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Stop the Ticks: Send Us to South by Southwest Interactive

 

TickEncounter Resource Center

Humans vs. Ticks and Internships

Are humans smarter than ticks? According to Dr. Tom Mather at University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center, not by a long shot.

But ticks don’t have social media.

Leading a team 4 social media interns and 2 other social media professionals, we’ve spent the past 6 months fighting off ticks one tweet at a time. How’s that? Come again?

@TheTickGuy Dr Tom MatherA decades-long leading tick researcher, Dr. Mather saw an opportunity to harness social media to save lives and well-being. According to the CDC, Lyme disease rates are actually 10 times higher than what has been reported. In these parts, it’s hard to find people who haven’t been affected.

CBS News reports: “This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention.”

Are ticks zombies in our midst? Here’s where we start to fight back

I narrowed down URI’s Harrington School of Communication’s best and brightest to become TickSmart interns. Thanks to Newport Interactive Marketers, I knew just which social media pros would be ideal social media mentors. Once we settled on an initial strategy and goals for this first-of-its kind project, the pros trained and mentored the Journalism, Marketing, PR, and Environmental Science/Writing majors.

The first challenge was nailing the messaging. How to train an intern to speak the language of tick researchers? Everyone adapted, and we found successes.

TickSmart Social Media Team Successes

  • Blogger outreach and guest posting
  • Building Pinterest boards without strictly showing pictures of ticks
  • Developing media outreach lists
  • Creating segmented newsletter content
  • Developing a TickSmart pledge card tool to link in-person events with ongoing relationships
  • Testing and engaging and growing followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook
  • Repurposing email content into SEO-rich blog posts

 

Some Welcome Social Media Surprises

  • Developing memes and enticing the tick research teams to create dozens more
  • Videoing a riff of a cult movie trailer
  • Presenting at South by Southwest Interactive

South by Southwest is still a work-in-progress, and I’d like your help!

South by Southwest InteractiveIf you’re not familiar with SXSW Interactive, it is the premier conference for social media professionals. In 2012, Interactive had 24,569 attendees, up 27 percent from 2011.

Help spread the word about Lyme disease and tick prevention by engaging with these influential people!

Let’s use social media & SXSW influencers to beat back the ticks: Click on the thumbs up, or leave a comment. Simply follow this link, http://bit.ly/TickvsHumansSXSW, sign in, and comment!

Thanks in advance, on behalf of the TickSmart Social Media team, the tireless TickEncounter researchers, and everyone who’s been or will be touched by ticks and may become infected.

Blogging, Web Content & Optimizing Profit Potential

Blogging, Web Content & Optimizing: What Do I Get?

By Suzanne McDonald

Blogging and developing web content are both time-consuming and/or expensive. An engaged audience at the Rhode Island Hospitality Association’s Marketing Seminar took notes and asked a number of great questions.

I explained how to save time and money with clear strategies and tactics I used with clients to ensure Designated Editor is as effective and efficient as we can be to boost clients’ bottom line. I focused on FREE resources and tactics to generate content and boost visibility via Google and other Search Engines.

Along the way I threw in some anecdotes about negativity, such as how to respond to gripey Yelpers, for example.  Take a look below and see what you missed at the Rhode Island Hospitality Association’s Marketing Summit.

 

 

Content and Social Media Marketing Webinar

By Suzanne McDonald

If content “is the only marketing left,” as a quote from entrepreneur Seth Godin goes, than businesses better make sure their content is attracting customers.

 

In a webinar by Smart Insights and Bright TALK, “Content and Social Media Marketing,” businesses can learn how to use content for marketing – and what to avoid so content doesn’t harm the brand’s image.

 

What exactly is content marketing? It’s “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined target audience,” content marketing authors Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett said in their 2009 book, “Get Content, Get Customers.”

 

Content marketing “barely registered as a concept” until a few years ago, according to Google search trends for the topic, as cited in the webinar. Not until early 2011 did searches for “content marketing” finally start to rise – and then they soared.

 

Common content formats:

  •  Facebook
  • Twitter
  • emails to subscriber base
  • A Wiki page
  • blog post
  • LinkedIn
  • press release
  • banner ads

 

Those are the most common formats, and they fall into four “quandrants,” or general styles:

  1. Entertain (example: quizzes or branded videos)
  2. Inspire (celebrity endorsements or community forums)
  3. Convince (case studies or interactive demonstrations)
  4. Educate (infographics or press relases)

 

A few formats fall in between, such as articles, which are on the line between entertain and educate, and ratings, which are between inspire and convince. Ideally, a business would find the right balance between the four quandrants, something that could be struck by having customer reviews or questionnaires.

 

The old saying “quality over quantity” applies to content marketing. If a business overloads its Twitter followers or Facebook fans with too many posts, they would, at minimum, lose effectiveness. At most, those followers and fans would unfollow or post negative remarks.

 

Interesting content is a top-three reason why people follow certain brands on social media, and there are trends to give hints on the best ways companies can utilize their content:

  •  3 in 4 marketers say compelling content is a factor in closing sales.
  •  70% prefer getting to know a company by reading articles rather than advertisements.
  • 60% feel more positive about a company after reading content on its website.

 

A tip to remember, as the webinar puts it: “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.” In other words, engage with customers instead of simply talking to them, and think like a publisher instead of an advertiser.

 

Travel review websites are a great example in the amount of influence they have, especially among younger people. Word-of-mouth marketing is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.

 

Other tips to consider:

  • Think of what your content will look like on mobile devices – or whether it will even work at all.
  • Most Facebook fans (83% in one study) do not see your posts because they don’t stay visible on newsfeeds for very long.
  • A high number of “likes” and comments on even a plain-text post will drive more reach, or influence, than another post that might seem more likely to attract buzz simply because it has a photo.

 

Facebook has an internal algorithm called EdgeRank that it uses to gauge a user’s influence. It is based on four factors:

  • Affinity, or your relationship with a brand; you are more likely to see a post if your friends engage with it.
  • Type of post. Simple status updates trump other content.
  • Time. The older a post is, the less likely it will be viewed.
  • Level of negative feedback a post and brand receives.

 

Finally, some social media networks are more effective than others, depending on whether your communication is business-to-business or business-to-customer:

  • LinkedIn – the most effective for B2B, but far less so for B2C.
  • Blogs and Twitter have the best balance between both B2B and B2C.
  • Facebook is far more effective for B2C than B2B.
  • Others are far less effective for both methods, including Slideshare, Delicious, Scribd and Flickr.

If  you’d like to listen to the Webinar yourself, check out the BrightTalk Website!

Designated Editor Writes a Book | Retreat Weekend

Book retreat weekend Designated Editor

Book writing goes much faster without distractions and some plush surroundings.

Book Writing Requires Retreat Weekend

Room 202 was a second attempt at the ideal sanctuary to remove distractions and stimulate my book writing. With a sliver of a Bay view, the fireplace blazing, and light streaming in the room’s four windows, it’s nearly everything I was looking for.

I knew I had to get away, despite all that needed to be done at the farmhouse.

Hurricane Sandy had created quite a stick harvest – tree debris strewn everywhere – not to mention the house’s 43 windows still need to be cleaned.

And the daylight shining in spotlighted where the floors had accumulated dust, grass clippings, spider webbings, and more.

For sure my husband was going to guilt me about getting away, especially since the roof of the big barn looked like a giant had peeled a big hole back from the tin roof, just like we used to poke a hole in the bottoms of the chocolates when the Valentine’s box didn’t come with a map. No treats inside the barn, Sandy, but thanks for the big hole in the roof. Instead, Bob’s parting words before closing the side door and heading off to work: “Happy writing!”

Instead, the deal I had found wasn’t available for Friday night. I rearranged my Monday tasks to Saturday morning: graded all the papers, set up next assignments, readings, and announcements for my Event Planning & New Media class. Not quite ready to write one of the 4 chapters I’ve tasked myself with, but at greater ease with the decks fully cleared for the next 2 days.

Considering Writing a Book? Dial into Lisa Tener’s Free Teleseminar on March 19.

Bristol Harbor Inn offers staycation deals in November and December. Bob suggested going someplace more interesting, but 30 minutes from home removes the temptation to explore. I’m here to dive into my book. The Saturday-Sunday night stay rang up to just over $200, with gas fireplace, $50 dining credit, and continental breakfast each day.

Room 202 is in the front of the building with 2 south-facing windows and 2 street-facing. The only change I’d make is more of an easy chair, but the chair I’m in is likely better, less tempting to fall asleep in!

No wifi in the room is also a blessing. Only hardwire, and I do have my laptop, although I’m finding writing on my iPad less work-like.

A few of the secrets from Lisa’s class that have really helped

  • Make the space in your life for your book.
  • Let writing your book be a fun activity, not something you dread.
  • Imagine your readers and how your book will resonate with them, change their lives.

The most surprising aspect so far is how easily it’s coming together, if I create the time and space for it.

And, this experience has transferred to other aspects of my life and business. Most surprising example, getting away while there’s so much work to be done. Fortunately, Bob has become adept at fixing barn roofs; the sticks will be there when I get back and feel like being outside; and I’m spending less than I budgeted and will bring the house cleaners in for an even bigger reward.

Designated Editor Writes a Book | Where to Begin

In my quest to share my insights and expertise in a more structured format, I’m working on a book. But not without help! Lisa Tener’s class is helping to keep me on-target for a first draft in 8 weeks.

See my earlier post on overhauling the Designated Editor brand.

I like to say “Websites age in dog years.” Due to styles, usability preferences, and technology they start to look stale after about 3 years. Or, after 3 years you should be planning a makeover, one of the services Designated Editor provides to clients (shameless plug).

But perhaps the same is true for brands? From when I first launched Designated Editor, 4 years and 2 website designs ago, much has changed. First, when I left The Globe, only newspapers seemed to be headed toward a sinkhole. Now we’ve experienced the Great Recession. While the economy was down, I was filling up on knowledge, starting with SEO and then Social Media, always evolving, but I’m evolving with it.

Part of that evolution is taking my insights and creating a guide to jump-start brands’ new media efforts. The book takes a holistic view of new media, not simply social media. If you’ve been a regular Designated Editor blog reader you’ll find several themes, among them:

  • Search and Social are morphing
  • In-person interactions and social media complement each other
  • Search should be – and is increasing so – about fulfilling user needs

All is not without controversy: Years ago an SEO expert left a comment that challenges my downplay of link-building. Since then search experts know: It’s not about building links but building reputation.

In the Designated Editor brand overhaul, I’m relying on key folks for support, Lisa Tener being first and foremost as I eagerly put my thoughts to paper. If you’re considering writing a book, or completing any major project, here are a few recent tips from Lisa’s workshop that you may find helpful:

Book-writing tips from Lisa Tener

  • Put the book first
  • Beware of new must-dos that may crop up
  • Delegate more
  • Let go of your ego: focus on what you can give, not how others will see it.

Considering Writing a Book? Dial into Lisa Tener’s Free Teleseminar on March 19.

Another tip from a classmate: Don’t get hemmed in by technology. It’s OK to write on your iPhone or iPad and email yourself the document. I write on the sunporch with my iPad, far from my desk, which prohibits interruptions like checking email and answering calls.