How To Protect Your Brand On Social Media

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Editor’s note: This post was written by Jeff Foster, co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Social media is now a critical component of any marketing campaign. Used correctly, it builds an army of enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand. But social media is a double-edged sword. Negative reviews, PR blunders and inconsistent brand messages are constant dangers – threats that you need to guard against. Brand protection has to be an integral part of your social media strategy, otherwise you are putting your brand at risk.

Implement A Social Media Policy

While it takes time to build an online brand, your employees can damage it very quickly – often without meaning to. There are well-publicized examples of this. For example, when a US Airways employee tweeted a very graphic image on the company’s Twitter account. Sometimes, however, the damage can be more subtle.

Let’s assume that someone in your marketing department sets up an unofficial branded hashtag, which they use to tweet company news – all with the best intentions. But if they do this without tying into your social media strategy, they can end up sending confusing messages that devalue your brand.

To avoid this and protect your brand on social media, put in place a clear social media policy. This should tell your staff things like who is authorized to post content, what approvals are needed, and what type of content can be posted. Also make sure that this addresses your employees’ private social media accounts – tell them exactly what they can and can’t do with their own accounts.

Finally, make your acceptable use policy clear to your followers on social media. For example, state on your Facebook page that you’ll delete readers’ comments if they contain or link to pornographic, racist or other types of unacceptable content. By saying this upfront, you’ll reduce any social media backlash when you censor what readers have to say.

Monitor Social Media For Damaging Comments

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You should also monitor social media for what people say about you. Look at overall sentiment, but also identify specific negative comments. There are several great tools you can use to do this, including Google Alerts, Trackur, SocialMention and BlitzMetrics. The advantage of these tools is that they don’t just monitor your own social media channels – they can monitor the entire social media universe.

When you do find negative comments, don’t make the mistake of arguing online. Craft a reasonable response to what the author has to say. This will reduce the impact of the comment for other readers. If they do respond positively, offer to talk to them offline to address any concerns they might have.

Also watch for sites that rank highly for your company name – or for other brand-related keywords that you use. It’s easy for someone to set up a site with the intent of damaging your business, or even impersonating it for fraudulent reasons. You need to intercept these sites quickly – and you may even need to take legal action to get them shut down.

Create Buzz

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No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to silence all your detractors on social media. Negative feedback is just a fact of life. But you can offset it by creating a constant positive buzz around your brand. This will drown out negative comments – or at least push them into the background.

However, you can’t create buzz by yourself – in fact, readers won’t believe you if you try to do this. Instead, you need to use sites like Tomoson to get influencers talking about your products or services. People trust bloggers and other online thought leaders – much more than they trust company advertising.

Creating positive relations with bloggers is a major topic in itself, but here are a few key things you need to know. First of all, bloggers value their independent voice – and so do their readers. So even if you pay bloggers to write posts, don’t try to bend them to your will. Second, bloggers want to know that you are interested in them – so take the time to read their blog posts and express genuine interest. Third, you need to give bloggers something to talk about, so avoid boring marketing pitches – roll up your sleeves and get creative.

Finally, remember that bloggers are not the only influencers. When your customers talk about your brand, they are selling it at the same time. People will naturally make some comments, but you need to encourage them to say more. For example, by simply responding quickly and positively to comments, you can spark more conversation. Retweeting comments is another good strategy, although you shouldn’t spam your followers by doing this too much. Another good approach is to run an online contest where you ask readers what they love about your brand – and then give prizes for the best comments.

Avoid Controversial Subjects

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Unless your business directly involves religion or politics, you shouldn’t discuss these subjects on social media. Even if what you say is innocuous, you’re going to offend some people in your audience. There’s usually no upside in talking about controversial subjects – and there’s always a downside. Religion and politics aren’t the only controversial topics, so always think about whether you could offend before you post or tweet something.

It’s also a big mistake to exploit natural disasters and other tragedies to promote your brand online. This may seem obvious, but even leading brands get it wrong. For example, when Hurricane Sandy struck the US East Coast in 2012, American Apparel sent out an email blast offering 20% off everything, “in case you’re bored during the storm.” There was a huge social media backlash, including tweets such as “I will forever boycott their stores.” Amazingly, American Apparel wasn’t the only retailer to get this wrong – GAP also incensed the Twitterverse, with a similar post encouraging Sandy victims to shop online at Gap.com.

Another useful article: How an Industry-Specific Writer Can Improve Your Company’s Blogging

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Ways to Find Out if a Ghost Blogger is Right for You

5 Ways to Find Out if a Ghost Blogger is Right for You

As a webmaster or marketer, your priority is to come up with a content and marketing plan that will be used for building your website or blog. By developing a content strategy that contains your SEO, content marketing, and social media strategies, you can build a highly targeted site with laser-focused content that caters to your audience. You can also promote your website or blog using your preferred social media channels and get it to rank for your target keyword on search results.

Even if you have covered the planning and the marketing of your website, the writing and publishing of content is a different animal. Aside from the ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas in a clear manner, you must possess the best web writing techniques such as the application of on-page optimization practices, use of visual content, composition of compelling copy for your CTA, and more.

For this, you may want to consider getting a ghost blogger to help you produce the content you need for your site or blog.

A ghost blogger is a writer willing to write on your behalf. He or she will provide the content from your plan you prepared without you lifting a finger.

You can find outsourced writers from this list of content writing sites and job board sites over at Socialnomics. Also, the Omnipapers.com blog for writers features a list of essay writing services that you can also use for building content for your site, especially if you are in the education niche.

With these resources in tow, should you hire ghost bloggers to write for you on your own site or blog? Below are possible reasons that you should consider when looking for the right writer for the job.

Develop online brand in your niche

Building content will be a problem if you are a non-writer. You can develop writing skills over time so you can produce articles on your own. But this could take months – if not years – to master, which could prove disadvantageous to you if you want to reap the benefits of your marketing plan now.

Through a constant stream of content from the ghost blogger you hired, you can build your online reputation as an influencer in your field and proceed with the progress of your site.

Has an impressive resume or portfolio

If you have posted the ghost blogging job for your business, expect to receive applications from different writers. To help you filter out which among the submissions you should highly consider, it all depends on the quality of work they produce.

Upon visiting their online portfolio to read their sample works, you should get a better idea on their writing style and see if this matches the tone of voice and communication skills that you want to build for your site or blog as well as your online profile.

Has a professional demeanor

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Writers are a volatile bunch. Since writing requires them to develop a creative process to become productive, each has a unique approach on how they write articles. However, what should differentiate good writers from the rest is how they conduct business with their clients.

Do they respond to your emails within 24 hours or are they available for chatting?

Can they deliver on time or do they inform you ahead of time why they can’t? If not, do they have a legitimate reason to excuse them from doing the assigned tasks?

There are many other factors to consider that will determine their professionalism, but how they present themselves to client should be deal-breaker, especially if they can’t deliver their end of the deal.

Provides guarantees

A ghost blogger understands that the satisfaction of their clients is of utmost importance. Therefore, the bloggers must be willing to do the job before receiving the total pay. Also, they should offer unlimited number of times that they will edit the written works according to your specifications after you review them.

Ensuring these from the ghost bloggers you will hire should help protect you from them submitting an unsatisfactory work because their pay is dependent on the quality of the work they will send.

As common practice, you need to deposit 50% of the total pay so that they have incentive to do the work for you.

Final thoughts: Hiring a ghost blogger can determine the success of your site or blog. By using the factors mentioned above to determine whether or not to hire this type of blogger for your website, you will be able to find the best one possible.

More on ghost blogger:

Ghost Bloggers Growing in Popularity?

The Outing of a Blogger: Social Transparency or Violation?

Grammarly Review: Write Your Way to More Polished Blog Posts

grammarly review

Last time, I shared three easy ways to improve your writing. They’re really simple: read, write without thinking of SEO, etc. and get feedback.

Today, I want to raise the oft-talked about topic of bloggers being good writers yet again. Practice makes perfect, and the more you write, the better you get at it.

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Make writing well a habit, and you’ll improve daily. [Read more…]

Why You SHOULDN’T Use WordPress as Your Blogging Platform

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In case you missed out previous post, the resurgence of minimalist blogging platforms is a reaction to the decentralization of content as the primary focus of a website or blog.

By using the platforms mentioned in that post, you will easily see their simplistic but sophisticated layout that favors content instead of the bells and whistles featured in other robust platforms.

Of course, when we say “robust platform,” we are referring to WordPress.

An argument can be made that the alternative blogging platforms are a backlash to the bulky CMS that WordPress has become. Originally started out as a publishing platform for writers, WordPress has exploded into popularity due to the flexibility and customization that it offers webmasters, not to mention the host of free plugins and themes you can download, to help boost their site performance.

While these advantages will sway any beginning blogger to build their site using WordPress, there are also a lot of reasons why it’s better to choose another platform to build your site on.

Just to be clear, I love WordPress as the platform to build site and blogs on due to the very same reasons mentioned above. Also, this post is not contrarian just for the sake of being one. There are indeed legitimate arguments as to why WordPress as a blogging platform may not be your cup of tea.

It is not a “blogging” platform

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If WordPress was the standard of blogging platform, then blogging as a writing activity is no longer about writing.

Blogging, in the strictest and purest sense, is the process writing and publishing content from your site. The main point of blogging is not to drive more subscribers to your email list, increase your social media followers, or shill for a product or service in the hopes of earning money from it.

Not that there’s anything bad about these things, but there’s a perfectly understandable reason for wanting to separate your professional life from your blogging endeavors. Besides, if you want to write for money, you can just find one from a writers job board for your financial fix.

In other words, blogging is all about communication and sharing of ideas to your audience.

That’s why WordPress is awesome because it does the reasons stated above using different plugins and applying certain marketing tactics to make it work.

Those are also the reasons why WordPress will no longer be a “blogging” platform.

If you want to blog for blogging’s sake, then you may want to try on another platform that puts the writing back in its rightful place online.

You may lose your online identity

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It could be difficult to stand out from the pack if you’re using WordPress as your platform.

As of writing, there are 74,652,825 sites (and counting) that run on WordPress. If you use this CMS, you will be one of the millions who will reap the benefits that come along with it.

However, this also means that you will be using the same tools that knowledgeable WordPress users will deploy on their site to achieve the feel and appearance they want.

While the chances are slim, there’s a possibility of a site that looks and feels exactly like yours.

As a blogger, you may want a platform that will let your personality and brand shine brighter. The sheer fact that over 74 million webmasters are using WordPress no longer makes you unique in the first place.

This is where the aforementioned minimalist blogging platforms come in – they allow you to make a more effective online presence through the content you produce, which is the emphasis of these sites. It is true that the design and layout offered in these platforms lend themselves to homogeneity. However, since the content remains the focus, there’s a tendency for the design to become moot at this point.

If you wish for a legitimate WordPress alternative, you can try out Joomla and Drupal, both of which are less popular CMSs capable of providing familiar features offered in WordPress, and then some. For more information on how to build your blog using either platform, check out this resource site.

Final thoughts: Blogging should never be complicated as long as you’re fully aware that the real reason to become a blogger is that you want to write and express your ideas to others. While WordPress as a blogging platform allows you to do this, it’s clear that it’s no longer the publishing tool that it once was. This is not meant to be as a bad thing, but if you want a simple and straightforward blogging platform, then you’re probably better off using other platforms out there.

More on WordPress alternatives:

How an Industry-Specific Writer Can Improve Your Company’s Blogging

5 Best Online Interviews About Blogging You Haven’t Read Yet

Call for Minimalism: How the New Wave of Blogging Platforms Gives More by Going Less

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WordPress has become synonymous with blogging.

Over the years, this blogging platform has provided people the opportunity to create their own little online space where they can write whatever’s on their minds. This activity has spread onto others like wildfire, as hundreds and thousands of users have registered for a WordPress account to do the same.

Seeing how effective blogging is, businesses tried their hands at it, producing blog posts catered to their target audience with the purpose of gaining leads and customers.

Along the way, however, WordPress just stopped becoming a blog. In fact, it started to become even more than just a blog, if not better. [Read more…]

How to Maximize Your Freelance Profits Using the Power of Emotion

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Editor’s note: This post was written by Seb Atkinson, a search marketer at Selesti, a multi-award winning creative digital agency. Seb has helped a range of clients grow their online presence, from start-ups and small businesses to large international corporations. Follow him on Twitter.

Setting prices for your freelance and writing services is a very important part of the sales process, and if done correctly can earn you great profits, or on the other hand leave you little to show for your work. If you’re freelance writing job boards but struggling to close deals at the right price for you and your client, then read on to discover how to improve profitability using the power of emotion. [Read more…]

What to Expect from Hiring Outsourced Content Writers

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If you are managing multiple websites and don’t consider yourself a very good writer, then you can’t expect to provide top-notch content in each of your sites. Instead of cramming these tasks into your already busy schedule, the best solution for this problem is to hire outsourced content writers. By having a dedicated writer for each site, you can focus all your efforts on developing your marketing strategy and leveraging your website analytics to improve the performance of your sites.

However, upon outsourcing writers whom you can find from premium content writers (Textbroker), brand storytellers (Skyword), or even from essay writing sites (Bid4papers) comes a new challenge: managing these writers to deliver high-quality work on time. You will experience problems in this regard, especially if this is your first time hiring writers for your websites.

But collaborating with outsourced content writers will never be an obstacle if you only know how to deal with them. It all starts with having the right mindset and set expectations to guide you with handling these writers. Below are tips and advice on the expectations you need to set with your website writers. [Read more…]

3 Easy Ways to Improve Writing Skills

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Are bloggers writers?

Are writers bloggers?

These questions have been raised for as long as I can remember, and it seems that the general consensus is that bloggers don’t have to be excellent writers, and writers aren’t necessarily good bloggers. However, their skills put together make the perfect combination.

That being said, it is our responsibility as bloggers to make an effort to improve writing skills. Not only does that make for more readable posts, but it also increases credibility. Even those who do not have perfect grammar can be rather critical of the work of others.

So how do you improve writing skills? Here are three easy ways to do that. [Read more…]

Explaining The Perfect Website Design to Non-Designers

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The skill of designing a website or blog is something that owners should learn or at least become much more aware of moving forward.

It is understandable that website owners and bloggers are more focused in building content, leaving the responsibility of web design to professionals. But being able to edit elements in your site design using HTML and CSS will give you a better understanding of the role design plays in web development  can impact your site’s performance.

More importantly, learning how to edit your web design will give you better control of your site’s performance, which will help you reach your online goals faster.

If you need a crash course of web design explained in layman’s terms, below is an excellent infographic by Template.net that discusses the different elements involved in the process of developing an appropriate design for your website or blog.

[Read more…]

Clear Skies Ahead – The Shift to Cloud Computing

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Editor’s note: This article was written by Christian Abbas, one of the team at Columbus UK, a provider of business telephone systems, mobiles, networking and IT solutions. He enjoys writing about technology, IT and content marketing.

Talk of the imminence of widespread cloud computing was ongoing for several years. As some services took their first steps in this direction, it became clear that the rise of cloud computing was inevitable. Accessing software in this manner provides a plethora of benefits over more dated methods, and the drawback are almost irrelevant.

Services have been making the transition to cloud computing across the board. In today’s fiercely competitive digital world, businesses must stay ahead of the game and a failure to move processes to the cloud will have inevitably negative consequences. [Read more…]