2

The underlying green principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle aren’t just for environmental matters. You can also apply these green principles to your blogging. For those of us who create a lot of content, blog sustainability is a matter of creative survival.

Reduce

1. The number of words

Writing fewer words can save blogging time, if you start with that objective. Writing long posts and editing them to be short, however, can take a disproportionately long time. When you set out to write a shorter post (i.e. in the 100 – 200 word range), going in with a brief outline can make reducing words a real time saver.

2. Time spent writing

Get a kitchen timer, and set a limit on how long you’ll spend writing a blog post. Forcing yourself to write for only 20 minutes on a single post gets you in great practice for writing quickly AND shortly.

3. Posting frequency

If you’re struggling with the posting schedule you have, consider reducing how often you post. You don’t HAVE to write every day. Pick a less frequent schedule, communicate it to your readers, and stay consistent with the new schedule as you enjoy your new free time.

Reuse

4. Your links

Face it: not everybody is reading everything you’re posting. Plus (fingers crossed), you’re picking up new readers all the time. If you have major subject in your blog, link back to earlier pieces that expand on the points you’re making in a current post.

5. Popular posts

Look at your Google Analytics and see what readers have been reading the most. Create posts which highlight popular posts built around specific topic areas your readers enjoy.

6. Images

Just because you’ve used an image once doesn’t mean it can’t be used again. Get proficient on basic editing software – crop a picture to focus on specific, different elements within it. Add effects to it as a way to use an image for multiple posts.

Recycle

7. Popular post themes

Update popular topics or combine them into longer, more comprehensive articles. You could also build on comments readers shared and turn those into related posts.

8. List posts

List posts are often more about the list and less about the explanatory text associated with each item. Pull out a single item from a list post and expand it into a more fully-developed blog post.

9. Multiple posts

Take multiple posts on a specific subject and aggregate them into an article or ebook you can offer as a download on your blog.

How Creatively Green Is Your Blog?

Try these 9 ideas and you’ll be doing your part for blog sustainability. What other ways do you reduce, reuse, or recycle with your blog? Mike Brown


The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

During yesterday’s TMSA social media strategy presentation, we wound up talking about 4 of the 12 business-to-business social media strategy topics the audience could choose from to discuss. Interestingly, they picked one topic each in the four overall categories – strategy, social networking, infrastructure, and social business. As I’d promised them, here are links for the overview in the presentation plus  links with more detail on each of the 4 specific topics they selected:

Social Media Overview

Strategy – Measuring ROI

Social Networking – Getting Noticed

Infrastructure – Time and Talent

Social Business – Content Marketing

The group had a number of questions throughout which should provide additional blog topics in the weeks to come. - Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you define a strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your market opportunities.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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16

I’m doing a social media strategy presentation at the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association in San Diego today. Today’s talk is a major revamp of  my social media strategy presentation, incorporating learnings from all the social media work we’ve done the past year. With much more social media content to share, I’ve prepared 12 social media topics for the audience to choose from in customizing the presentation to the issues most relevant for them. They get value from picking what’s covered, and it keeps me on my toes since no two presentations are the same!

We’ll also be highlighting social media strategy best practices from among attendees to make the talk more industry-specific and recognize smart work in the transportation and logistics industry. While looking for best practices, I found a number of social media mistakes as well. Instead of calling them out in the presentation, however, today’s post highlights seven of the (unattributed) mistakes any business-to-business (or even business-to-consumer) company shouldn’t be making:

1. Making your product/service the hero in every blog post.

In transportation industry blogs, the companies doing the blogging have their services providing heroic solutions in WAY too many posts. Using the problem-solution-result format to occasionally highlight your brand’s products and services is okay. If every blog post involves your brand coming to the rescue, however, it’s repetitive and will disaffect readers. The alternative is delivering content on what customers are:

  • Seeking information about
  • Focused on in their professional (and personal) lives
  • Challenged to accomplish in their businesses

With this approach, incorporating the Think-Know-Do perspective we’ve recommended will help you to create much greater content value for readers.

2. Only following and fanning business-to-business customers.

For business-to-business brands (and business-to-consumer ones too), deciding who to follow and fan can be challenging. While there are a variety of strategies which may be right, at least one strategy is clearly wrong: only following your customers. When you only follow customers in a business-to-business market, your customer list becomes visible to anyone checking your profile.

3. Creating an industry platform with lots of fanfare and very little planning.

One company introduced an issue-oriented portal to tackle a big, meaty industry issue. The introduction included lots of fanfare and promises of frequent updates, community, and vibrant conversations. On launch day, the company debuted several “executive” blog posts to frame its thought leadership position and then . . . wait for it . . . nothing. What does it make your brand look like when months pass and nothing’s happening on the site? If makes it look as if your brand doesn’t keep promises. When executives become hell-bent to launch this type of site, invest some of the development money into creating a legitimately implementable content plan to keep it updated and build a robust dialogue. Not sure how? Call us!

4. Featuring sharing buttons but nothing worth sharing.

Definitely make social media content spreadable by installing plug-ins to allow readers to share your content within their own social networks. Putting sharing buttons on a web page is only one part of the sharing equation. The content has to be valuable and worth taking time to let others know about it. Going through several TMSA attendees’ social media sites, sharing shows up on many pages no one would ever share no matter how easy it is to do.

5. You create all the Twitter and Facebook content you share.

Social networking is about conversation and sharing relevant content from multiple pertinent sources. The Twitter and Facebook presences for many TMSA attendees do nothing but push their own content, making it seem like just a bunch of mini press releases. You can check how you’re doing on this by looking at your last 20 tweets or Facebook status updates. In how many are you “talking” vs. answering questions, engaging in conversations with other users or sharing content from others? Target less than 20% of the content being your material and 80% from some form of interaction.

6. Ignoring social media when your company is being challenged.

When a brand is under attack, it’s discouraging, but pulling back and not communicating in every social channel where your brand is getting bad talked isn’t the way to go. With the ability for anyone to essentially broadcast very creative content about your brand, you can’t afford silence. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be the most compelling communicator of your story. If you’re getting pounded in blog posts, comment and move the conversation to positive topics. If a YouTube video search shows nothing but mocking videos and doomsayers about your brand, get busy and share lots of brief, rich stories about what your company and its employees are doing to provide value.

7. Having multiple accounts and one avatar.

It can be smart to have multiple identities for your brand set up in relevant channels with content targeted to interest areas your customers have. Every presence shouldn’t have exactly the same corporate logo though. Not providing visual differentiation undermines the value of the diverse, focused content you’re sharing. When designing multiple avatars, make sure they carry a comparable feel so people know they’re all from your brand, but reflect the distinct content and perspective each is presenting.

Well?

If you’re a TMSA attendee, were any of these written about your social media presence? If you didn’t attend TMSA, do any of the problems sound familiar anyway? - Mike Brown


The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you define a strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your market opportunities.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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10

When we do strategic creative sessions, similes are tremendously powerful tools to allow session participants to make strategic connections between familiar and potentially less familiar concepts. These strategic connections quickly open up new thinking and lead to significant innovations. Here are similes addressing aspects of social media. Some of these similes have surfaced already as Brainzooming blog posts. Others will likely find their way into future blog posts to potentially unlock new strategic thinking possibilities. Some may send younger readers to Wikipedia since the intent is to make connections more tenured business executives will remember!

What other similes would you add to the list? What’s social media like for you? Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4

Working in a large corporation, even one with a relatively small marketing investment, there was typically a wide range of marketing strategies and tools at our disposal. It was a strategic advantage that, quite frankly, became easy to overlook. Moving back to a much smaller organization, as with The Brainzooming Group, makes me appreciate the range of marketing assets I used to have available.

Last year The Brainzooming Group made some marketing moves which were conventional given what we do, and it forced us to hone our messaging, refine our short story on what we offer, and caused us to put visuals and copy to several service offerings. Without committing to something new and different, we’d still likely have each of these on our to-do list (it really is true about whatever version of the cobbler’s children story you choose).

We pushed ourselves again through participating in the launch issue of “The Social Media Monthly,” “the first print magazine devoted to the exploration and review of social media.” Edited by Bob Fine, who you may remember from a recent post about his “The Big Book of Social Media,” this was a great opportunity to contribute an article (“Brand Advocacy in a Socially Networked World”) and to run the first ad The Brainzooming Group has placed in a print magazine. While our primary marketing efforts to date have been through social media-based content marketing and personal outreach, actually creating a print advertisement prompted progress on several fronts that have been easy to neglect:

  • Incorporating QR codes in our marketing
  • Introducing a landing page on Brainzooming.com
  • Designing and creating a longer-form free article on social media metrics as part of the offer in the advertisement

Right now, you can get your hands on the launch issue of The Social Media Monthly by ordering directly from the Cool Blue Company or getting access to the online edition. Additionally, if you’re attending some of the upcoming social media conferences around the country, you’ll be getting a copy of the launch issue as an attendee. Later this summer, The Social Media Monthly magazine should be available on newsstands as well.

In the interim, we certainly invite everyone to download the updated article on “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” from the Brainzooming website. Targeted at one of the most common challenges business and marketing executives are challenged by with social media, it’s based on the most-viewed Brainzooming article we’ve written.

And if you need help in rapidly expanding your organization’s strategic options and creating an innovative plan you can efficiently implement, give The Brainzooming Group a call or email us. We’d love to catalyze your innovative business success! Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6

Last week, I ran a post sharing 28 reasons why I’d written recent Brainzooming blog topics. The post prompted me to go back through my current blogging sketchbook to figure out the reasons why potential ideas for blog posts didn’t ever get written. Amid the blog ideas which made the transition from notebook to blog posts, a whole array of shaky ideas and partially written blog posts are dying on the vine inside the half-filled sketchbook containing my almost daily recording of potential blog ideas. Here are the reasons why particular ideas and topics haven’t become blog posts yet:

  • The topic idea was time-sensitive, and its relevance has passed.
  • The underlying premise refers to something too old, so most people won’t get it.
  • It was an interesting quote, but not interesting enough to support a whole post’s worth of content. (Example – “Be unafraid of your questions.” Craig Ferguson to science author,  Jennifer Ouellette)
  • I suspect too many other people have blogged on the topic, and I don’t really have anything new to say.
  • The topic was too personal or needed too much inside information to be of general interest.
  • It wound up triggering a different post which did get written.
  • I simply forgot about the topic.
  • Despite having a few ideas on the topic, the post requires too much background research.
  • My ideas may be wrong and potentially harmful or hurtful to readers as a result.
  • The topic could be too spiritually-oriented for the Brainzooming blog, so it’s better suited to my “Aligning Your Life’s Work” blog.
  • The idea was for an overall theme week, but it didn’t support 5 blog posts.
  • It’s still a solid topic I just haven’t gotten around to writing.
  • The topic has been kicking around for a long time (like 15 years), and it still hasn’t reached the right time to be written.
  • The topic suited a video post, and I still haven’t gotten completely comfortable with doing video posts.
  • It’s a list post, and the list isn’t complete enough yet.
  • The topic idea was written down just this week, and most of my blog writing happens over the weekend.
  • I haven’t finished “thinking” about the topic yet.
  • The topic was tied to an event I was going to appear at, and the event was postponed.
  • It’s part of a list of brainstormed topic ideas, and I never intended to actually write posts on all the topics.
  • The idea isn’t complete.
  • The idea is heavily graphics-oriented and will require too much time to put together.
  • It’s supposed to be a funny topic, but I suspect it will only be funny to me (and probably Barrett).
  • It’s too proprietary to the business to include in a blog post.
  • The post will be too long so it should really be an ebook.
  • It smacks of promoting something too strongly.
  • The piece would be critical of certain individuals or a specific group, and I haven’t figured out a way to generalize the criticism sufficiently.

Those are some of my reasons for leaving blog topic ideas behind. What reasons do you have for not writing about one of your ideas? Mike Brown

 

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6

If you’re blogging, there’s a reason why you write a blog post when you do. The reason you pick a certain topic when you write a blog post may be strategic and linked directly to your audience persona. Many times, though, the reasons aren’t so well-aligned. They may be based on convenience, silliness, frustration, or simply running out of other ideas. Thinking about this got me wondering about why I write a blog post on any given day. Going back through the Brainzooming blog during the last few months, here are 28 reasons that have prompted me to write a blog post:

1.  I have something to say.

2.  Something occurs to me.

3.  I made a commitment to publish every day, and I need to publish a post.

4.  I’m hoping you’ll be interested in the subject matter.

5.  Enough tweets on one topic have built up to fill a blog post.

6.  There aren’t any guest blog posts to run.

7.  I want to share an idea with you.

8.  It’s an attempt to attract new readers.

9.  The topic interests me.

10. I’m trying to improve the blog’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy performance.

11. To create a new reference piece for you.

12. To create a new reference post for me so I can return to the information later.

13. Sharing what I learned at a conference or event.

14. It’s a way to complain about something.

15. I’m inspired by a topic.

16. I’m uninspired creatively.

17. The topic doesn’t require a long post.

18. The post is easily adapted from something I’ve already written.

19. It allows me to pass along advice to someone without having to say it directly.

20. It’s an experiment.

21. To thank or show appreciation to someone publicly.

22. Because somebody asked me to write about it.

23. It’s all I can come up with at the time.

24. I want to make sure a specific person sees the post because they need its lesson.

25. Somebody did some really cool work that needs to be shared.

26. There hasn’t been a social media-related post for several days.

27. It’s an opportunity to provide additional information related to a presentation I’m doing.

28. To see if I can twist an off-the-wall topic to be about strategy, creativity, or innovation.

So along with the idea that any subject can be a blog post, it’s clear that there are scads of reasons for writing a blog post.

If you’re on the fence about blogging or you write infrequently because you’re not feeling the creative motivation, realize you don’t have to have a single motivation to blog.

For those of you blogging already, what reasons spur you to take on the blog topics you write about? Let me know in the comments! 

And for all the reasons TO WRITE, there are also reasons to NOT WRITE a blog post. One of them is that I don’t run a post on Good Friday, so the next post will be Monday.  –  Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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