Tag Archive for content

Register for #CMGRClass Spring 2014!

The spring semester at Syracuse University starts on January 13th and there are still a few spots left in #CMGRClass. This online course is open to all graduate students and select undergraduates who have a significant interest in community building, online communications, online content, and social media. For undergrads, if you’ve taken #RotoloClass (IST 486) or the Newhouse Social Media Course you’re eligible to take #CMGRClass.  If you haven’t taken either of those courses, but have experience in an internship or student activity you may still join as an undergraduate.

#CMGRClassWhy Take #CMGRclass?

In this online class, you’ll use social media tools first hand and meet a number of professionals who are working on community management and/or social media for some of the best companies out there. This course is broken up into three parts that are designed to help you understand various aspects of community management.
1)  Content Management – Blogging is an art and different than your typical academic writing.   You’ll write blog posts about the topics in this course and learn some of the best content strategies.
2)  Social media – The tools are always changing, but there’s things you’ll walk out understanding such as important metrics and best practices.
3)  Community Building – how do you start a community from scratch?  How can your users help you to generate content? Where do you find your key influencers?

What’s new and exciting about this course?

This isn’t your typical online course. The class meets every other Tuesday at 7pm in a Google+ Hangout and once per month we’ll have guest speakers join us and tell us how they got into their roles and what their jobs are like.  Though if you can’t make the time due to work or other classes, the class is recorded for you to watch at your convenience. Students have the ability to network throughout the semester and they find out about excellent opportunities like internships and careers.

Last semester we had guests from Google Local, Cycle to Survive, MRY, JetBlue, Scoop.it, LiveFyre, Klout, and Moz, and students met community managers from a variety of different industries.

We also don’t use blackboard all too much! #CMGRClass primarily takes place in a Google+ Community group where it’s easier to interact and post fun content.

If you’re curious about this semester’s syllabus you can take a look on this site.  If you want to register, sign up for IST 600 by January 13th (or the add/drop deadline by January 21)!  And of course you can always contact the professors, Jenn Pedde (@JPedde / jmpedde@syr.edu) & Kelly Lux (@Kellylux / kalux@syr.edu) with any questions.

Best Scheduling Practices For Community Managers

Running a community is no easy task, especially when several social media networks are involved. Community management is demanding, and it’s important to meet the needs of community members while also posting relevant content for members to discuss. Because of the various activities that a community manager must keep track of, it’s important to know how to effectively use a calendar.

Author Richard Millington of Buzzing Communities offers the following tips:

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Calendars can get messy! Make sure to use a system that works best for your community

1. Don’t forget about offline content! Although lots of information is online, don’t forget to stay in touch with what’s happening around you physically.  Millington points out that “you can look at both online and offline content produced within the sector to identify…popular categories.”

2. Plan out your weeks – Millington discusses how different categories of news should be posted daily while certain categories of posts can be reused every week. This variation is okay, as long as it is planned out accordingly. Using a calendar to figure out which content should be posted on certain days of the week is helpful when determining to push content.

3. Don’t forget about subcategories – It’s not enough to put that you’re going to talk about something as generic as “news” on a particular day. Millington emphasizes the importance of subcategories, and to be specific when defining posted content. Eliminating ambiguity helps define clearer goals for you and your team.

Although Millington’s tips are helpful, he fails to mention different methods of keeping track of all these tasks. Some helpful tools to keep you in check with all of these tools include:

1. Google Calendar – If you’re an avid fan of Google, have a Gmail account, or like color coded calendars, Google Calendar is a great way to keep track of different schedules. Your calendar can also sync up with your phone which allows you to view and modify your schedule while on the go.

2. Physical Wall Calendar – Lots of companies like to see things written on walls rather than on small computer screens. If you have a lot of space in your office, utilizing the space on a whiteboard can allow you to write all over your schedule, which is something you can’t necessarily do in a digital environment. If you have a wall that you want converted into a large whiteboard space, that can be easier to create than you think!

3. Wiggio – Wiggio is an online calendar that allows you to create events that can also sync with your other calendars. With SMS alerts that keep you on track, you won’t have to worry about what you need to do at each point throughout the day. The calendars can also be viewed by certain groups, which can be incredibly helpful for when you are working with a large team.

Regardless of how you schedule your calendars or the medium in which you choose to update it, it is important to stay organized and stay up to date with the content that needs to be managed within a community. Using the tools and techniques above, you can be well on your way to effectively managing a community!

How do you keep track of scheduling within your community? Do you have other tips or advice? Let us know in the comments below! 

Learning from Community Manager Pros

Last week’s Online Content Panel Google+ Hangout was probably my favorite class session to date. Having professionals from the community manager community dialogue with our class provided for unique insight that I have not gotten from anywhere else. The two speakers during this hangout were Ally Greer (@allygreer), the community manager at Scoop.it, and Sean Keely (@NunesMagician), the founder of the popular Syracuse sports blog, “Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.”

Countdowns are a great way to keep your audience curious and engaged.

Countdowns are a great way to keep your audience curious and engaged.

Although she hardly touched on it, I loved that Ally got her start with Scoop.it as an intern during her study abroad semester in Paris, France. I also studied abroad in Paris, which has an underrated tech and social scene. Not only does this excite me because of my own dreams to one day move back to Paris, but proves how global content management companies are and how community management work can be done anywhere in the world. Aside from her international experience, what I found most helpful from Ally was her discussion of “learning on the job.” There is only so much you can learn from a classroom. No matter how much preparation is involved, so much of being a community manager is being able to respond to scenarios in the moment and deal with problems as they come. Ally is a true example of this mentality, and it is things like #CMGRClass that provide tools that would be helpful in such scenarios.

Sean Keely's Twitter feed, where he is highly engaged with his audience and often uses as a source for new content.

Sean Keely’s Twitter feed, where he is highly engaged with his audience and often uses as a source for new content.

I found Sean’s story to be rather unique. Unlike Ally, he first (unknowingly) created a following, just by writing what he loved. It was only after the blog’s reach grew that he saw there was community to be managed. I find this “reverse” way of getting involved with community management to be very unique and thus, speaks to the niche nature of Sean’s audience. Sean capitalizes on this uniqueness by generating content through his fans — incorporating their content as guest posts, picking up on trending topics through comments and social media, etc. Sean’s method shows how community management does not have to be intimidating or overwhelming. For smaller brands, community management is rather simple and does not even require a ton of tools or resources (which may be the case for larger, more corporate brands).

Thanks Ally and Sean for chatting with us!

 

 

Content may be King, but Curation is Golden

Once you have a well-established social community, it is difficult to maintain it. A community manager then needs to curate compelling content — the best quality & the most relevant —  in order to keep their audience engaged. The beauty of curated content is that it can serve as the perfect compliment to your self-generated content, allowing for new content without the extra cost. Think about it — millions of users are posting on social networks every minute, giving a community manager endless opportunities to find unique content. Don’t forget to link back to the original source — it is common courtesy!

Here’s a great example from Life is Good:

lifeisgood

 

Like I mentioned, there are millions of users are posting on social networks every minute.

Insert panic mode here.

It is nearly impossible to effectively curate content without using tools to help you manage the overflow of user-generated content. Here are Teresa Dankowski’s (Content Marketing Manager at Cision) “5 Tools to Help With Content Curation:”

  • Storify — Finds the most relevant content on a variety of platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, & Instagram; search function for content discovery
  • Triberr – Communities of bloggers & influencers organized into niche categories
  • NewsCred – Newsroom service that provides access to licensed articles, images & video; curation technology powered by an editorial team
  • Social Monitoring tools – Scour social networks for keywords and mentions; HootSuite & Radian6 are two popular options

Personally, I have also worked with RebelMouse and the social monitoring tool Spredfast. RebelMouse is very similar to Storify, but RebelMouse offers more than just curation and serves as its own content management system. Muck Rack* is also a wonderful way to find unique content, as its Pro search features only pull mentions from verified journalists and bloggers on Twitter.

Example of a media search for “Syracuse University” on Muck Rack Pro:

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 8.29.42 PM

Successful content curation, then, is about combining these two philosophies: finding unique content and using tools to find and post such content. Mashable’s “5 Tips for Great Content Curation” sum it up best:

  1. Be Part of the Content Ecosystem — Be both a content maker and a content curator.
  2. Follow a Schedule — People take comfort in knowing when to expect something from you.
  3. Embrace Multiple Platforms — Your audience lives on a variety of platforms, so you should too.
  4. Engage and Participate — Show your audience there is an actual human being behind the platform, give your networks a voice.
  5. Share. Don’t Steal. — As I mentioned earlier, attribution is common courtesy! No one likes a thief.

*Disclaimer: I am a former Muck Rack employee.

 

Highlights from an Online Content Panel

Image Courtesy of Richard Stephenson.

Last week our #CMGRclass had a chance to remotely sit down and chat with Ally Greer and Sean Keeley, Community Managers from Scoop.it and Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. The last four weeks of content had been building to this moment: we were going to be able to see everything we had been reading and writing on transfer into the “real world.”

“I have a unique story on how I got into Community Management…”

I’m always curious about how people get their jobs. I love hearing people’s stories and I love seeing their faces light up when they talk about how connecting with one person led them to discover “X” which is why they’re at “Y” and how they’re hoping to accomplish “Z.” What I liked the most about Ally Greer’s story is how she started it, “I have a unique story.” Greer explained that while she was studying abroad in Paris she did an internship at Scoop.it where she assisted them by giving them her “American viewpoint.” After graduating college she was asked to join their team in San Francisco and has been working for them for the last year and a half. Greer says that she spends her days looking through blog posts, investigating how other Community Managers operate and “learning through observing.”

“I was looking for a reason to write every day…”

Like with Greer’s story, I was curious to learn more about what drove Keeley. Why did he start a blog, why is it about sports – is there a reason it’s about sports? Keeley explained that he wasn’t “particularly into sports writing” but decided to start a blog that would allow him to write whatever he wanted to write about. And that is how Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician was created. He jokes that “as a name it doesn’t make sense” but that the blog started out as a hobby in 2005 and now in 2013, almost 2014, he says that it’s pretty much the main thing he works on every day. He explained that the site is not how he supports himself financially but that everything that has come after the site is what has allowed him to pay the bills.

It was really interesting to see how two Community Managers approach the same job differently. Greer was thrust into it not really sure of what to do or how to go about running things and now she helps maintain their social media and is in charge of the ambassadors. Keeley originally wanted something to do that would allow him to write every day and didn’t think too much about what others wanted to read – he focused on what interested him. Hearing that reminded me of an earlier reading in the semester where we learned that one of the ways to have a successful blog or single posting is to make sure you are interested in what you are talking about.

Listening to their stories made me consider where I would like to go with the work I’m doing as Production Coordinator for SU Arts Engage. Part of my job is maintaining a presence on social media, Twitter and Facebook more than anything else, and we’re always looking to grow our audience. Every event we do we have a hashtag that we monitor and we ask for feedback and a like on our Facebook page if they liked what they saw. At the same time as wanting our audience to grow, I’m reminded of something Greer said, “just because you have 100,000 users doesn’t necessarily mean you have 100,000 users.” Find the core group of interested members of your organization and hold on to them tightly – because they are going to be the ones to get others interested.

SEO: The Good and the Bad

Anyone remember a Buzzfeed writer’s essay-length potshot at The Oatmeal‘s Matthew Inman?

I do. As an avid reader of The Oatmeal, I read both the original essay and Inman’s rebuttal, but the thing that stood out to me from both articles was Inman’s past job as an SEO marketer.

SEO the good and the bad

According to Inman, he: “did SEO for a few months in my early 20s, sucked at it, and got banned by Google … I hated SEO when I did it, and I hate it now.”

That was my first introduction to SEO, and it was enough for me. I decided that SEO was bad and stupid, and I moved on.

Fast forward to this past week’s readings, and I learn that good SEO is what makes the web go ’round, especially for strong online communities. So what is this dark side of SEO that I hated so much?

Shady SEO is commonly known as black hat SEO. Black hat refers to a hacker who uses the Internet for selfish or harmful reasons, so someone who practices black hat SEO takes good SEO principles and exploits them for personal gain.

So what are some common black hat SEO techniques?

CLOAKING

If your website serves different set of content to search engines and users, you’re practicing cloaking. Cloaking usually involved baiting search engines with popular search terms; but when a user comes to your website, they find completely different content. Cloaking was one of the first abusive SEO practices to get banned by Google.

DUPLICATE CONTENT

If you are creating multiple webpages with the same content, you’re practicing duplicate content. The concept behind duplicate content is simple: the more pages you own with that content, the more likely users looking for that content will come to your pages than your competitors. In the long run, however, this makes your website less effective and confuses users.

LINK BUYING

If you are paying irrelevant websites to link back to your site to increase your perceived usefulness by search engines, you are link buying. SEO relies on the fact that the most websites that link to you, the more authoritative you are for that content. Link buying is like paying for

KEYWORD STUFFING

If you have pages of content that are simply popular keywords that aren’t relevant to your content, you are keyword stuffing. Another simple tactic that is pretty obvious upon discovery, and does more harm than good.

Search Engine Watch, E3ngage, and Forbes can give you more info on these tactics.

It seems that the key to avoiding bad SEO is that when creating your content, think of your users first. SEO does have a place in the success of a website, but only as a supplement to quality content to your community.

Have you heard of or personally encountered bad SEO before? Or did you have an opinion about SEO that changed after our class readings?

Get off my Internet: Dealing with Backlash on Blogs

This past week, the #CMGRclass community was flooded with posts on how to handle online brands in disaster situations. Chobani, Kenneth Cole, and Miley Cyrus all served as case studies on how meltdowns are handled online.

But what if that meltdown happens in your space – or more specifically, on your blog?

Dealing with negative feedback is important, and it’s even more important on a blog. Your response to the feedback will be immortalized as long as your blog lives. So how do you manage this? Here are 5 things that you can do to deal with negative comments on blogs.

  • bloggingNegativity is inevitable. So make sure you’re ready with a plan on how to respond to negative comments of all kinds – whether it’s constructive or not.

 

  • conversePay attention. The end of the blog isn’t the blog – it’s just a means to a conversation. Pay attention to those that comment – be on the lookout for those who want to open up that conversation further.

 

  • leaderLead by example. How you respond to criticism will dictate how your readers respond to criticism on your blog, and may also impact how loyal followers will handle criticism “for” you. Do your best to keep dialogue open, but …

 

  • trollsKnow how to spot a troublemaker. Some people just like to stir the pot – or “troll.” Trolls will try to make you miserable and may even attack you personally, so remember the internet mantra and “don’t feed the trolls.”

 

  • networkMake sure you’re not breaking blogging etiquette. Attribute inspiration from other bloggers (which can help build your network), don’t steal images, and in general, be nice to other bloggers. Participate in other comment sections – you never know who might find your blog through theirs.

 

What else would you add to help deal with criticism on blogs?

Online Community History

Today online communities as we know it has became a huge way of communicating with others. In the 1970s when the Internet was created by ARPAnet E-Mail was created. Although, basic E-Mail allowed for user interaction as one could send and recieve messages. “Message Boards” were soon built into email or websites allowing for others to create a string of content that others can respond to. Message boards are quite common even today allowing for a user to interact with others on one topic. Interactions are in the form of message strings that other users are also able to see.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) developed in 1988 by Jarkko Okarinen was one of the early Instant Messengers. Popular in the 90’s Instant Messaging started to occur. Both users had to be online; and could send each other short messages instantly. This later emerged into AOL Instant Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger.

Today online communities are built off of the innovations that we had in the past. Users that are participating in communities have increased steadily in recent years. Back in a 2001 Pew Internet & American Life Project report, 84% of all Internet users indicated that they contacted an online community and 79% identified at least one group with which they maintained regular online contact. Due to user increases many communities have sprung up in recent years that may relate to user interest, health, shopping and even travel.

Sites like TripAdvisor are an example of an online community where users are able to post photos, comments, and links about a particular place. People who do post about their experiences get responses from a manager or other appointed user. There are also interest communities such as WebMD a community relating to health and wellness. Users are able to get health advice, and learn about news and other resources available to them.

Facebook and Twitter today are two types of platforms that allow users to customize a profile and communicate with others. Facebook has incorporated many great features that were popular in the past into its site. Users can instant message; email and make their Facebook unique with a profile picture (avatar).Twitter allows for an avatar and almost encompasses a forum feature but instead lets users write a post on a news feed of 120 characters.

Online communities today would be drastically different if it were not for many of the previous developments on the web with features such as email, forums, and instant messaging.

The Most Important Tip for Blogging

Is it just me or does it seem like everyone is a blogger now a days? I’ve never been a blogger, but I am beginning to realize the importance of becoming one. I used to only think blogs were for sports, entertainment news, and really any other opinionated subject. Much to my surprise, I have found that they are a crucial element to not only a community manager, but they also build a brand. However, a blog is not going to be of much importance, nor is it going to get many views, if these following tips are not used.

The Top Ten

Darren Rowse’s article How to Craft a Blog Post- 10 Crucial Points to Pause is listed below:

  • Choose a topic that matters to readers

    Photo courtesy of Beth Kanter via Flikr Creative Commons

    Photo courtesy of Beth Kanter via Flikr Creative Commons

  • Craft the title so that it will stick out to readers
  • Choose a good opening line to make a good impression
  • Make sure your post has a point and ‘matters’
  • Drive readers to do something, where they can apply what you say to real life
  • Make sure you have added all of the depth you possibly could
  • Polish posts- even the smallest mistake cost you
  • Publish your post at the right time
  • Post promotion- don’t just rely on the publish button to get views, give a few ‘nudges’ to increase exposure
  • Converse with readers and other bloggers once your post is published

Having a polished post with little to no errors or grammar mistakes would be the most important. For example, the picture below says “no unortherised parking” and is something that should have never been printed. I wouldn’t take that sign seriously, and the same goes for a poorly written blog post.

Another tip I feel is very important is that the post has a point. If we write about something that has no point, a viewer may not be apt to read another one of your blog posts. If it has a catchy title, it will get people to read it, but if the post doesn’t ‘matter,’ as Darren Rowse states, “it’ll never get traction.”

Lastly, crafting the title of the blog that will catch the attention of readers is also important. It is the most crucial part of getting people to actually start reading your post. If it’s easily searchable via Google or easily tweetable, it can help in the amount of traffic the post gets.

Maybe before the committee spends money on a sign, they could check their spelling of "unauthorized" - Image courtesy of Zoay via Flikr Creative Commons

Maybe before the committee spends money on a sign, they could check their spelling of “unauthorized” – Image courtesy of Zoay via Flikr Creative Commons

Ask yourself, “Am I thinking about these tips when I construct my blog post? Did I spend enough time thinking about the title?” Questions like this can make you stop and pause momentarily, or even hours to try to craft the best post possible.

What tip do you find most important? Are there any on the list that you do not think should be there? Why or why not?

 

 

 

 

Blogging 101

This weeks reading had to do with how to write an effective blog post; and how to be a great community manager. The reading had a list of ten things that a Community Manager needs to follow to write a successful blog post and become a good community manager. This week I am moderator for Google+ Community and the #CMGRClass Twitter; and discussion has been developed off of these 10 items. Below I will talk about some discussion of some points that students raised:

Quality Control

The topic of quality control was talked about the most where a Community Manager should make sure there are no errors in information, or spelling as it makes the post look less professional. This is not only a blogging skill but a life skill that you will run into in the corporate sector.

Making Your Posts Matter

As a Community Manager you need to be sure you are able to get your point across to your readers. If your post has weak ideas without information to back up your points your viewers will possibly think that reading your blog is a true waste of time. A post with no point or purpose makes you look less credible and steers your audience away from you. Make sure your post is on point and does not fade away from the main topic. This does usually happen when a blogger is discussing many points and posts mainly about a key point instead of the main topic itself. 

Timing is Everything 

You want to make sure you have your post submitted for your viewers to read in a timely fashion as news becomes old quickly. With social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook events go viral quickly so blogging in a timely fashion is key to making sure you are able to “break” the news to your readers. A post about Apple’s new iPhone release is key to get out to viewers on the release day, and not a week or two later.

How you blog as a Community Manager will make you or break you. As a Community Manager you need to know the basics of Blogging 101 to be a success. Getting your audience to follow and trust you will make you stand out as a successful Community Manager. The points above are the most crucial ones to making your posts successful; and if they are not followed you most likely will not be taken seriously.