COM0015 Blog #1- What tools are right for you?

With this program I have had the ability to test many different listening and monitoring tools and have found what works for me at this time. With the constant evolution of technology this may change down the road but at this time I think something very simple and to the point has worked for me.

During the Monitoring and Measurement course I found that two things need to be thought of when using a measuring/monitoring tool and to see if it works for you. It is not just the actual tool itself, but it is also the way you are using it. For anyone using a new monitoring/measurement tool I would say that trial and error should be used before giving up on the tool all together. All of them are different and can be useful but it does depend on the way you are choosing to use them as well.

Two of my favourite tools would be Google Alerts and Social Mention. These are two tools that I had decided to use for a previous course and that fit the best with the organization I was monitoring and with my skills and ability. These were chosen as well because they are free to use.

Photo of Woman Sitting on Chair While Using Laptop
Image Source: Cottonbro from Pexels

 After trying other alternatives, I decided to stay with Google Alerts as it was a tool that was easy to learn and easy to change if needed. When I first started using Google Alerts, I had an issue where I though more keywords the better and then I found myself having information sent to me that was not relevant or important. After realizing this it was very simple to eliminate the keywords that were not providing needed information regarding the organizations. I was also monitoring an organization that put out many products a week, therefore I was always needing to change keywords. That was very easy to do on Google Alerts. When changing key words almost daily it was important for me to do it with ease.

An alternative to Google Alerts that I did attempt to use was Sprout Social and while I do want to use it in the future, I found the learning curve was too much for me at the time. I spent hours trying to get the program set up the way I wanted and kept coming across obstacles. I think ease of a program is very important for people who may be just starting to use a monitoring/measurement tool and this one was not a match for me.

Person Using Smartphone
Image Source: Adrienn from Pexels

I enjoy using Social Mention as it provides me with real time mentions to whatever keyword I type into the search bar. Google Alerts is great to provide a round up of what is being said but it is important to see what people are saying in real time as well. I would use this while monitoring when the brand would release sneak peaks of a new product or collection. To see what people were saying right away.

I have done research on a tool called Mention as well. This tool seems easy to use and goes in depth a little more than Social Mention would. I do plan on trying this tool in the future however, to get the most out of it there is a cost which I am not looking to do currently. From what I have read this tool is a step up from Social Mention. I wish they would provide more alerts and mentions to their free version so I could get a better feel of the program before purchasing a monthly subscription.

While all tools can be helpful in the monitoring/measurement process I think that it depends on the person, organization, and the result on what is best to be used. This can change over time as new tools are being introduced to the market.

What tools have you found useful when monitoring? Were there tools that you found that you plan to revisit at a later time?

COM0014- Blog #7: Personal Reflection

While I have been enjoying the entire Social Media and Digital Communication program, this course allowed me to learn more about myself as a writer and communicator.

Storytelling is very important for any size organization because it allowed an opportunity for the consumer or reader to relate to that story. Even if someone does not personally relate to it, they may find empathy or joy in the story, or they know someone who would relate to it. Great story telling also allows a community to be built because it not only creates a relationship between the author/organization but for the others reading the story. Story telling offers an open door for communication and creates engagement which is important.

Black and Red Typewriter on White Table
Image Source: Suzy from Pexels

The online space can feel disconnected sometimes compared to seeing things in person so great storytelling attracts people in a different way. The reader needs to feel a connection and that they are reading something of worth. Whether it be that they are learning, can relate to it, or that catches their eyes while scrolling through because it seems funny.

My content on my blog is intended to tell a story and be different than other home decor and renovation bloggers. I want to tell the entire story, the mess ups, the mistakes, the triumphs. I do not want to show a pretty manicured picture at the end and expect that to engage my readers long term. If we had issues along the way I want to let them know. For my readers to learn through my mistakes and accomplishments.

I want my readers to get off my blog and find a point to what they just read. Whether it be home decor ideas, renovating faux pas, or team work when renovating with a spouse.

House Renovation
Image Source: Rene from Pexels

I see my blog as a book, perhaps a really long book, and I picture every blog post as a chapter in it. Therefore, I want all of my content to create something of a big picture. Perhaps, after my home renovations are complete the content will change where I assist others in decorating certain rooms in their homes or focus on do it yourself projects.

COM0014- Blog #6: What is my story?

As a new blogger I feel myself always posting content that I think my readers will want to see about home decor and renovations and I do not share much about myself. A lot of the content I create does not have to do about my past and how I got to this point in life.

Aurora Borealis Phenomenon
Image source: Harrison from Pexels

I am from small town in Northern Ontario with less than 1000 residents. I am the middle of three children, a sister who is ten years older than me and a brother who is a year younger. I was the middle child who was always up to something to push my parents and siblings buttons and into mischief.

As I grew older in school I started to realize that I did not have any plans of what I wanted to be when I was older. I could never find anything that I was passionate about or that I would want to do as a job. Anytime in class when we had to do a project on what we wanted to be when we grew up I always picked something and made it seem like a passion, even though it was not.

After high school I struggled with the sense of needing to go to college and I never felt ready. I worked many jobs, sometimes three at a time, until the age of 28 and then I finally decided to go to college. The one program since graduation that I was open to studying was business so that is what I chose.

Brown and Black Wooden Chairs Inside Room
Image Source: Pixabay from Pexels

It was when I started my college courses that I realized I was right where I needed to be. After graduating last spring I have obtained a full-time permanent position in my field and have continued to learn.

With the age of the internet, I have realized that I could turn my love for writing, my business degree, and love for home decor into something that I hope will turn into more of than just a past time.

Do I wish I would have went to college when I was a lot younger? Sometimes, but if I had then most things in my life would be different and I am happy where I am now. What about yourself, have you always known what you wanted to do in life?

COM0014- Blog #3: Reaching My Audience.

There are many ways that people and organizations reach their audiences. Some do it in a very proper corporate way and others connect with their audience where it feels like they are connecting with a friend. Is either way incorrect? No. It all depends on how your target audience would relate to the communication style.

One of my personal interests is interior design. I like mixing styles, price points, and throwing in some do it yourself projects. I am in my early thirties, just bought my first home, and do not have any children. I wish to start a lifestyle blog about all of my interests focusing around interior design.

Round Black Framed Mirror on the Wall
Image Source: Dominika from Pexels

My target audience would be females between the ages of 25 and 34. They are young professionals with post secondary education, are just starting to plan out their lives, either renting or just purchased their first home. My target audience will be single, in relationships, or newly married. My target audience would most of the time not have any children. These women would not be in a specific ethnic group and I would like the community built to feel very inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

They are trendy, interested in interior design, and love spending time with friends. They look for entertaining content online that will enrich their lives in some way and teach them new things. these females would have some money as disposable and in the middle class range.

afro, afro hair, animal
Image Source: Cottonbro from Pexels

To connect with my target audience I need to communicate and engage with my audience the same way two friends would. Since it will be a blog I need to be very active on other social media platforms as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Joining groups and engaging on other bloggers platforms that are similar and that you like is important. This target audience spends a lot of their free time online so there is always a possibility for someone to see you engaging and then become a reader and follower of your content.

Someone who I think has created a social media strategy that is successful and would be ideal for me to take notes on is miss_rusticarrow. I actually found her as she came up as a sponsored post and her openness, personality, and design aesthetic made me give her a follow. She is active on her stories daily and allows you into her everyday life and does not just post about interior design. She asks questions and created polls if she is stuck on design ideas. She also prides herself on responding to every direct message she receives, something that builds an even better relationship with her followers.

Today she actually just did a $1000 Visa gift card giveaway and it was a collaboration with 7 other design bloggers. This was a great campaign choice as it allowed her to reach her target audience in a different way. She was able to get exposure through similar pages with similar content.

I think it is always important to see what similar people are doing and see what works and what does not. To completely copy how someone is online will show as inauthentic however taking note of tools and strategies they use can be helpful and take inspiration when it rings true to you. Have you ever seen yourself taking inspiration from someone you follow?

COM0014 – Blog #2: Writing and Communicating the Right Way.

Surprisingly I have always thought of myself as a good communicator and that I am able to get my points and thoughts across in the correct way. Who knew that I was making some crucial mistakes? Over this week I had the opportunity to delve deeper in storytelling, communication styles, and encouraging interaction. I am going to go over what things I was doing incorrectly in my writing style and what I will be doing moving forward.

Girl writing on a black keyboard
Image source: Kaboompics from Pexels

In my opinion, one of the most important things I learned and was definitely not following was: Do Not Bury the Lead. Yes, for some reason I have seen in my previous writing that I tend to do this. As the author states:

In journalism, there’s an expression: Don’t bury the lead (also known as the “lede”). Basically, it means you should write the most important thing first; each successive paragraph can flesh out the main idea for those who are interested in reading further. (Clarke, 2020, para. 1)

Previously I thought that if I left the reader guessing for awhile then they would continue to read. From now on I need to think of any of my blog writing as a formal paper and make sure that it has an introduction. I think that will allow me to remember the concept of the Inverted Pyramid Writing Technique.

Passive vs. Active Voice is another aspect I will need to work on. When looking back at my work I thought it was fine as long as their were no spelling or grammar mistakes. While passive writing will have no grammatical errors, writing in an active voice will be more clear for the reader and interest the reader on a larger scale. As the author wrote, “Nevertheless, the active voice is sometimes a far better choice, and you may use both in the same article depending on the context and content of your sentences and the section of your paper you are writing” (Wolfsen, 2020, para. 3). I decided that I will keep some desk aids printed out to assist me with using my active voice in writing.

Woman Working in Front of Her Laptop While Making a Note
Image Source: Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

I recently updated my Microsoft Word and with that included a new feature I had not seen before. It assists you with being more concise with your writing. And I was glad to have it there. I soon realized that the program was assisting me more often that I ever thought it would. I realized then that I had to improve and be more concise in my writing. Readers have a short attention span and there is no need for all of the extras. Every time that help comes up in the program I am noting what issues I am having in hopes it will help me be more concise.

From this weeks reading, I am glad that I was able to see these errors and have some action plans going forward to work on them. What mistakes did you see yourself making? Did you find any resolutions to the issues that I have had in the past?

References

Clark, D. (2020). Don’t Bury The Lead. Dorie Clark. Retrieved from https://dorieclark.com/dont-bury-the-lead/#:~:text=In%20journalism%2C%20there’s%20an%20expression,are%20interested%20in%20reading%20further.

Wolfsen, M. (2020). Active vs. Passive voice: What’s the difference? What should I use? And why does it matter? AJE. Retrieved from https://www.aje.com/arc/writing-with-active-or-passive-voice/

Com0014: Blog#7: Recipe for Success: Blog Plating 101

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Just like a chef, bloggers need to prepare and present content that looks so appealing that it will entice the customer to consume it. Throughout this course, I have found many similarities between the culinary and literary worlds, so much so that it has left me hungry to develop this easy-to-follow recipe:  Blog Plating 101

Step 1: Know your audience

Who is going to be consuming this?  Audiences can be diverse – – different generations, backgrounds, interests and tastes.  Write with the audience in mind, not yourself. What is their experience level?  What type of appetite do they have for jargon and terminology? 

Step 2: Create a Framework

Pick a main idea (or ingredient), do your research and build a framework by listing the most important information first as many do not read past the first few sentences.  Be sure to include interesting tidbits and a cue for engagement.  Be clear and concise and format the material so it’s easy to digest. 

Step 3: Make it Appealing

People connect with people and their stories rather than encyclopedias and lists of information.  Titles should be tempting and support images eye-catching. You can even sauce it up with your own humour but don’t overpower your main topic.  Garnish with your own style.

Step 4: Taste Testing

Test everything before it goes out the publishing door.  Personally, I utilize speech programs and listen to the content being read aloud  – – Did that passage make sense?  Is punctuation needed to make it flow more smoothly?  My goal is to create content that will inform and engage, not sour the reader’s taste buds.

Everything on the blog plate should serve a purpose and be a literary expression of one’s many flavours.  

Comment below with your own ‘secret ingredient’ for blogging (and try to keep it within the ‘culinary’ theme).

4 Ways to Tailor What You’re Seeing Online

Even though the Wild West of Web 1.0 has been wrangled with the advent of social media, there is still more content published online than any one person could hope to discover! So what’s the best way to go about finding what we want to see, as personal Internet users, and as a digital brand?

Brand Feedback

There are so many options for social media listening tools that it can be hard to narrow down which ones to use! Though tons of paid options for social listening are out there if you’re willing to spring for them, simple tools like Google Alerts can help you stay up to date on what audiences are saying about your brand. I consider it one of the best unpaid listening tools out there as it creates an RSS feed of keyword notifications that you can choose, including hashtags. You can always trust our Internet overlords Google to provide us with a good system to monitor our brands’ digital presence! Google has also created a program to monitor website and social media analytics (Google Analytics)! These two free programs provide you with a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to know what’s going on with your brand and it’s digital presence, and are super easy to set up and navigate.

pretend edward cullen GIF

My Personal Feed

When it comes to getting news and web content curated to my interests, Google doesn’t have quite the same iron grip on my Internet use. Here, Reddit (reddit.com) holds the key to my heart, as it provides a front page similar to an RSS feed based on “subreddits” (collections of community-curated web content based around any and every subject you could imagine) that you subscribe to. This allows me to go to one website for anything from Black Mirror discussion groups to local Ottawa news to Lord of the Rings Memes and everything in between. As much as I love Reddit for personal use and don’t personally use it in any professional respect, I can see the potential that a site like Reddit holds. Reddit is often one of the most up-to-date sources of news, memes, and other Internet content, and appeals to an audience that is not always as present on traditional social media. The specificity of the communities that exist on this website are the perfect source for community observation and discussion. Stay away from a sales-push on Reddit though! Users are quick to sniff out a sales tactic and generally don’t tolerate the use of the platform as a marketing opportunity – another reason why I love to use it!

episode 2 my safe space is reddit GIF by Portlandia

I’ve also been a huge fan of the new Instagram feature of following hashtags the same way you can follow users, with a collection of tagged photos showing up on your feed! While, again, I have made liberal use of this on my personal accounts (hello #guineapigs!), it is also great if you are planning a campaign based around hashtag use, as now the content generated from this campaign will show up directly in your feed. If your brand is present on Instagram, hashtag campaigns are great because they generate both free publicity by encouraging people to post related to your brand, and the potential for free content (and community kudos) by regramming the best shots!

beautiful late night GIF by PBS

These are just a couple of my favourite online sources for curated content and digital feedback. What are you using right now to stay up to date on your favourite web content? Let me know in the comments below so I can check them out!

COM0014 – Blog #2: Are Your Reading Level & How You Write – Connected?

“Think of reading this way, and you quickly realize how this allows you to deliver unique value to your readers as a publisher.” says, Brian Clark of copyblogger.com, “How to Read”.

       This week my eyes were opened to the obvious fact that being a great reader can make me a better writer. I didn’t know four levels of reading existed, I could tell I had trouble reading more analytical and syntopical blogs because these are meant for deep conversations in topics filled with data and philosophical questions. Nope. Whereas reading elementary and inspectional blogs came easier to me with more terminology I could understand with a broad knowledge of understanding. WooHoo!

      I have been working on my reading since giving this blog a read and it is improving where I publish, how I write and what ideas would be most beneficial when planning my blog. I strongly suggest you check out the link I embedded in the article, as you can learn to be a better writer in 10 minutes.

     I’ve learned about writing before and have always been in love with it, over the years my knowledge has been persuaded to focus on other paths and have lost my time with it. I feel out of the loop, I wrote blogs with meaningful information, links and perfect grammar but I still felt like something was missing. Thanks to my course, I am pretty sure I found the diamond I was looking for.

Blog Post #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

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Photo from Eventbrite

In the past while I was living in London, networking was easy. I would attend multiple events per week in the evenings after work, as well as connect online on LinkedIn and Instagram. 

There was always something going on, which made for a pretty hectic work week but kept up the excitement to the point where I never really had time to be nervous about meeting new people since it was so fast paced. 

Since being back in Ottawa, over the past few months I have definitely let the cold weather keep me more indoors. There’s not as much going on in terms of events, but through different search mediums I can get the most out of my location.

Eventbrite is a great source for finding events in cities all over the world. Some events cost money, but quite a few of them are free. You are able to search by location or key word, and input dates to refine your search. 

Another application I use to find events is Couchsurfing. This is primarily an app that lets you find hosts for free accommodation. There is also a feature where you can search for events in whatever city you are in.

I was able to network and meet amazing people in Paris, for example, when I was doing photography for a festival. We met at the Louvre, all not knowing each other, had a picnic and then went to the festival together. How cool is that?

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Couchsurfing friends and I in Paris, Lollapalooza 2017

Currently, I have been looking at Facebook events to see what events are coming up or that show friends in attendance. Eventbrite is also still a great tool to find both online and in person networking events. 

In the next 6-12 months I will be working at a new job, so I hope to network as much as I can there and meet new people. I also plan to attend any relevant events I can find that interest me or can aid in my professional development. 

After meeting someone in person, I could also be more vigilant in connecting online via LinkedIn as well. Making the extra effort and keeping in touch with people is necessary to building that connection. 

Instagram is a growing platform for networking—following certain hashtags can allow me to find new people or brands to connect with that may share my same interests. 

I would like to attend at least one in person networking event per month—whether for work or for personal endeavours. I also want to post three times per week on Instagram with insightful and artistic content highlighting my photography or other skills. 

Just showing up to events is half the battle for me, since I can be quite anxious when I am by myself—but I also realize that I have the most potential for networking when I am alone as it forces me to get outside my comfort zone.

When I attend events I usually like to set a goal, like talking to three new people and collecting at least one business card or contact information. Making one strong connection is better than saying hello to many people and not fully resonating with anyone. 

Connecting online is generally much easier than in person; however, if I can get through to someone in person and then follow up online, that is my preferable route to building a strong professional relationship. 

What is your favourite way to connect? Let me know in the comments!

Online Theft: Protect your blog against copyright infringement

 

Photo by Picography on pexels.com

You work hard on your blog and the content that goes into it. How would you feel if someone stole your content and passed it off as their own? That’s what we call copyright infringement.

By definition, according to Wikipedia, copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement. (Copyright Infringement, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, January 24, 2019, Retrieved January 28, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement).

In simple terms, it’s theft.

Myths vs Facts

Copyright is a pretty complicated issue. I think many people misunderstand what’s allowed and don’t necessarily realize how to go about using photos and content from different sources for their own use, or maybe they just don’t care and take their chances because it’s easier than going through a lengthy process to get approval.

Here are some myths around copyright:

Copyright Infringement: 5 Myths vs Facts

Internet Copyright Infringement by Visually

How to Copyright your blog

Did you know that as soon as your blog is published online, it is protected under Canadian copyright law if your content is original? This means that others must ask for your permission to use your work. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Here are a few things you can do protect your blog content:

  1. Complete a copyright registration through Industry Canada. When you register your copyright, you get a certificate of registration that can be used in court and gives you leverage for collecting damages.
  2. Place a copyright notice at the bottom of each page of your blog. Include the word “Copyright” and/or the copyright symbol (©), the year of publication, your name and the phrase “All Rights Reserved.” You can place a copyright notice on your blog pages even if you have not yet filed for copyright registration.
  3. Develop a strategy to detect infringement. You may also want to invest in software that can detect theft if you have spent the time and money to register your copyright But, I guess this all depends on how serious you are about pursuing legal action if you detect a theft has occurred with your content.
  4. Have a system in place to allow others to ask for permission to use your content. You don’t want anyone to steal your blog content so why not make it easier for people to ask for permission to use it. Include a section on your website about how to go about this and include the details they need to provide in order to consider approval.
  5. You could also go as far as registering a Trade Mark for your blog. You can find more information about this here. (http://www.trademarkcanada.org/)

What’s your take?

I think these are all great strategies to protect your content. I’m not sure I’d go as far as ordering infringement detection software for a small personal blog but I can see this being very relevant for large blog owners or businesses.  What do you think about these strategies? Do you have any other suggestions? What are strategies you would use to protect your content? I’d really like to know!

 

   Bloggers! Don’t get caught by copyright infringement. Learn how to protect yourself. https://bit.ly/2CQ6gUs #copyrightinfringement

  Are you a hard working blogger? Know how to protect your content. https://bit.ly/2CQ6gUs #copyrightinfringement

References:

Government of Canada, (2018, April 27), Retrieved from:  http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr00003.html

CARNES, D. , Retrieved from: https://info.legalzoom.com/copyright-website-canada-22586.htmRetrieved from: https://info.legalzoom.com/copyright-website-canada-22586.html