Stay Sharp & Creative Outside the Office With a Personal Blog

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Apr 23, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Writing does not come naturally for all of us. Even Shakespeare had his moments where he felt all creative inspiration had been lost (see: Sonnet 78).

Even for those of us who like to think of ourselves as wordsmiths, no writer is immune to writer’s block. Shakespeare, Poe and de Beauvoir all embodied the same drive for putting pen to paper – and managed to articulate themselves in such beautiful, sought-after ways that we still debate and celebrate decades later.


Fortunately, marketers are often natural creative-types with a knack for building brands, thinking unconventionally and generating killer content. However, not unlike the muscles that move us physically, the brain is an organ that requires exercise in order to function at its best.

Creativity doesn’t always just happen, it has to be exercised on an ongoing basis. Questions surrounding the creative mind have existed for as long as human beings realized they could think independently.Recently, the Huffington Post produced a list of 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently which has been widely shared (over 100k times); indicating our thirst to understand whatever these illusive “creators” are doing “differently."

Renowned psychologist and father of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, E. Paul Torrence described creative thinking as “the process of sensing difficulties, problems, gaps in information, missing elements, something askew; making guesses and formulating hypotheses about these deficiencies; evaluating and testing these guesses and hypotheses; possibly revising and retesting them; and, last, communicating the results.”

I want to underscore Torrence’s final thought here on “communicating” results, whatever they may be. It’s not enough to have those fleeting creative thoughts and neglect to nurture, document or share them. The hashtag is right: #SharingIsCaring. Communicating is an excellent way to exercise creativity.

But how to go about doing this creative communicating with the pressure of so many deadlines constantly looming, and so many tasks on that never-ending to-do list? Start by getting past your own inhibitions and negative self-talk. Just dive in headfirst and get started.

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Topics: blogging, writing, content generation, personal blog management, goals and aspirations, creativity, improving your writing skills, inspiration

Top 3 Considerations When Choosing a Cover Image

Posted by Sandy Benoit

Apr 22, 2014 8:31:00 AM

You only have 7 seconds to make a good first impression! Although this leadership concept applies mostly to applicants for a first interview or managers when networking, the rule can apply to social media as well. Indeed, it speaks to the speed of our daily communications and building an online reputation. With most social media now offering significant space for your custom images, it has become very important real-estate.

When looking up a company on Facebook or Twitter, one of the first elements that will speak to you is their overall look. This look is mainly composed of a cover image, a profile banner and/or a background image. 

On the one hand, most specialists will advise you to keep the same profile picture across all channels to create a brand and be more easily recognized. On the other hand, the cover image can be ever changing to set a mood, promote your company and show your personality. 

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Topics: twitter, social media, facebook, branding, cover image

Cheat Sheet: Image Sizes for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & LinkedIn

Posted by Dave Auten

Apr 21, 2014 2:53:00 PM

 

This blog post incorporates some major changes as of April 2014.

Chances are, your business is on at least one social media network. These networks are extensions of your business and should be branded just like you would your own company website. Thankfully, these networks provide more space than ever for for your own company brand. Each network is uniquely different, so naturally are the image specifications. No worries!

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Topics: twitter, facebook, linkedin, Google

Directories – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Risks

Posted by Doug McCaffrey

Apr 18, 2014 10:58:00 AM

For those of you responsible for a website’s success, it’s natural to put thought into finding other websites that you could ask for a link from. Directories often come to mind because, well, that’s what they’re there for. Ideally, what you’d get from a directory listing is a flow of interested visitors.  

You may also hope that a directory link would contribute to your website’s SEO because Google considers links as votes when determining rankings. There are, however, risks you should be aware of when pursuing directory links.

These days Google either doesn’t consider directory links at all within their ranking algorithm, or they only allow SEO benefit to flow from directories that are above a certain quality threshold. Then, at the other end of the quality spectrum are directories Google considers so bad, that if Google associates your website with them, they'll judge you harshly, and your rankings will suffer. Check out The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of using website directories:

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Topics: search ranking, Website Visitors, Link Building

YouTube Advertising: Should Your Business Invest?

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Apr 16, 2014 8:00:00 AM

The world’s colossal online video resource has become a common daily layover between tasks and a regular entertainment destination for the young and old the world over.

According to Mashable in 2013, YouTube hosted close to one billion unique new users each month. Google, who bought the site in 2006, claims that the platform "takes the most powerful medium for connecting the heart and mind – video – and elevates it from a one-way communication to a two-way experience by inviting brands and consumers alike to connect, curate, create and form community." 

Let's face it. We’ve all shared an arbitrary YouTube clip with a colleague for a laugh, or streamed a quick, free workout routine at home in the living room. 

And for those of you into music (I know I fit into this culture), there’s an incalculable number of free songs available to stream on YouTube. The first-ever YouTube Music Awards took place back in November of last year. Even beyond the realm of clips and music, TV audiences have migrated to YouTube as well. Google notes that “there are more ways than ever for TV audiences to research, participate in and access television content,” making the site more popular than ever. 

As Marketing Land indicated just late last week, multiple reports show that television and digital video viewing habits are “changing significantly” in large part “because of on-demand viewing and the availability of programming across screens.”

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Topics: advertising, YouTube, business strategy, video marketing, YouTube for business, YouTube advertising

Differentiate Your Business With Collaborative Selling

Posted by Dave Auten

Apr 14, 2014 8:30:00 AM

You enter a room lined with vendors all screaming to catch your attention. You know where you are headed, but everyone is trying to sell you on where he or she thinks you need to go. This scenario could be running the gauntlet through a tropical airport, or just as easily be the coffee break at a B2B trade show. Today’s savvy buyers necessarily zone out the noise to focus on where they want to go, and what they want to buy.

Buyers can now be up to 90% through the buyer’s journey before engaging sellers. When the buyer is ready to reach out, why should they buy from you?

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Topics: business development, competitive strategy

A Blog for Social Media Skeptics

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Apr 9, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are begging you to like or follow them right now – aggressively.

Some of these businesses convey great virtual voices, while too many others market on rhetoric, hyperbole and with a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. Thus, it is understandable that when it comes to social media as a marketing platform, skepticism is rampant.



Currently I manage an assortment of Twitter accounts: for myself, PROSAR, a non-profit, a local band, and for multiple small businesses. It’s frustrating sometimes to be forced to navigate through loads of BS when searching for re-tweetable content, or solid new contacts with which to network. I suppose it’s too easy to pretend to be something you’re not when talking to a screen, rather than an actual physical person across from you in a coffee shop. That said, when it comes to your virtual presence, not unlike your personal and business relationship, being disingenuous will do you no favours.

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Topics: twitter, social media, marketing, charlie angus, inbound marketing methodology, social media skepticism, smoke and mirrors

Why Your Marketing Department Will Lead Your Success in 2014

Posted by Scott Vetter

Apr 4, 2014 10:12:24 AM

Your business has been forced to deal with a new reality. It’s not simply the slower economy and less discretionary spending. Nor the increase in domestic and international competition. It’s more than a better educated and information-hungry consumer.  Technology alone is not to blame either. For a myriad of reasons, there has been a gradual shift over the past several years which has culminated in a customer-centric market place. Whether you work in retail, corporate services, charitable fundraising or member recruitment — most organizations have realized that their traditional strategies and tactics are not working like they used to.

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Topics: consumer behaviour, analytics, brand connection

The Science of Posts: Top 5 Tips to Get You More Social Media Shares

Posted by Sandy Benoit

Apr 2, 2014 2:51:00 PM

Do you want more shares?

Who doesn't?

Every company Facebook page and Twitter account want to be the one trending on a news feed. Although not exact, there is a certain science behind the art of social media shares. Research discerns certain trends and preferences behind what attracts us to notice, favour and share.

 

Here are 5 tips to improve the shareability of your posts, tweets and status updates:

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Topics: blogging, social media, tips for success

Social Selling for Small and Medium Business: Effective?

Posted by Dave Auten

Mar 31, 2014 1:00:00 PM

I first read the term “social selling” on my daily morning browse of social media. The post described a utopian world where B2B sales people could use the might of social media big data to target prospects and cozy them into warm leads without ever leaving the comfort of our ergonomic office chairs.

Social selling is utilizing social media as a B2B sales prospecting tool.

The concept seems almost too easy. By using the search power and depth of big data you can easily identify the most promising sales prospects. Within your own professional network you can reach out directly with a personal message that offers a very high response rate. At the very least your own network can help introduce or refer you to even more ideal prospects.

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Topics: business development, social media marketing

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