablets is common place. So, ensure your blog is responsive, thereby making it fit for every screen. Google has started rewarding mobile friendly sites in its SERP rankings. In other words, mobile ranking is crucial for your blog to be in the Google’s good graces.

Link to Other Bloggers in Your Article

Link to other blog posts or bloggers in your article and inform those blog owners or authors about your article via email, asking them to share. it’s a win-win situation for both of you.

Include Expert Opinions in Your Posts

Adding expert opinions gives your post/blog extra dimension. For example, if you are writing a medical blog on child diseases, adding a pediatrician’s commentary can add credibility to your post. Similarly, you can compile the opinions of different authors on any product launch or services. You can then ask the featured blogger or expert to spread or share the post. As a result, your website receives more attention.

Although some of these tips can take time, when taken together, you’re bound to be rewarded by new traffic and new leads. Good luck!

Author Bio: Varun Sharma is a Co-Founder at KVR WebTech Pvt. Ltd., one of the fastest growing seo companies in Chandigarh, India. He analyses Digital Marketing strategies, trends and practices emphasizing Mobile, SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.













How to Create Incredible Content even if You Feel Uninspired


Content Marketing

Brainstorming your next content piece

A writer’s greatest battle is between him and a blank screen, or a sheet of paper, if you still prefer the old way. Battling against a looming deadline only comes second.

I’m willing to bet you’ve suffered from the hurdle of a writer’s block at least once in your life. Personally, I think I may have had a face off with this enemy every single time I am working on a writing assignment! It comes in so many forms, but the effect is still the same--a creative slowdown.

A writer’s block is an umbrella for all sorts of mental and creative blockages, which is why it is often considered as a huge, insurmountable hurdle. Most cases of writer’s block are commonly caused by the following: timing, distraction, and fear.

Among the three, it is fear that often leads to creative paralysis. You may have an idea, but you’re scared it might not be the right one or the right way to tackle it. Or you begin exploring a concept, and do actual writing, but at the middle of your work, you stop because you’re unsure of where you and your content is heading. After all, I’d like to believe that any kind of writing can grow a life of its own as it is being formed. In cases like that, the skill of restraint comes in handy to ensure that you can guide your writing into the expected output.

Given that writer’s block can spring from various reasons, let’s try to break it down to its different reasons, and identify solutions to each.

Maybe you’ve run out of ideas, or you’re in a creative rut. Whatever it is, you can’t get started because you don’t have anything to start with. Ironic as it may sound, you’re done even though you haven’t even started.

What you can do:

Simply write.

Although I have to disagree with the above mentioned problem, as I think that there can never be an absence of idea, people who experience it can overcome it by simply beginning to write.

Do free-writing exercises. You don’t have to write about something spectacular at that instant. Ideas are always there, and can be triggered by even a simple object. You could actually write about your realizations on your previous project, your breakfast, or even the yellow paperclip on your desk. It’s a matter of getting your fingers or hands moving, so your brain would follow suit.

Consult other writers.

A conversation can stir up your brain for ideas. You can exchange thoughts with your friends and colleagues to get your creative brain muscles working.

A great online resource you can check out is EduGeeksClub writing service. It’s a group of professional writing assistants that you can consult with regarding your writing process. Their competent writers and editors can help you get started with your idea through insightful comments and guided discussions. Moreover, EduGeeksClub offers proofreading, formatting, and editing services for instances you need to focus on just the actual writing, leaving you more time to focus on that task alone.

Problem: I have a lot of ideas in mind, but I can’t pin one down.

The thing about having too many ideas is the risk of an incoherent content. You will tend to put everything you want to say into your writing, but without sufficient and effective substantiation. You don’t want an output that’s all over the place, do you?

What you can do:

Organize your thoughts by mind mapping.

Mind maps are your thoughts laid down and dissected with the use of visual cues and codes. This process can help you untangle your jumbled thoughts, and put them into order. Identify your main and central concept, then work your way to a coherent outline as you branch out subtopics. This way, you also get to enrich your thoughts as you work with your visual outline. MindNode is an app you can use for easier mindmapping, especially if you work with a number of gadgets.

Plot an editorial calendar.

A mind teeming with ideas can be advantageous for writers like us. We don’t have to put everything in one go. It would be wise to have an idea bank, where we can select one, and work on that for a content. Keep in mind though that ideas can peter out, unless we note them down.

The best way to handle an idea bank is to have an editorial calendar. You can lay down your ideas and the appropriate story angles for each, and schedule a date for its output.

Once you’ve come up with an editorial content, you can turn to social media management apps like Buffer or Hootsuite to handle your varied content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Problem: I find it difficult to express my thoughts in words.

I admit to having encountered the same in my writing experience. Sometimes, writers look for the word that would be a perfect fit to their ideas. The search for that word can take some time though. The next best thing you can do? Don’t say or write a word then.

What you can do:

Communicate via visuals.

When words fail you, you’ve got images to talk for you. After all, didn’t they say that a picture is worth a thousand words?

In addition, visuals add a layer to your content through the use of colors and shapes. Visual content is also more appealing than text alone, especially if you are targeting to publish your output in social media platforms.

Helpful apps for this aspect are ThingLink, which allows you to include interactive images and videos in your content, and, which provides you with a wide range of templates for your infographic needs.

Problem: I need my Muse to inspire me.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not a problem. That’s an excuse that keeps you from writing. You’re either without an idea to begin with, so see answers to the top most problem, or distracting yourself from distraction...and the number one form of distraction at this age are your social media apps.

So if you want to produce great content, disconnect from your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Messenger.

Stay Focusd is a Chrome extension that prevents you from wasting time on online activities other than work. You identify the websites that you want to block after you used up your allotted time per day for browsing through them.

This way, you can still go visit your social networking sites, but you’re more mindful of the time you spend on them unless you want to temporarily lose access to those sites once you’ve used up your time.

Another great app you can use is the Pomodoro time. You have the option to set up the amount of time for work. Say, you settle for 25 minutes, which means you need to work for 25 minutes straight, without getting distracted. Once time is up, you can take a short break. Cutting your working hours into short segments keeps you focused on the task at hand, and makes sure you’re consistently productive throughout the day. Frequent breaks also prevent your mind from being overworked.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.05.10 AM

Author's bio. Karen Dikson is a writer and blogger from New Jersey. She finds her inspiration in reading and travelling and she cannot imagine her life without writing. Connect with Karen on Twitter.


The VCR Is Dead, But Video Is Fast Forwarding



The last remaining VCR manufacturer ended production last month, signaling the end of the Be Kind, Rewind Era.

To be honest, news that VCRs were still on assembly lines past the century mark is shocking, especially with the rise in digital video viewers. Even more remarkable are the advances we are seeing this year with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), underscored by the massive Pokémon Go audience.

It seems pretty clear that our methods of delivering video content have changed drastically. What hasn’t shifted over time is our fascination with video itself.

A Look at Video Today

Adults in the U.S. now consume 99 minutes of digital video each and every day. That’s 38 more minutes than just a year ago.

To date, live streaming video is available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – with Instagram and Snapchat releasing their own versions of collected videos from live events. Two million VR headsets will be sold by the end of this year. Though, to be fair, this medium isn’t expected to go mainstream for another six to eight years. In technology, that feels like a lifetime.
Augmented reality, however, soared past virtual reality this year with the introduction of Pokémon Go. This location-based mobile app blends the real world and the fictional world for some insanely impressive video gaming. Some are concluding the gloss is fading, but 9.5 million users can’t be wrong…right?

From live streaming to virtual and augmented reality, I think it’s fair to say we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Where Video is Headed

Digital video natives are leading the way, tapping into cord cutter audiences that abandoned cable television for online and streaming programs.

Tastemade, the fifth-largest video publisher on Facebook and born from a tiny YouTube channel, now amasses triple the number of viewers as The Food Network. Apple announced recently it’s working on augmented reality behind the curtain, calling it a “core technology.” Amazon is working on original VR and AR content, because of course they are.

The VCR has left the building, but I predict we are only at the beginning of the future.

New video technologies are gaining traction, reshaping not only how we watch videos but also how we become a part of them.

This article was originally posted on the Reach Analytics blog.


The 9 Best Tools To Help Improve Your Content Writing Skills


Content writing is unlike any other business skill. In most areas you can go off once a year to get a refresher course. But if you’re a content writer, you know this is not the case, as content writing is constantly changing from day to day. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, then you have to find the right tools to help you stay there. Every single day you have to teach the old dog new tricks.

That is where these 9 awesome online tools come in. Every one of them will help you and your employees take their content writing to the next level and put your content on the map.




Starting off this list with a bang we have the Ideator from the clever people at Content Forest. You can’t write good content without knowing what people want to read about. You also can’t run any sort of curation without knowing what is out there on the internet. Ideator lets you track what content is going viral and which on which social media networks it is most popular. You can search in specific niche interest areas to identify your audience and you can choose topics based on what is trending from minute to minute. Before you ever start blogging this is where you need to go to decide what to write about.

Daily Page

For some of you content writing is only a part of your job. It might not even be your favorite part of your job. Daily Page helps you to get into a writing routine, producing at least one page of content every single day. First thing in the morning it will prompt you with a topic, and you have the rest of the day to write that post. At the end of the day, you decide whether or not you want to share it. If you are just getting started in the content writing world and want to hone your skills, then Daily Page might be just the right tool for you.



Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything that you need done. On days like that you can turn to X-Essays writing services. They can turn out content at a high speed on any topic and they can do it for a lot less than you might think. Their content is all custom written and plagiarism free so it is safe to insert it in amongst your own content freely. The bottom line is this, to run a content based business successfully you need the raw material to keep up momentum. Boom Essays can give you that.


This is one of those tools that you never even knew existed, but once you try it, your won’t be able to live without it. Ideaflip is a brainstorming program that lives in the cloud. You and your employees can access it from anywhere in the world using any device. It eliminates the need for endless meetings to discuss every single idea and instead creates a risk-free environment for everyone to pitch their content and blend their ideas into the best final products imaginable. The bright simple design makes everything easy to understand, you can import your own content directly into the application and the “brain-map” design makes every connection between ideas crystal clear. You are going to kick yourself for not using it sooner.

Power Thesaurus

Everyone who has passed high school English knows what a Thesaurus is. When you are trying to brighten up your writing and eliminate repetition of your favorite phrases and words you open that little fat book and start looking. What makes Power Thesaurus different is that it is alive. While the old thesaurus was a fixed list of words and most of the websites that offer thesaurus services are much the same Power Thesaurus crowd sources its responses. Synonyms for words are listed in order of how many times they have been voted up by users. This lets you find out not just which words you can use in place of others, it also lets you find out which words are the most popular replacements for others. Power Thesaurus reflects the English language as it is now, not how it was decades ago when the first thesaurus was written.


Sniply is a neat little tool that lets you link from your content back to your website in the form of an unobtrusive little pop-up call to action. As well as driving a lot of readers back to your site it also allows you to track where your site visitors are coming from and modify your marketing strategies accordingly. This tool turns every guest post that your bloggers produce into another stream of readers heading to your site.

Rated Writing

This service is all about generating copy for you to use where you see fit. Where they differ from other companies is that they have a ton of experience in writing search engine optimized material for websites. All of the content that they generate is custom written for you to your specifications with a lot of back and forth communication to make sure that it is exactly what you are looking for. Combined with Ideaflip this can completely change your whole business. With a guarantee of unique content you don’t have to worry about finding the exact same information anywhere else on the internet and have to deal with the ensuing headaches.

Keyword Tool

So you are writing content but nobody is ever seeing it. All those hours of work are going to waste and your business is no better off than it would have been if you had done nothing. That is why you need Keyword Tool. It gives you the data direct about which long-tailed keywords are going to drive readers to your content. You can use it for Search Engine Optimization while writing your content and you can use it when you are planning out the online advertising campaign that is going to make your brand into a household name. Huge bonus, it is 99% effective and free while every other Keyword Tool out there charges you.


Uber Suggest

Where Keyword Tool stops, Uber Suggest begins. It finds the keywords that Google Keyword Planner hasn’t even thought of yet. The strange little idiosyncratic phrases that the right group of people put into their searches that will drive them directly to the your content. It is incredibly easy to use, clearly explained and even offers the option of downloading a spreadsheet of your keywords as a CSV file to use later.

Putting it all together

The unpleasant truth is that content writing is never going to get any easier, there is more and more competition for views every single day and there are only so many eyes out there looking at screens. Your competitors will be using everything at their disposal to keep those eyes pointed their way. Using tools like these can help you ensure your content is what people see first and what they will want to share with others.

Mary Walton is a professional editor and online tutor, currently living in Santa Monica. She's starting educational blog Simple Grad to share her thoughts on education and writing. Follow Mary on Twitter and Linkedin!


Avoid PR Disasters with the Perfect Social Media Policy


Belgrade - May 07, 2014 Facebook, Twitter And Other Popular Soci

Do your employees know which countries giraffes reside in? Have they ever heard of the Challenger disaster? While these questions may seem pointless and completely unrelated to social media, they have actually been the cause of several PR disasters. During the 2014 World Cup Championship, Delta Air Lines congratulated Team USA on their victory over Ghana by tweeting a picture of the Statue of Liberty for the U.S. and a giraffe for Ghana. Twitter users quickly pointed out that there are no giraffes in Ghana.

That was a relatively minor slip up compared to a month later, when American Apparel posted a picture of the space shuttle Challenger explosion on their Tumblr. According to their official apology, their social media manager was born after the disaster and was unaware of it.

This doesn’t mean that all of your marketers should receive history and geography lessons. The dozens of other PR disasters that happen on social media every year occur for any number of reasons. What it does mean is that your organization needs a social media policy to prevent PR mistakes and to mitigate the damage if any potentially harmful messages are released.

Preventing Social PR Disasters

The best way to prevent social media blunders is to only allow company messages to come from one person and one social media account. Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to receive any real engagement on your social channels.

Social media messages that are shared by employees reach 561% further than those shared by official company channels.

Using employee social advocacy safely and successfully requires that you and your employees have a clear understanding of what messages are encouraged and which should be avoided.

Build a Strategy and Social Media Policy to Guide Your Employee Advocacy

If you have a social media strategy, share it with your employees. Giving them an understanding of what your social goals and positioning are will show them how their networks can best support the brand. In addition to strategy, a clear social media policy should also define what employees can and cannot do online.

Establish Guidelines for Posting

Avoid sending your employees a 50-page document of Social Media Don’ts. Your guidelines should encourage sharing! Make your guidelines simple and based on common sense. Most of the information will be better communicated through training, but it will be valuable to have an official document in case any incidents occur.

Train Your Employees on Social Media

53% of salespeople say they’d like social media training. Despite this fact, 93% of them have received no formal training from their company.

Look to Dell for an example of an excellent social media training program. Over the past 5 years, Dell’s Social Media and Community University has trained over 15,000 of their employees on social media best practices. The benefits they’ve seen extend to all areas of their business:

  • Sales via social media has seen a 69% year-over-year increase.
  • With 4,000 customer service cases a week on social media, they hold a 98% first-time resolution rate.
  • 89% increase in the number of external hires coming from employee social referrals.

Provide Employees with Social Media Content to Share

Supplying employees with suggested social media content is another way to increase advocacy while also controlling the messages being sent out. You can send out regular post suggestions or for certain salespeople and brand advocates you can post on their behalf through a social media lead generation tool like Socedo. This is particularly valuable for sales reps who need to regularly share messages to leads in a timely and relevant manner.

Responding to Social PR Disasters

No matter how well trained and informed your employees are, eventually a social media crisis will strike your company. However, that doesn’t need to spell disaster for your brand. Many companies have been applauded for how well they handled a PR disaster.

Two companies that prove this fact are DiGiorno and Entenmann’s. Both companies received backlash after unintentionally leveraging trending hashtags that were related to sensitive issues. Entenmann’s tweeted using the #NotGuilty hashtag related to the Casey Anthony murder verdict while DiGiorno used the #WhyIStayed hashtag related to domestic violence.

Entenmann’s responded by avoiding Twitter for years until they had lived down the crisis. On the other side, DiGiorno personally responded to offended Twitter users and went to great lengths to own their mistake.

Because of their response, DiGiorno was able to limit the damage done to their brand and continue to use Twitter as a valuable channel.

Create a Social Media PR Disaster Plan

In addition to your social media policy, you should have a formal plan in place that defines what a social media crisis means to your brand and what actions you will take in the event of one. Some incidents may require personal apologies to every offended customer, like in DiGiorno’s example. Some incidents may require you to put out a press release or issue a formal statement. Understanding what is required in various situations and having the resources in place to respond quickly will greatly reduce the damage a social media PR incident can have on your brand.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

Responding to PR disasters and regular customer complaints in a timely manner requires that you actually know about them. While users reference brands on Twitter all the time, less than 3% directly @mention the brand when they do. Monitoring real-time keywords can help you identify potential disasters the moment they occur so your response can be quick and effective.

Social media PR disasters happen. However, if you create clear guidelines so you and your employees can be authentic and communicate with honesty, you can limit the potential for major incidents and limit the damage they will have on your brand.

This article was originally featured on Duct Tape Marketing Network 

Teena ThachTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.