What’s first when you create content?

What is first. Huh? That's right, the "what" matters more than anything else when you set out to create strong, appealing content. Sounds simple. But it's not. Figuring out "what" can be deceivingly difficult: It involves deciding upon the main message that you, or your client, want to communicate with, and through, the content. Not the top three or five, but the single most crucial message the content must convey. Once the "what" is clear, other content-related choices -- notably, the "how" relating to the...

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Timeless message; modern technology

Recently, I've been exploring ways to share more GIFs. Nutmeg enables GIFs to be texted. And Giphy's nearly limitless library can be shared in so many formats, it takes two hands to count them. I was looking for a GIF to share today, Christmas Eve. (I realize many folks don't celebrate Christmas. So, if relevant, substitute a holiday close to your heart.) Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is, hands-down, my favorite Christmas special. This year is the...

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Breaking news today = social media + curation + technology

Like many people all over the world, I was gripped by the scary hostage-taking siege that happened this week in the heart of Sydney, Australia, and ended tragically for two innocent hostages who lost their lives and others who suffered injuries. As a former journalist based in Sydney several years, whose office was not far from the location of Lindt cafe, I kept scanning updates using the Twitter hashtag #SydneySiege and searching for the...

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Goof-proof recipe yields amazing social media content

If you're like me, you fall for headlines. Most people do. That's why news outlets call the salacious ones "click bait." They do lure us to open the links. Social media content so great that it gets widely saved and shared includes other components, of course. Together, those elements blend together deliciously. This post gives a recipe for amazing social media content. Actually, it gives the ingredients. You can tailor the measurements and adjust the seasonings, to taste!

Gathering the Ingredients

Content is...

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How to use tone to create social media success

One of the most powerful aspects of communication is tone. Although it's tricky to define, tone can grab and hold you--or repel you. Credibility is won, or lost, through tone. And, ultimately, tone affects whether brands get and keep customers or fail to connect with prospects.

Tone has always been important in advertising and marketing. On the social web, it matters everywhere...all the time, to all of us.
But what goes into tone? What makes it work, or flop? The bad...

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How to squeeze more value from social media content

Just to get this out of the way: this post is not about quick and easy content. Content that rocks takes work. Shoddy writing, flimsy examples or bland design will not get read or shared. Content that people clamor for, on the other hand, can sell, influence, convince or (fill in an objective) that you, or your client, aims to achieve.

Once you've got great content, work it!

How? That's the gist of this post. It gives 31 ideas for repurposing...

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To get what you want, you’ve got to remember it’s not about you

As a new year dawns, it's a perfect time to consider goals and aspirations. In other words: what you want to do, to achieve, to get. And, it's only natural for us to frame these in terms of what we need in order to reach our goals successfully. The hitch is this: often, reaching our goals involves others. Not always. But often -- especially with work-related goals. Reaching your professional goals depends on clients, co-workers, direct reports, bosses, community members or donors. And, in...

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Please steal these writing tips for Kindergartners. Effective for you, too. Promise!

My five-year-old son's class at school is studying a unit about mapping. His teachers, innovative and creative, always welcome ideas and interactions from parents.

I suggested a presentation about how maps could help the Kindergartners find their way in writing, too.

"Wouldn't it be handy if more of us could think of writing as fun?"

Diagramming sentences and making detailed outlines snuff the...

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Smoothly Re-launch Your Career

I put this presentation together for a short talk I gave today at the Global Leadership Mentoring Conference, in Cleveland. It explores the concept of approaching career transitions more similarly to the way we approach other regularly occurring life transitions filled with the unknown -- such as heading off to college, having a first child or entering retirement. Retirement is still in my future, but I have already gone through the anxious transitions of becoming a college student living away from...

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Please, community managers: do this — not that

Social media invites all kinds of conversations, sharing and engagement. The "rules" about the social web could be described like this:

# 1.  There are no rules.

# 2.  See #1.


Yet, while I am a fan of fewer don'ts than dos for the social web, some broad guidelines should apply -- especially when it comes to community managers, who are the voice behind a brand...

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Enough Boring Email Headlines! Case Study: This Redo Really Rocks

Here's the headline of a sales pitch email that landed (with a thud) recently in my inbox: Checking in one more time. "Checking in one more time?" Wow. Sales approaches -- especially cold ones -- don't get much less effective than that. Ordinarily, I would've just zipped it right into the trash. Then, I got the idea to turn it into a blog post that offers suggestions for refashioning a poor pitch and for amping up communication that plods so it packs...

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Use this secret to build awareness using only Social Media

A friend of mine, Jay Blanchard, Tweeted me recently and asked a great question I've heard from clients and others, too. Can you create a big buzz on a small budget -- using only social media?

The short answer is Yes! The rest of...

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