Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Social Media Justice & The Jodi Arias Trial

I continue to follow the Jodi Arias/Travis Alexander trial and participate in a Facebook group and Twitter feeds concerning news and updates about the trial. I'll save my political and legal rants for another time (or check out my editorial-based blog to read my updates and feedback about the trial).

As someone who assists clients with their online reputation and brand management via social media, social media plays an integral role in this trial. There are many Facebook groups - both for and against - Jodi Arias and many in support of the victim, Travis Alexander. When I want to find the latest information about the trial, I log into my Twitter and Facebook group. You can find the live stream of the trial online and news sources blog live updates throughout the day. The trial is literally at your virtual social media fingertips.

I wonder if any news about the trial has leaked to the jury? It seems like they literally cannot have any form of technology with him because you can find any and all information online. Were their phones confiscated? I know that they are sequesteredm but how cut off are from the rest of the virtual world?

But where there is heat comes fire with a high profile murder case. The lawyers, Alexander and his family, and Arias herself have been bashed in social media posts. Opinions are what makes up social media, and depending on how you view the trial, social media could either help or hurt (or both) in the Travis Alexander trial.

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's All in the Eyes: What Do Your Eyes Really Say About You & How You Communicate?

It's been said that the "eyes are the window to the soul." Friends have told me that they can tell how I'm feeling just from looking at my eyes - when I'm tired or upset, my eyes usually give me away.

For the past few weeks, I've been watching the Jodi Arias trial and tuning into what the body language experts have to say about Arias' body language, especially concerning her eyes. Based on how she looks down with her eyes and glances away from the prosecutor during the trial, she shows signs of deception and lying - not a big shocker. 

You don't have to be a forensics psychologist to put two and two together. As human beings, we can usually tell when someone is being deceptive or shifty: does the person look you straight in the eye or does their gaze shift away from you? As I listened to the experts weigh in about body language, it made me wonder about my body language. More specifically, what kind of message do I send with my eyes when I talk with a client, or when I meet someone new? 

Check out these five types of eye movements and the message you send, while talking to someone, just from your eyes alone: 

1. An intense stare or glare (without interruption) for a long period of time - the stare down:  threatening or invasive (if the pupils are really small, then you might want to run in the other direction!) 

2. Avoiding another person's gaze (or eyes shift downward or to the side): feeling uncomfortable about subject or topic, lying and/or feelings of guilt. But don't judge too quickly: if you stare at another person for a long period, they may look away for a few seconds just to take a break from your gaze.

3. Gazing at regular intervals (but not in a stare-down type of way) - direct eye contact: open to the conversation, invites communication and discussion, and shows a relaxed manner and a sign of confidence. 

4. Rapid, excessive blinking: feelings of stress or discomfort, and/or shows signs of deceit and dishonesty 

5. Rolling eyes in upward motion: disagreement, feelings of frustration with conversation

Another helpful tip: if you meet someone for the first time and want to make a favorable impression, smile and look that person in the eye while extending your hand in a friendly manner. Warning: don't hold eye contact too long or you'll creep the other person out. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

How Color Impacts Your Content and Websites

I'm not a designer but as a copywriter, I work with designers and I write web site copy and content for the restaurant and food industry. Color plays a huge role when it comes to impacting your audience in a negative or positive way. If your content does not visually appeal to your targeted market, then you will probably turn them off as soon as they click on your blog or website.

When choosing colors for your content (from layout design to fonts), think carefully how about these colors will emotionally impact your audience. Colors appeal to the senses. For example, the biggest visual mistake in the restaurant and food industry is grainy, black and white food photography that restaurants use in their menu, websites, and social media. Food photography should pop with rich, appetizing colors. The dishes should LOOK delicious and appealing and not turn your customers' stomachs as soon as they look at the pictures.

Before you go wild with color, consider the psychology behind colors and the feelings they evoke: 

Green - a healing color tied to health and also related to animals, nature, balance and harmony. Green can also be tied to money and finance (i.e. money green).

Red - feelings of passion, love, action, strength, power, boldness, sense of adventure etc. and can also be considered an "angry" color (i.e. fire-engine red)

Blue - Soft and harmonious (pale, softer pastel blues) and darker blues reflect professionalism and success.

Purple - Royal, regal and luxurious (deep bold purple) or whimsical, dreamy, wistful (softer lavender shades)

Orange - Fun, creative, youthful, vibrant and energetic

Pink - Sweet, tender, and youthful/innocent

Brown - Earthy and natural

Grey - Reserved and neutral

White - Clean, pure, simple

Black - Serious, formal, mysterious/secretive 

If design and color aren't your forte, hire a professional designer to help you choose the best colors, layout design, etc. for your content and site. The wrong color choices could easily scare or turn off your targeted audiences.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial & The Social Media Marathon

I've been following the Jodi Arias trial since January and the news outlets are doing a great job when it comes to their social media news coverage. I participated in the tweet blasts this week and discussions during the live stream of the trial. Everyone has an opinion which makes the social media discussions fascinating. Defense and prosecution attorneys, psychologists, and true crime experts are weighing in both offline and online.

If you want to follow the Jodi Arias trial social media marathon online, check out the following below - a list of my favorites.


Twitter Hashtags to follow: 


Well-Written, Quality Content Equals Successful SEO in 2013

This week I discussed why your business needs quality content and how content marketing can put you on the digital map. But how can content help your SEO and help you with search engine rankings? Search engines play it smart these days, especially Google, and they have cracked down on unethical blackhat SEO tricks such as keyword stuffing. The key to a successful SEO campaign in 2013 is high quality content that is well-written and researched. 

Build Links With Well-Researched, Longer Articles
Kiss short articles good-bye in 2013. Target audiences want meatier articles with real substance. According to SEOmoz, longer and more in-depth articles are where it's at when it comes to quality content. This helps improve conversions and builds your brand authority. Target markets tend to engage and interact more with longer, well-researched articles. 

Hire a Professional Writer 
 If you are going to play the digital media game this year, then it's time to think quality and not quantity. Hire a professional writer to write your content. Time is money so investing in quality writers might be the best return on your investment. Don't just take my word for it. According to an article on SearchEngineWatch.com, one of the top trends shaping SEO in 2013 is a demand for businesses to hire "good writers who know their stuff." Professional writing equals quality content. 

Beware of Content Scammers 
Don't hire cheap, outsourced writers from content mill companies who churn out poorly written content. If it sounds too good to be true, then it's probably a scam. You might think you're saving a few bucks with those $5 articles, but they will hurt your SEO and your brand in the end. Many of these companies are out to make a quick buck and they don't hire professional, vetted writers. They are clueless when it come to research and re-purpose (or plagiarize) content. These supposed "unique" articles are usually stuffed with keywords and riddled with typos. Ask for writing samples, references, and credentials before hiring ANY writer (especially online). 

Remember it's your reputation on the line and your content should always accurately and honestly reflect your company brand. For more content tips, check out this article - how to protect your brand with ethical content marketing. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Content Marketing Can Your Put Your Business on the Digital Map

As we jump into 2013, consumers are blasted with ads and sales pitches (just look at the Super Bowl ads!) that sell the latest and greatest techno gadget or miracle beauty cream that will take years off your face. Don't get me wrong - a targeted sales campaign can work wonders for your business but the constant sales pitch 24, 7, without a strategic content marketing plan, won't work  in 2013...AND could potentially scare off potential customers and clients.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is also known as non-interruption marketing. In contrast, interruption marketing promotes a product or service through advertising and sales/marketing. Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable, high quality content that informs, educates, and/or entertains your target market/audience. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to enhance your brand and strengthen your online reputation as an "expert" in your field while attracting and gaining customers and clients (and/or retention of your current customer base).

Basically, content marketing shares relevant information with your target markets but without the tiresome, sales pitch that people slink away from online. Content marketing is basically what social media is all about: social media should NOT be about selling your products and services - the quickest way to turn off customers.

Examples of Content Marketing

Content marketing runs the gamut and is more than just a company blog. These are just a few examples of content you can start implementing today.

  • Social Media
  • Websites & Blogs
  • Articles & Press Releases 
  • Online Communities
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Webcasts
  • E-zines
  • Mobile apps
  • Newsletters (both print and e-newsletters)
  • Videos 
  • Infographics & Photos
How to Get Started with Content Marketing

If you don't have any content, the best place to start is to create a blog. Check out these easy tips on how to create a business blog that will appeal to your target market/audience. 

Well-written articles and press releases are another effective way to spread the word about your company brand without selling your services. Remember that a press release should not blatantly sell or advertise your products or services. A press release needs to be timely and news worthy. A blatant sales pitch in a press release will be headed to the round file aka trash can. If writing isn't your forte, then hire a professional copywriter to assist you.

Create content that resonates honestly with who you are, and what your brand, products and services represent. Whether you are the manager of a high-end retail clothing store or write e-books about dog breeding, find your authentic voice and stick with it.

The best way to tell your story is through high quality content. You don't have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to write a blog or article that quickly captures your targeted readers' attention. And don't copycat other people's writing style. Find a style that fits well with your business climate, industry and  your personal voice. Before you start creating and distributing content, research other quality content in your industry/niche to get a "feel" for what's out there.

If you want your business to compete on the competitive digital map, remember that when it comes to the fast-paced social media superhighway, it's all about quality content.

For more content marketing tips, check out the following links:

Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies