If you’re looking for a way to liven up your blog’s editorial calendar, few story formats beat the expert question-and-answer session. You’ll be able to bring your readers fresh perspectives, and you’ll have a good excuse to reach out to other thought leaders in your field, broadening your network.
But don’t think that the fact that someone else is in the spotlight means you get to take a break entirely. The difference between a ho-hum Q-and-A and one that really resonates with your readers is preparation and planning on your part.
Here are a few experience-tested tips from a journalist-turned-content marketer.
Find a great subject. Book authors, professors, business leaders at small and large businesses who are speaking at conferences, and even other bloggers can all be good Q-and-A subjects. Put yourself in the shoes of your typical reader: Who would they like to hear from? Be their advocate. Never assume someone isn’t going to respond to your request — social media has made connecting with once-remote leaders more accessible than ever before. (read more…)
By Jesse Stanchak on October 24th, 2011 | 1796812 comments on this postBeyond+Follow+Friday%3A+How+to+reach+out+and+show+a+little+gratitude+to+your+fans2011-10-24+12%3A05%3A11Jesse+Stanchakhttp%3A%2F%2Fsmartblogs.com%2Fsocialmedia%2F%3Fp%3D17968
The power of gratitude is well known in social media circles. It’s a way for big brands to show followers that they care on a one-to-one level; it allows smaller brands to build their core of loyalists that are necessary to any word-of-mouth marketing effort; it builds personal brands; it makes everyone involved feel good.
What’s less clear is how you’re supposed to actually go out and show people your appreciation. Some methods are well worn: Follow Friday is such an institution on Twitter it’s barely worth doing anymore.
Here are a few less common ways to show your fans that you care and take your social media bonds to another level. (read more…)
By Jesse Stanchak on October 21st, 2011 | 1794712 comments on this postHow+you%26%23039%3Bre+secretly+driving+away+your+followers+--+and+what+you+can+do+to+stop+it2011-10-21+11%3A22%3A51Jesse+Stanchakhttp%3A%2F%2Fsmartblogs.com%2Fsocialmedia%2F%3Fp%3D17947
What would your Twitter feed look like if you were fined $1 every time you said something irrelevant?
In his 2004 memoir, “The Know-It-All,” A.J. Jacobs decides to read the Encyclopedia Britannica — and quickly finds himself so brimming with information that he starts peppering all his conversations with little known factoids. Desperate for a respite from his prattling, his wife begins to fine him $1 every time he tells her something she doesn’t need to know. Not surprisingly, he learns to control himself a little better — at least around her.
Of course, no one’s actually going to fine you for an off-topic status update — but too many tangents can have a cost. (read more…)
By Jesse Stanchak on October 10th, 2011 | 177935 comments on this postShould+you+evaluate+your+blog+the+way+you+evaluate+your+employees%3F2011-10-10+11%3A40%3A13Jesse+Stanchakhttp%3A%2F%2Fsmartblogs.com%2Fsocialmedia%2F%3Fp%3D17793
If you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog or some other social media platform, chances are you’re constantly giving it flash evaluations. “How many retweets did I get today? How many views did that post get?” Maybe you compare today’s performance against yesterday’s or last week’s. Maybe you give the brand’s social media presence an informal appraisal — “lookin’ good” or “needs some work.” If you’re really diligent, maybe you send an e-mail off to other employees with your findings. And then you move on with your day, secure in the knowledge that you’re doing your part to monitor your social media progress.
But are those constant mini evaluations doing more harm than good? Are they prompting you to be reactionary instead of strategic? Are they making it harder to spot trends over time?
Ask yourself: If your boss evaluated your job performance the way you evaluate your company’s blog, would you be happy with that system? (read more…)
By Jesse Stanchak on September 26th, 2011 | 176372 comments on this postSocial+media+to+die+for%3A+Preparing+for+a+zombie+apocalypse2011-09-26+10%3A29%3A51Jesse+Stanchakhttp%3A%2F%2Fsmartblogs.com%2Fsocialmedia%2F%3Fp%3D17637
This post was written by Troy Janisch, with art from Mark Anderson. Both contributors have two decades of digital-marketing experience and lead social media activities at American Family Insurance, a Fortune 300 company. Janisch blogs at SocialMeteor.com, and Anderson shares his art at Doodlehaus.com.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently turned to the undead to make it more approachable, and more effective at one of its core missions.
When CDC staff from the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response asked Twitter users what types of emergencies they were prepared for, answers citing tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes were numerous. Some people also submitted humorous answers, asking the CDC about zombie preparedness. With this in mind, the team decided to increase awareness of its 2011 hurricane-preparedness campaign by adding some deadpan content to attract readership. The result? A blog post titled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.”
“We realized this wasn’t the typically health message a federal agency like CDC might put out, but we really wanted to grab people’s attention because disaster preparedness is an important and simple way to save lives and property,” said Maggie Silver, a health communication specialist for the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. “To make sure people realized we were being tongue in cheek, we continually referred to ‘real’ emergencies like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes throughout the course of our blog and social media outreach.” (read more…)