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Social Media Mondays: Crafting a Clickable Headline – Learning from Gawker

31 Oct

The PR Daily posted Gawker’s Four Tips for Writing Irresistible Headlines.  They must be doing something right. Collectively, the sites are attracting 32 million visitors a month. So let’s learn from the good folks at Gawker. How to write a captivating headline in brief:

1. Tell the reader everything in the headline

2.  No more than two lines

3. Don’t be too clever

4. Don’t be too smart.

I decided to go to Gawker to see if their headlines would make me take notice and click on the link.  Not a lot of Gawker’s personal headlines grabbed me. (They have a section on Prison. Really?!) But the content of their sister sites did get my attention. So what made me click?

Life at Target: Hard Knocks Off the Clock. What I thought: what does this mean? What’s happening at Target? Obviously this is relevant? Later:  will this affect the Canadian store that is set to open next year? Read: It’s catchy. It’s intriguing. (Gawker)

Magnetic Toothbrush Holder Cleanly Mounts Your Tolietries for Easy Access. What I thought: Oooh. Really?! Smart! Why did I not think of this before? and how much bacteria is on my toothbrush? Remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Lily and Marshall revealed that they shared the same toothbrush and then they found out Ted, their roommate, was also using it too? Read: practical. (Lifehacker)

Image: from I09

Handy Map of the United States showing the scariest thing in every single state. What I thought: Negativity can work in a headline. The PR Daily didn’t mention that. I like maps. I like this in graphical format. The stereotypes are true. It’s funny. I need to brush up on my US geography. (I09)

How to Give a Compelling Presentation to a Smart, Jerky or Otherwise Picky Audience. What I thought: useful but will I ever use it in my lifetime? (Don’t think I’ll be presenting anything to Jeff Bezos soon.) Then I realized this article was by Steve Yegge, who became famous for his insightful, honest look at Google that was meant to only employees but got leaked. So I continued to read it because I was intrigued by his story. Read: practical; how to deal with a situation that is out of your control. (Answer: admit your shortcomings, laugh, and learn from the mistake).  (Lifehacker)

A stunning time-lapse of Iceland’s nightless summer. What I thought: I like Iceland. I like stunning. I like nightless summers. Time-lapse I can deal with. Read: all catch phrases and a great video. (Io9)

How do you write a captivating headline? How much time do you think about your headlines? 

Social Media Mondays – Top Travel Blog Tips Summary and Photos from Italy (Because why not?!)

24 Oct

Venice. One of my ultimate travel fantasies come to life.

There was a great interview with Gary Arndt featured on the other day. Gary’s a great source of information on blogging and travel because he’s done it, done it successfully and he’s good at it. (Sidenote: his travel blog is called Everything. Everywhere. and you can find him on Twitter under @everywheretrip).  Suffice to say, he’s made it his everyday job. I took some notes on the video because it’s a half hour.  I also incorporated some pictures from my trip to Italy because it’s fun and it makes this post more “me” (advice put into effect).

Key Points: 

1. Focus on your RSS and your fans and less on your pageviews and Stumble Upon (not that they’re not important).  It’s not about what your audience has seen, it’s about what your audience is going to see next. Sidenote: I think engagement is really important and though I am new to the regular blogging game and don’t have as many pageviews as I’d like I make sure I have a conversation with everyone who interacts with me.

In front of the Ferrari factory in Modena. Some may consider this a travel fantasy. We're weren't allowed into the factory.

2. Remember travel is a fantasy. And what gets people to the fantasy? Pictures. Gary posts a daily travel photo from different regions of the world everyday. He also makes it a point to improve on his photography on a regular basis.

Not in the video is my favourite Gary Arndt travel quote. It is:

Travel Porn: Watching people do things you’ll never do in places you’ll never go. 

Let’s make people fantasize even if they can’t get away or get to half the countries others do.

This is me "raising the roof" in front of the Duomo. It's the dorky moments we remember, right?

3. The advantage bloggers have over publications is that they’re a personality. I have asked Gary personally what his number one tip is and he always says: BE YOURSELF. Using your own photos and your own stories will make you stand out.  I think a few magazines are getting smart and showcasing the personalities of their editors or writers. @WheresAndrew of National Geographic Traveler is a good example; @LisaTant, editor of Flare Magazine is also very active and vocal on Twitter bringing life to the print edition. That said, bloggers are approachable and make the time to meet with their audience whether it’s at blogger conferences or locally held tweetups. For me, I always try to meet anyone coming to Toronto in person and show them around. This has helped me cement connections that I don’t even usually have at conferences. It also enforces my knowledge of Toronto and therefore, as a resource further grounding my niche (whether I want to admit it or not). Anyone can do this with the city where they reside.

How to keep at it? Simple. Passion. Don't blog because you feel you have to keep up. I do it because I truly love it. And I hope to inspire others as hokey as it sounds.

4. The early advantage of being a travel blogger  is gone and the tried and true method of hard work and spending time on your travel blog –or any blog–still remains. I wish I had done it sooner but I know consistency and good content will enable me to build an audience. Once the audience is built and I have a community of those coming to my blog, then I can think about monetization. Honestly, it’s not really a focus right now. I’d rather spend the time building a reputation and as much content as I can. Again, it’s going to take time.

This was a phrase I used a lot on my trip. And as a blogger or traveler, you may have those moments. Or you may just really like the musical.

5.  Point number four is a good segue: DON’T QUIT. Doing something consistently is hard. Sometimes, I wonder: “will anyone see this? Does anyone CARE?” and the other thought I have is: “will my efforts pay off?” I don’t know. But it’s encouraging to hear not to give up. Especially when it’s a passion.

What’s the best piece of blogging advice you’ve been given? 

Social Media Mondays

17 Oct


Kobo has currently come out with a tablet called the Kobo Vox, as reported by the Globe and Mail.  It’s significantly less than an ipad and will sell for $200 starting October 28.  (There is no release date in Canada at the moment.)  I think it’s a good deal because it’s offering similar features to the ipad and over 15,000 free apps to download. Will you be buying the Kobo? Or do you feel like it was a waste to buy the Kobo e-reader before the Vox came out? Or..are you an Apple fan through and through and the ipad will only do?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

The PR Daily had an interesting article on the guide to Retweet success. One of their tips was to share new information and not just information that interests you but timely information that your network will love. They go on to say that if you retweet breaking news. I agree, but at the same time, if I’m not the breaker of news (I can’t be on the pulse at every moment nor do I want to be) I find it annoying to see the same topic being retweeted in one day. It’s one reason I don’t post about news on Mashable. Why? Because everyone already goes to Mashable; it’s the main resource for social media information. So why would I share something that someone can easily look up or is already being spread across social media channels?  I don’t think my network would have seen certain news right away and if I can elaborate on it, I will send out the message later. What are your retweeting tips? How often do you retweet? And what are you retweeting?

As a segue, I was rewatching a video from master marketer Sally Hogshead about fascination and moreso, attention spans. Sally had a great talk about comparing fascinating new clients (or anyone, rather) to online dating. Her research found that due to the internet, that our attention spans are nine seconds. NINE SECONDS. Today, we only have NINE SECONDS to make an impression.  That’s the attention span of a fish. If you watch the video the whole way through, she has a great and well, fascinating story.  So how do you do it? You have to understand what your “fascination triggers” are. There are 7 triggers that she explains (and that are in her book): Power, Passion, Prestige, Mystique, Alarm, Vice (Rebellion) and Trust. You can then use your natural triggers to amplify your ideas and get people to pay attention in the nine seconds you have  to capture them.  I find it relevant as Social Media continues to become more prevalent in our daily lives.

Photo: Roger Arquer


Social Media Mondays

10 Oct

Photo: Sharon Montrose, The Animal Printshop dot com

There’s stop motion but I had never heard about photo motion. It’s time consuming, but very fun to watch especially if there’s good music in the background. The very fun Joshy Washington of Matador shows you how to do it with a few cool examples. Another example I stumbled upon was this very cool video highlighting Paris.  I’ve watched it again and again!

I told you copy blogger was becoming a favourite resource for all things social media. As a good recap, there is a list of eight effective blog habits. At first, I was having trouble being consistent. However, sticking to the plan of posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays has really helped me in staying consistent.  Having a theme for a particular day, like Social Media Mondays or Fri Fotos recaps,  is like doing homework and it helps.

Travelllll discusses the new Blogger platform, where readers can view your blog in seven different ways. I like the discussion on this where it’s mentioned that Blogger still has control over your blog and can kill it at any time, as opposed to a self-hosted WordPress blog. Are you on Blogger? If not, would you switch? I have had my blog compromised a few times on Blogger. As cool as their new layouts look, I don’t think I could ever go back and will wait until I can get a designer to customize my blog the way I want it. Plus, I don’t think you can monetize very well on Blogger. That said, there are a few successful blogs on Blogger like Oh Happy Day and Cup of Jo.

And for a bit of inspiration, I am linking to the Stanford commencement speech from Steve Jobs. It has over 8 million views on You Tube. Amazing.

What are your most effective blogging habits? What is a challenge for you with your blog? I’d love to hear.  What do you think of the new Blogger set up? 

Social Media Mondays

3 Oct

Luke, I am your father. Photo from: Business Grow.

Why hello there…

The social media round up of this week includes:

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Social Media Mondays

19 Sep

I’m introducing a new little column on here called Social Media Mondays.  This is a round up of social media content I find on the web. Researching this information and sharing it helps me learn and I hope you guys can get something something new that is useful to you. I’ll try not to be too redundant with posting stuff from Mashable.  Another thing I am hoping to get out of this series is to spark creativity and ideas, which sometimes come when we are outside of our own bubble. If you have any news or ideas for this column, I’m open to hearing your ideas.

A few things I’ve found around the web this week that I like:

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Travel Peeps I Want to Meet (11-13)

8 Jun

Twitter is a small world.  Especially in the travel blogging community.  Let’s face it. Some of us are addicts. Some of us may spend more time on Twitter than we do with our own family or friends.  I may be one of those people. As the Twitter motto is:  follow your interests. Through this motto, I have been fortunate to have met some really amazing bloggers out there who are passionate about travel and life.  I haven’t met most of the people on this list in real life. The ones that I have met in real life, I wish I had a chance to speak with further, mainly because I’m genuinely curious and admire them in some way. Otherwise, I am hoping I can learn from their successes in some way to further better myself.  Bonus: They’re going to be at TBEX  (for those who don’t know, this is a conference called the Travel Blog Exchange) in Vancouver in June.  Holiday! Celebrate!

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