Social Media

Tips and Strategies for Blogging

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Blog letters pinned to white wall

I’m sure this has only happened to me…  but, have you ever had the order come down from above (think more corporate, less angles) that you need to write a blog post on (x) by (x)?

If you’re like most people the first thing that escapes your lips is a whispered “how am I supposed to get this done?”.  Well, relax it might just be easier than you think!
Here are a couple of tips and strategies that might just stir the creative writing process for you!

Step 1 – Read

The first step in writing a great blog post is to know your topic and chances are you’re not the first one to ever write on your subject.  So, why reinvent the wheel?
Solomon said it best “there is nothing new under the sun”.  There is no need to make things more difficult then that have to be.  Go online and find other blog posts on your subject and gather ideas.  Notice how other bloggers have organized their thoughts, and begin to formulate your own ideas on what you want to write about.

Step 2 – The Outline

Begin putting together an outline;
  • Create a topic headline
  • Brainstorm, and develop key points
  • Write an opening and Introduction
  • Write your thoughts on the subject
  • Conclusion
The mechanics of writing are pretty simple it’s the content and your personality that give it life!  I would suggest that you include quotes from the blogs that you checked out at first (for research of course).  Then, top it all off with a call to action.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but after all when you post online it pretty much stays there forever! (no pressure)

Step 3 – Pen to Paper or Voice to Text?

Even if you’re not the most skilled writer in the world chances are you know how to speak.  That being said, the good news is that through the use of some very handy technology you now have an advantage over most writers in history past.

The Smart Phone

Most smart phones come with some type of voice recorder, and if not, there are plenty of apps you can download.  Record yourself talking on the key points that your blog needs to touch on, and then write or type out the content.

Dragon or voice to text software

There are more and more apps and technology that allow users to simply talk and type content directly to the page.  Budges vary and so does software cost, so be sure to take a look around and do some research.  Is this a one time deal, or have you tapped into your passion for the written word?

Elance or Fiverr.com

Too lazy to type it out, or not tech enough for talk to text?  You can always outsource the typing to someone who can.  There are plenty of people willing to transcribe your audio and even organize your outline into a proper format (for a fee of course).  Same thing as before, do your research and see if this will work for you.

Conclusion

Times are changing and many professionals will be heeding the call to blog more often.  What we make of the experience and the process will ultimately be reflected in the content we create.  So, why not enjoy it!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

Why We Choose to Grow Organically

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When first starting out in social media it’s easy to look at the “pros” and wonder how they do it.  Then, after staring at the mountain of media, we take our first steps;

  • We create a profile
  • We start to “Like” other pages in our industry
  • We begin adding content
  • We comment on other posts

After the initial excitement wanes, we begin to wonder why it’s taking so long for our likes to grow.

Certainly, this is not a Facebook only problem, it reaches across just about every social media platform from Twitter to Instagram, but for the sake of this article we’ll stick with Facebook.

So…

There’s gotta be a better way!

We’ve all seen ads that read something like this: “Guaranteed Facebook Likes” or “Get More Likes Fast”.

Buy-Facebook-Likes

Despite the advertisers “best intentions” for your company, or small business there’s always the nagging thought of “is this legit”?

When hiring an outside source to help build up “Likes” on your Facebook page or any other social media platform, here are some things to consider;

  • Many of these “Likes” come from fake user accounts
  • Some programs deceive users into liking pages through false actions, such as clicking on a video or article.
  • Some intermediary companies literally pay people to “Like” pages on Facebook
  • Facebook is now deleting fake “Likes”

Now think about this, you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars learning your demographic and target audience.  For example the target demo for Positive Hits PER is a 30-35 year old mother of 2 who lives in northern or central Virginia.  When you purchase “likes” or systems that promise to deliver a huge audience you have to consider who they are, and where their coming from.

If I purchased a 1,000 or 10,000 “Likes” on Facebook and they’re not within PER’s listening audience, and they’re mostly older or younger men, then I have wasted my money.

Also, when it come to these quick “Like” programs there is no relationship built, no connection made, and no telling if the audience you picked up even knows if they’ve ‘Liked” you.

Finally, purchasing “likes” may end up costing you money in the long run.  Prime example, if you try and engage with your audience through a “boosted post” or Facebook ad you are essentially paying Facebook money to promote to a fake audience.

Try explaining that to cooperate!

Organic Growth 

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Organic growth is growth that comes from a company’s existing businesses, as opposed to growth that comes from buying new businesses.”

Growing your brand organically is a much slower process, but it brings a massive advantage when it comes to audience engagement.

Such as;

  • Audience rapport with the brand.
  • The audience’s expectations of the kind of content you’ll be posting
  • Your audience is more likely to comment, share, or like your post

Think tortoise not hare!

Grow your audience through posts that connect, conversations that inspire and inform, and show that you are more than just simply another brand.  Become a friend!

In closing, organic takes time, and your numbers may look low, but ultimately, the relationships you build and the content you share will give you the win!

Be Blessed!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

Pictures Tell a Story

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pictures worth a 1000 words

“A picture’s worth a thousand words…”

When you get home tonight, look around your house at the many pictures you have hung up.  If you are at your desk right now, look around at the pictures of your friends and family.

Those pictures tell a story.

They tell of family vacations, graduations, a loving union, a birth of a child, etc. Whatever the picture is, it says something to you. A picture conveys much more than you could ever say in words.

As humans, we are visual creatures. We like to look on the beauty of what God has created, and we want to somehow capture it.  In a picture, something right in front of us, we’re able to keep seeing it.

So human beings love to take pictures and look at them… what does that have to do with our websites? EVERYTHING!

When someone visits your website, your home online, you have the opportunity to grab their attention. But you have a short period of time to do that and limited space too. So what is the most effective way to get them to buy into your web presence?

Pictures and graphics!

What kind of pictures should I post?

The message in the picture should match the message you are trying to get across. Recently, our Spirit FM team hosted diaper drives for several local pregnancy centers. Instead of using a banner with simple text on it, we used a picture of a mom and a baby. This picture set the tone for our drives, related to the lives of our listeners and told a story that spoke volumes.

What did the picture of the mom and the baby say?

  1. Your donation is helping moms care for their babies.
  2. Remember what it was like to have little ones?
  3. Remember how much diapers cost?
  4. You could be a blessing to this young mom.
  5. There is no greater love you can give a mom than to help her take care of her baby.
  6. You’re helping a mom say yes to life.

To each person that picture said something different, something we could have never conveyed in words alone.

When choosing a picture for your website or social media:

  1. Make sure it tells a story.
  2. Make sure it fits the tone of your printed words.
  3. Make sure you have a high quality picture.  It should be clear, not grainy, and it should fit correctly physically, etc.
  4. Make sure they fit your stations demographic.  Just like we analyze on-air breaks and how they could relate to “her” better, do the same thing before posting a graphic.  Make sure it’s something that would connect with her.
  5. Make sure it fits your stations story.  Every word spoken on-air, every status on Facebook, every graphic on the website is a continuation of your stations story.  Make sure the graphics continue that story!

As radio stations, we are always thinking about the on-air product but sometimes forget about the other media we produce.  Remember your website is a part of your station, it’s a representation of it.  Graphics play a huge role in the success of your website, so pick wisely!!!

~Colleen Larkins

Assistant Manager Spirit FM, PAR website coordinator

The Future of Radio

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music streaming services

If you ask anyone where the future of the radio industry is going, they will answer with a resounding response of “On the Internet of course”.  I don’t think we have to convince anyone of the Internet redefining the way our world interacts.  However, the radio industry is not always the quickest to adopt new technology.

The Internet gives us an ability to connect with listeners in ways that the inventors of radio or television could never imagine.  Where the radio industry has always been the “talkers”, the Internet has given us the ability to listen.  Our industry has to evolve to survive in an interactive world.

Many terrestrial broadcasters have dabbled in the Internet because that’s what others in the industry have told them to do.  They want an online web stream because the other radio stations in their market are doing the same and they believe they will be left behind.  The same goes for their website, Facebook, Twitter and mobile applications.  Those terrestrial broadcasters don’t really understand why they are on the Internet.

We have the ability to utilize the Internet to connect with our listeners in a profound way.  How do we do this? — here are some practical ways that we can create experiences and connect with listeners with existing technologies.

Websites - Change our websites to provide the information that our listeners need in their communities.  Provide the information that they need to grow in their love of Christ, serve others and help them in their daily lives.  We need less information that serves the interest of the radio station and more information that serves the interest of the people who listen to our radio stations.

Social Media - Let’s create a social media site to promote the radio station — wrong!  Social media is a convenient medium with a large base.  We can provide uplifting messages in large-scale fashion.  However, we must interact with others on social medium.  We can’t just talk — we have to interact and listen as well.

Online Web Streaming & Mobile Apps - We must excel in the manner in which we provide online web streaming and mobile apps.  We can’t expect to gain and keep the interest of our listeners by providing a static product.  We have to provide additional content besides the audio from our radio stations.  We must provide information on our radio personalities to form a connection for our listeners, on the artists who provide music that encourages, and anything that helps our listeners in their walk with Christ.

To succeed in the radio industry of the 21st century, we have to interact with our listeners.  These technologies allow us many new avenues to reach more people for Christ.

 

-David Hodges, Director of Engineering, Positive Alternative Radio

Facebook’s 20% Text Rule

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Most of the time I try to stay positive…. when dealing with Facebook’s 20% text rule I have to admit I went the other direction for a temper tantrum or 5!

So, what is Facebook’s 20% rule?

Via Facebook:

“Ads that have more than 20% of text in their image won’t be approved to run in News Feed.”

Seems simple enough right?  Yeah, not so much…

The rule itself is understandable, last thing we want to do is to clog up people’s News Feeds with endless post that look like spam or want ads in your local newspaper.

Here’s why the rule makes me crazy:  It’s not consistent and you never know if it’s actually going to be enforced.

This week I began a Facebook ad campaign for Positive Hits PER.  We are a listener supported station, and the purpose of the ads were to drive listeners to click on the image and be directed to our “giving” webpage.  Here’s one images we used as a boosted post.

Don-&-Happy

I micro-targeted the ad to specific listening areas, specific interests for our demographic, set the budget, and VOILA!  

As far as I could tell the boosted post was up and running, and just about the time I was about pat myself on the back… I noticed that the ad after 3 hours had only received 701 views… did you hear the tire screeching sound?

After reviewing the ad here’s the message I received:

Not boosted because

First of all, there is the annoyance of thinking that for the past 3 hours my ad was running and changing the world (you can always hope)!   When in reality, it was simply sitting there taunting me…

Second, this same image worked perfectly fine for other Facebook ads, why not for this boosted post?

The Grid

Facebook created a grid that you can upload your photos to and find out if you are using too much text or not.  You can find the grid tool Here.

The problem with the grid is that it measures whether or not the text is more than 20% of the grid, and not whether the text is really more than 20% of the photo.

So, even if you don’t actually have more than 20% text… text size, and even text placement can kill your photo’s chances of making through the gauntlet of Facebook’s approval.   Oddly enough, sometimes (depending on how long you run the ad) it makes it through and does the job.

With a little bit of editing, and a lot more hope, we submitting the following post.

Don-&-Happy-Ad

Approved and running! Whew!

Recommendations:

  1. Use the Grid!
  2. Keep most of your text in the status of the post rather than the picture.
  3. Whisper a prayer or two!

We may not like the tools we have to use, but adaption comes with the territory in social media.  Our craft, and the art of what we do shows itself in the work we create, and even recreate!

Be Blessed!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

 

 

Relational Content

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When scrolling through Facebook’s news feed there is never a shortage of “empty” content.  From the latest shoes of a particular brand to the “why we’re so great” post from brands we could care less about…

What people crave is content!  Rich content that grabs their attention and stirs a desire to share with others! Just so happens we (as a brand) want the same things!

When we share content with our audience that creates an experience, we are adding value. Social media has the potential to go beyond simply trying to “shout” our name louder than that of everyone else; we have the potential to touch lives!

Statistically users on Facebook interact with brands they “like” far less than any of us would like to admit.   According to Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, “0.5% of Facebook fans engage with the brand they are fans of.”   With numbers like that, the question arises “what’s the point?”  The point is to cross over from just being a brand to becoming a friend.   This shouldn’t come as a shock, but people don’t turn to Facebook for commercials or to be sold.  Facebook is meant to be a place for entertainment, catching up, and to interact with friends.

As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation when someone has told me they just bought something off of Facebook.  However, I’ve heard plenty about what they saw on Facebook, or that “I’ve got to check this out”!

When we forget that Facebook isn’t supposed to be a selling platform, we begin to lose our audiences attention.

When we lose their attention, we lose….period.

Nurturing friendships, sharing a laugh, giving content to share, adds value, and gives us the opportunity to connect on a deeper level and establish a relationship.

This may sound like a bunch of “fluff” but it endears our brand, and also gives us permission later on to ask for a donation, or promote an event.   Think of the “soft sell”.

So, cultivating the relationship equals branding!

We must always give our audience a reason to keep us in the conversation and it doesn’t always have to be about us!

Be Blessed!

 

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

A Piece of the Puzzle

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Have you ever done a puzzle with a friend or family member? The other day my 4 year old son was very excited to put together a puzzle of his dear friend Dora the Explorer. He took his time and placed every piece exactly where it should go BUT to his dismay when we got down to the last piece it was nowhere to be found. So instead of a Dora Masterpiece, he had half of Dora’s face and it just wasn’t the same. Putting together a successful radio station is a lot like that Dora puzzle. You can have great programming, great social media and great production but if you are missing a great website you are missing a big piece.

Let’s be honest, radio stations are known for poorly built websites. Why? Many stations believe that only their on-air product matters. They think, “Who cares about the website?” Should your on-air product be excellent? Absolutely but so should your website. Your website is your opportunity to capture your listener. It’s your time to tell her why you do what you do! It’s a time for her to meet someone through a video sharing how their life has been changed through your station. It’s a time where you can take her from listener to much more. Don’t squander that opportunity with poor graphics and hard to find information. Your website is a big piece of the radio puzzle. It serves you and your listeners well to not forget about that puzzle piece. After all, your station is not a masterpiece if they can only make out half of the picture.

 

Colleen Larkins

Assistant Manager

Spirit FM

 

Is Your Facebook Audience Ignoring Your Brand?

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It’s no secret that Brands want to engage people on Facebook.  The problem comes when Brands only talk about themselves and forget that we (the users) are there to hangout with our friends.  The ignoring, unliking, and general annoyance comes when Brands begin to push themselves into our conversations.  As a matter of fact Web-content and customer-experience-management provider Kentico Software highlighted some of the challenges faced by brands on Facebook, as it surveyed of more than 300 adults aged 18 and up and found that the majority of them usually ignore posts by brands.  

  • Kentico found that 68 percent of respondents “never” or “hardly ever” pay attention to brands’ posts on Facebook.
  • 40 percent of respondents do not like brands on Facebook at all, while 39 percent said they liked one to 10, 7 percent said they liked 11 to 20, and 6 percent said they liked 21 to 30.
  • Of those who like brands on Facebook, 39 percent did so in order to receive special offers, while 12 percent did so due to recommendations from friends, and just 8 percent were seeking more information.
  • The most common reasons for unliking or unfollowing brands were uninteresting posts (32 percent) and too many posts (28 percent).

So, where does that leave us?  Right back to our purpose for being on Facebook in the first place…  We are there to connect with our audience in a way that inspires them, engages them, and reminds them that we are their friends.

Kentico Founder and CEO Petr Palas said in a release announcing the findings:

While our latest Digital Experience Survey may be bad news to some, it only reinforces our notion that the social media efforts of a company need to be measured by community engagement, rather than likes or follows. Equally critical is content that is compelling and personalized whenever possible to maintain the interest of people who may have become somewhat impervious to the constant bombardment of various marketing messages today.

Remember, you’re not just putting up a post, you are looking for a way to connect with your friends!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement