Why I Don’t Read Your Corporate Blog (And How You Can Fix That)

Dear Corporate Blogger,

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say just about every corporate blog, including yours,sucks. Let me tell you a story that proves it and explains why.

The Blogs You Read

How many blogs do you think people read on a regular basis? I regularly read 34 blogs. Yes, 34. And by read, I mean skim to find articles I might want to read. These blogs are on topics I’m interested in like productivity, marketing, copywriting, music, and video games. I actively subscribe to four blogs (via email subscription). I read every post those four people send me. That’s because those posts help me succeed. Oh, and I run two blogs. Yes, I’m a blogger.

Chances are, you read fewer blogs than me. Seeing that there are well over 150 million blogs, it is reasonable to conclude that the average person reads less than .00002% of all blogs out there.

What Does This Have To Do With My Corporate Blog?

I’m glad you asked. How many corporate blogs do I read? Zero. How many corporate blogs do you read (other than your own)? Zero or one (if we are being generous)?

Why Is This?

Let me speak for myself. And forgive my bluntness. It’s because I don’t care what your firm is doing.
You completed this great new project. I don’t care. You helped the community. Congratulations, I don’t care. You just announced a new service. I don’t care. You won this great award. I don’t care. You landed a new contract, you want to share your thoughts on an inspirational book, an organization you’re involved in is celebrating an anniversary, your firm ran a 5K, Martin Scorsese is doing a documentary on your firm…I could give a rat’s butt (i.e. I don’t care). Even when you write about someone who has had success using your service or product, I really don’t care to read it. I can see right through that.
And your writing, it is like reading a high school English paper. And let me tell you, even less people read those…for good reason. They are boring, just like your corporate blog.

Dropping Some Truth

I consider myself a pretty busy guy. I only have time for important things like doing my job well, caring for my family, making my life easier, watching reality TV, playing games, and keeping up with those crazy celebrities. I honestly don’t care about you or your firm. I only care about me and my interests. Whether they admit it or not, everybody else is just as horribly self-centered as I am. While this might seem like a challenge, it’s actually an opportunity for you.

How To Get Me To Read Your Corporate Blog

There is only one way you are going to get me to read your corporate blog.

 Give me valuable information that:

  1. Solves a problem I have
  2. Teaches me something I want to know
  3. Entertains me in the process

Your corporate blog only needs these traits, these three little things, and I will read it. If it just has one of these, sorry, I won’t read it. I need all three. Identify who your audience is and write posts that solve his/her problems, teaches them things they want to know, and entertains them in the process. Then, if we fit into that definition, we’ll read it. It’s that simple.

 Until then, you are wasting your time on that corporate blog because we won’t read it.

Yours Truly,

The Internet

Matt Handal is a Business Development and Marketing Manager, concern in proposal writing, sales, social media, copywriting , training, and PR. For more of Matt Handal’s rants, check out Help Everybody Everyday. LinkedIn is where this excerpt originally appeared.


Is Google Glass For You?

This week—for one day only—Google allowed anyone to buy a pair of its much-hyped smart spectacles, Glass, for the cost of a month’s rent in Brooklyn.

Google’s calling people who’ve bought Glass, “Explorers.” That’s deliberate. Google actually doesn’t know what Glass should be for, but it wants everyone to help figure that out.

It’s a great deal for Google. The company’s m.o. from the beginning has been to build technology and then let applications follow. That philosophy led to the massive success of AdWords (after Google had built really cool, but rather unprofitable search technology). That’s why Google embarks on so many investment-intense projects, things like self-driving cars and taking roadside pictures of every street in the world. Now with Glass, Google’s doing it again—building cool tech with unclear applications—plus asking the rest of us what to do with it. Plus charging for the device itself. Not a bad business model, if you ask me.

But even though Google wants everyone to figure Glass out, I don’t think Glass is going to be for everyone.

Currently, Glass has a PR problem. Geeky early users have given it a sort of “creep factor.” But that will go away as the device disappears into its surroundings, starting with glasses, and then potentially—if recent patent revelations are an indication—contact lenses.

(read more about this Google patent on PatentBolt)

The above chart appears to be a bit of a conceptual mashup between Glass and a project Google announced in January this year. It’s a “smart” contact lens that would embed a glucose sensor in between two layers of contact lens material and allow diabetics to auto-beam blood sugar reports and warnings to their smartphones. It’s still in the works, but speculation has run amok about what could be next with smart lenses. First, cameras. Then? Content displaying over our eyes?

Technology is disappearing. As our chips get smaller and processors more powerful and less wired, gadgets and computers start to blend into our surroundings, or our other devices. (Calculators, for instance, used to be huge, and now they are software on any tiny device. Sophisticated computers are now being embedded into thermostats, and tracking sensors into plain old door locks that open with your phone. I once heard Ray Kurzweilgive a speech about how computers would one day be the size of red blood cells.)

So it’s conceivable that we’ll develop computers that could fit into our eyes. We’re a ways off from anything sophisticated. But the more important question at hand—the one that Google is asking people to help them figure out—is why would we want to?

Google undoubtedly wants Glass to break free of nerd-tech circles. That’s why we keep hearing about use cases like “artists” and “explorers” and “the disabled.” But at $1,500 a pop, I doubt that relatively many artists will buy in. It certainly won’t be a democratizing technology for creators in the way that cameraphones and Instagram have turned us all into photographers. And the use cases I’ve heard about blind people putting Google lensed cameras in their eyes to sense their surroundings are pretty bogus, too. There’s very little upside and a lot of downside and injury potential to having blind people stick microchips in their eyes when they could wear those same sensors in glasses or other things. (Now perhaps if we can get the technology to the point where it’s embedded surgically… that might be interesting…)

LinkedIn editor and Wired alum John Abell likens Glass to Segway: It was supposed to be the “people’s car 2.0.” That didn’t happen. But today Segway is a staple of mall cops everywhere. So it found its use case; it just wasn’t ubiquitous like the Volkswagon. I think Glass will be the same way. It’s not going to be the next cell phone. But doctors and scientists may really take to it.

Indeed, the applications that make sense for Google Glass seem to be primarily professions or lifestyles where enhanced vision is already needed:

  • Scientists, doctors, anyone who works under a microscope or magnifier
  • Education (Augmented reality enhanced learning? Maybe. But why glasses or contact lenses when we have huge screens and tablets?)
  • Explorers, adrenaline junkies (Perhaps Glass becomes the new Go Pro for people who want continuous video recording without the equipment.)
  • Tourists, navigators (Overlaying navigation or Wikipedia-style facts over the real world is a no-brainer.)
  • Childrens toys and games (Imaginary friends to play with, etc? Sure. Though Oculus Rift seems a better bet for the future of high-end gaming.)
  • Disabled assistance (I predict primarily for sensor detection in the body, which doesn’t have to be shown in a heads-up display, or certainly not a contact lens.)

You’ll note that looking at advertising is not on the list. Advertisers certainly will have a lot to get excited about with a new medium like in-vision display. But if there’s one thing technology has made we consumers good at, it’s avoiding interruptive advertising. (And demanding less of it.) As soon as ads start popping up in our Google Glass, Google Glasses are going to start ending up in the trash.

I look at technology like this through the lens of what we’re doing at my company, Contently, which is trying to create a better media world. Are there ways that layering content on top of our everyday vision can actually help make the world better? A lot of programmers bought Glass yesterday because they’re betting there are.

The real question is, when the hype subsides, will regular people want all the things those programmers build, or is Glass just the next Segway?

Written by Shane Snow. Shane is Chief Creative Officer of Contently. He writes about media and technology for Wired, Fast Company, Ad Age, and more, and tweets at @shanesnow. Visit LinkedIn today where this story is originally appeared

4 Common Mistakes PR Pros Make on LinkedIn

You probably used LinkedIn at least once today to do some research (as opposed to spying) on a client or potential client, colleague within your own company, potential hire or potential new employer, or a journalist who covers your industry. So you use LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean you really know how to use it.

If you ask Lori Russo, managing director, Mid-Atlantic, for Stanton Communications, which of the leading social networks is least understood by PR pros, she’ll give you her answer before you even finish asking the question.

“Public relations professionals have done a masterful job over the past several years finding innovative ways to use popular social media platforms including Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook to drive client programs and tell their own brand stories,” says Russo, who will be co-leading the session “What You Don’t Know—But Should—About LinkedIn, Google+ & Reddit” at PR News’ Social Media Summit in New York on June 3. “But LinkedIn remains underutilized, even though it’s the one platform specifically built for a business audience.”

For communications professionals responsible for growing their business and positioning their clients for growth, LinkedIn is potentially the most valuable tool in the digital arsenal. Not only does it connect organizations and individuals with peers and potential partners, it offers new opportunities to build relationships with journalists who use the site to research companies and identify sources.

Russo sees four common mistakes that PR pros habitually make on LinkedIn. How many of these are you guilty of?

1. Incomplete Profiles. LinkedIn offers an opportunity to share with the world a multimedia rich version of your professional life and experience. The platform enables you to be extensive and thorough about your experience, your capabilities and your point of view on industry issues and offers options for adding links and uploading files, including PowerPoint presentations through LinkedIn’s SlideShare integration. These files can include everything from sample campaigns to powerful media placements. Adding these enhancements and incorporating relevant keywords will make your profile more “findable” for prospects, potential employers and journalists seeking a specific kind of expertise. For agency pros, it is a good idea to offer to help clients who are subject matter experts or spokespersons build out their profiles as well.

2. Weak Contacts. LinkedIn provides a great avenue to solidify existing business relationships and build new ones. Take a moment to connect with your colleagues, your client contacts and prospects you know well. When it comes to reporters, those with whom you have an established relationship will be more than happy to connect on LinkedIn. Consider proactively inviting them to connect and use the opportunity to ask for introductions to their colleagues you would like to know. If you are using LinkedIn to connect with anyone you have not yet worked with but would like to know, be sure to include a personal note explaining why you, and possibly your clients, are relevant.

3. Inconsistent Updates. It’s funny how PR pros can find the time—several times an hour or a day—to share irrelevant posts on Twitter and Facebook, yet their LinkedIn updates are few and far between. LinkedIn users who share updates at least once a week are 10 times more likely to be approached for new opportunities. These may include new clients, partners, employers, recruits or reporters looking for sources. By keeping your feed current with company and client news, articles in which you are quoted as a subject matter expert, corporate blog posts or your perspective on industry issues, you will maintain a position that is front and center on the LinkedIn news feeds of your contacts and remind reporters that you are a potential resource.

4. Outdated Company Pages. LinkedIn aims to be the primary engine for business-related searches. More and more business leaders and journalists are using the platform to find information about individuals and organizations. To ensure the information they find is fresh, accurate and relevant, consider LinkedIn a key piece of your company’s (or clients’ companies) content marketing plan. Offer to work with the company page manager, provide content for updates, develop creative for the header image and create Showcase Pages for prominent products and services. By providing a wealth of information in one place, you are building your organization’s newsroom on a site reporters and others are already using for research.

Written by Steve Goldstein. Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI. Visit PRNews where this excerpt is originally appeared.

Want to learn more about giving your a PR career a boost with LinkedIn? Register now for PR News’ June 3 Social Media Summit in New York.

Follow Lori Russo: @lorirusso

New Research Shows Which Social Networks Ideal for Marketers

Which platforms are most relevant to social media marketing right now? Marketers need to know where (and how) they should focus their efforts for maximum ROI.

This article gives you four major research findings from reports tracking trends in social media marketing and the content that works best on each.

#1: People Spend More Time on Visual Networks

It’s impossible to miss the powerful effect of visual content on the social web. It can significantly enhance a brand’s marketing objectives by generating more customer interest and prompting prospects to take desired actions.

As an example of the power of pictures, consider that Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram each gained over 10 million visitors in 2012, thanks to eye-catching content. Numbers from Statista numbers shared on Mediabistro show that users spend more time on Pinterest (1:17 minutes) or Tumblr (1:38 minutes) than on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google+ combined.

social network use stats from comscore

Visual social networks get more time from users than non-visual networks.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate visual content into your own social media strategy, one of the key things you can do is include one or more high-quality images in all of your blog posts. (Don’t forget to add an ALT attribute in the image properties to help your SEO!)

You can also leverage real-time photo sharing. Customers and followers are used to seeing staged photos that highlight your products and the best parts of your company. Sharing impromptu pictures can be equally compelling when shared in real time.

When you do post product or brand pictures on networks like Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, allow others to use your images in exchange for a link back to your site.

Don’t forget video! YouTube is the second-largest search engine (after Google, which coincidentally owns YouTube). Videos uploaded to YouTube do very well in searchand boost your site’s ranking. Interviews, Q&As, product demos or tips are popular with a wide audience beyond your current followers.

heygirl meme

Even if you don’t sell tangible products, your brand can still leverage visual content by using memes.

Finally, don’t give up on memes, which are especially popular on Tumblr. For the best success with memes, make sure they’re witty and match your brand and audience.

NPR did this particularly well by modifying the popular Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme on their Tumblr page.

#2: Google+ Is Best for SEO

Google+ is finding success with social marketers more as an SEO option than a marketing tactic. While it’s doing better than Pinterest and Tumblr, only 14% of marketers are giving high priority to Google+ in 2014. 23% of those surveyed won’t consider the platform at all.

You should still have a presence on Google+, even if you’re only using it for SEO.

socialbakers social network user preference table

Google+ is widely seen as an SEO tool, rather than a compelling social network.

As you cultivate your presence on Google+, the first thing you should do is optimize your Google author profile with a great image. With an eye-catching photo, it won’t matter if you rank third or fourth on the search engine results page. Your image is what gets people’s attention and lends to your authority.

When you post an article on Google+choose your first sentence carefully and use keywords or phrases. That sentence is part of the title tag and can affect your search ranking. As a bonus, one of the great things about Google+ is that you canedit your title and posts anytime. If you find your post isn’t getting the traction you want, try a new title and lead sentence. That’s a lot of control right there!

As always, continue to publish great content on your blog and Google+. While you’re at it, go ahead and +1 your own content. Why not? Google already knows you’re the author anyway. At the very least, it encourages others to +1 your post as well!

#3: Facebook’s Updated News Feed Affects Page Posts

In January 2014, Facebook updated their news feed algorithm to deliver more relevant content to users. Status updates from pages are no longer treated the same as text updates from users’ friends, because most users interacted with friends, not pages.

What does this mean for you as a marketer? You have to mix it up. Since users may not see or engage with your page updates often, make your posts as interesting as you can. Include photos, videos, links (don’t forget to include a preview image), questions, events and offers.

bored office worker istock photo 5984364

Use interesting and fun updates to encourage your fans to engage with you. Image source: iStockPhoto.com.

In all cases, use the story type that best fits with the message you want to tell.

One more thing: If you use Facebook’s Promote feature and your post has an image, that image can’t have more than 20% text.

#4: B2B Marketers Are Most Successful on LinkedIn

Sixty-two percent of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for them, with Twitter and SlideShare close behind.

comscore and marketing profs social network confidence gap statistics

LinkedIn is the most popular social network for B2B.

How can you take advantage of the most effective social media network? Take advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform (previously reserved for a few editorially selected influencers like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Joe Pulizzi) to all 277 million LinkedIn members. This could be a game-changer.

If you decide to publish on LinkedInknow that posts with the same basic information found on 50 other blogs won’t be successful. LinkedIn users look for well-written personalized insights, professional expertise and interesting industry opinions.

Surveys are helpful to gauge trends in social media; however, it’s even more important to track your own successes and build on them. You can use both options by keeping trends in mind and using them as guides as your marketing strategy and tactics evolve.

What do you think? Are the survey results above consistent with what you’ve seen in your own social media marketing? Which platforms are working best for you? Please share your successes and experiences in the comment box below.

About the author 

Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She helps business owners craft content that sells. Her blog provides healthcare industry content marketing advice. The first version of this story originally appeared on socialmediaexaminer.com