Tag Archives: content

Cooking Up Content

Thanks to all of you who joined me for “Cooking Up Content” at the Chicago Smart Show this weekend. We had a full-house and everyone asked some great questions!

Many of you asked for a copy of my presentation. Here it is. Please feel free to send me any questions you may have!

Keeping the Words Fresh in a 24/7 World

Factoring in both personally and professionally, I wrote and posted over 6,000 updates on Facebook and Twitter in 2010. It’s hard to stay creative and interesting on a daily basis, week after week. I often fell short, but fortunately, I have cohorts to act as sounding boards to get me back on track.

I admit to a tiny bit of fear every time I write an update. What if I get crickets after I post a new update? Every time you create a tweet or post an update, it’s like throwing a party. You want people to show up. You’re playing the music, but sometimes, no one wants to dance. Worse, they don’t like your song choice. Like the host at a party, you sometimes struggle to keep the conversation lively and interesting. So what do you do to make sure you’re not a huge yawn to your guests? Throwing a lampshade on your head and doing the mambo is not an option–truly, not in the online world or real one.

After speaking to a few of my colleagues about what they do to keep their postings interesting, and ruminating over my own best practices, here’s a few power tips I’ve come up with from social media marketers, who, on a daily basis, numerous times a day, have to summon the muses.

1. Research is your best friend. One of the many reasons I like Hootsuite is because I get to organize my Twitter lists and see them all with a dashboard view. Let’s take one of my diamond industry clients, I’ve categorized the people they follow on Twitter into the following categories: Bridal, Jewelers, Fashion, Celebrity, Engagements. These are all shorthand terms that mean something to me. For example, take engagements. I have set up Twitter keywords to follow videos people post of proposals, whether they are funny or romantic. If a celeb gets engaged and it hits Twitter, it will show up in the stream for this list. In the celeb list, I have some intended redundancy to not only capture a newly announced engagement, but in case someone has posted a photo of a celeb wearing some jewelry that may be of interest to the members of the client’s Facebook page. Basically, Twitter is my research mine field for not only my tweets for this client, but for their Facebook page, too.
2. Write a weekly content schedule. Once a week, I sit down and create a schedule of what my weekly Facebook Page status updates will be. I do this for each and every client. It’s the best way to go over recent news and think about what to write about. To save time, I also collect ideas and info throughout the week so that I often have half the work already done.
3. Like any other writing, you have to write and rewrite. One of my clients once told me that he’s not satisfied with a press release unless it’s been edited at least nine times. I didn’t blink an eye. I get it. Every writer knows that writing is the fun part, but the editing is where goods words are sculpted into great ones. Right. I’m talking about Tweets, I know. While we’re not aiming for poetry, we do want to capture a conversational tone with a consistent voice, unique to each client. We also want those tweets to be interesting and fun. So tweak those tweets.
4. Mix it up. You are not writing a Dan Brown novel. There is not a tried and true formula for success. What works in your updates and tweets this week may get tiring after three weeks. So watch your sentence patterns, and mix up the topics a bit. Keep it lively and never, ever be satisfied with the status quo. Look for words that you use a lot and take a vacation from them. Make friends with words you don’t normally use—but, of course, be true to the voice of the brand.

Cat Got Your Tongue? Five Ideas for Fan Page Updates

Facebook is like a virtual cocktail party. There are some people in your network that you know well; others you don’t. One of the most written-about topics when it comes to social media, especially Facebook, is what one should write in her status updates. With fan pages, it becomes even more troublesome. How do you write in a tone that is both conversational yet true to the brand? Too often, brands resort to simple selling and promoting. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Do you want to log on to your Facebook page (aka virtual cocktail party) and have a sales guy hawking his wares in your newsfeed?

I didn’t think so.

Those in the trenches of social media often advise keeping your fan page newsfeed in the 80/20 ratio: 80% conversation, 20% selling. Some professionals prefer a more lenient 50/50 ratio. Whatever range you go with, here are five ideas for the days when you are feeling conversational:

1. Give them the facts. A jeweler might want to post some interesting tidbits about diamonds or other gems. “Did you know that crushed diamonds are often used in mineral-based makeup?” People like to be educated and informed, even on trivia. Don’t make your update a micro-course in biology, but don’t be afraid to inform, either, especially if it is unusual and interesting information.

2. Ask them a question that begs for an quick answer. Ask questions that are fun for readers to respond to, but don’t require them to write a book. You’ll get more responses. Blackberry asked readers what was their New Years Resolution. They got a hearty response rate with most people just giving one resolution. If they had asked them to “share you top five highlights from 2009,” they may have not gotten as much interaction, because people need to first think of five actual highlights, and then they have to describe those highlights. It could get messy or convoluted, or the prospect of simply spending all that time on Facebook may bore them so they move on. Like most things in life, keep it simple.

3. Tie an update into a current event, and throw in a product shot. iPhone (or Blackberry or any competitor) could upload a shot of their product, then write, “Our iPhone 3G would have come in handy for Lindsey Vonn: she could have texted all her pals as soon as she won the Gold.” Take it a step further and ask for interaction. “What would she text?” Experiment a little with ideas to see what works, and keep it fun.

4. Use your Fan Page to answer consumer questions. Every day, client services teams field questions from customers. Use some of the broader ones as a point of conversation on your wall. “We recieved an interesting question from a client the other day . . .” then briefly explain the question and give a quick (but useful!) answer.

5. Give them something to watch. Funnyordie and youtube are rich with videos that may relate to your field in a comical way, or, may just be extremely viral and worth posting. It doesn’t have to be a funny clip either: if it’s relevant to your product and may educate your fans in some way, post it. Give credit where credit is due, of course.

Don’t be afraid to be imaginative, keep it simple, and take a few risks with your content: provocative posts (within reason) often get the best responses. If Facebook can sometimes be like a virtual cocktail party where you mix and mingle, then just like you would at a real party, get out there an have some fun!